Welcome to the Dead Space 2 Hard Core “Hard to the Core” Achievement Guide Walk-through
This Guide will help show the basic principles and some advanced techniques for those who are experienced in Dead Space 2 but seem to need a little help or request help with finishing a play-through while on Hard Core Difficulty Settings.
Terms of Hard Core
In order to play Hard Core Difficulty you must complete the Game on any Difficulty Setting prior.
Hard Core cannot be used with a Play-through+ Game or any previous or prior Game Save from any other Difficulty.
It must be started from the very beginning of a “New” Game Hard Core Difficulty and the Settings cannot be changed at any time once started.
There are No Check Points while on Hard Core (but there is a work around for a “Check Point” while the Game is played on the Xbox 360- Discussed further down).
Only 3 Saves Total can be used throughout the entire Game
The Saves can be made at any Save Station normally found in the Game but are at your decision “where”.
DLC (any Pack) can be used but is not required.
Pre-Order DLC can be used but is not required.
Disc 2 “Check Point”
When playing on Hard Core any death will either send you back to the Title Screen and yes the Introduction Scene or back to your Save Files (if any on Hard Core at that time). There is no Check Point System while playing Hard Core, that is with one exception. Once you play through from Disc 1 and the Game ask for Disc 2, if from that point you die it will revert to the beginning of Disc 2 by simply pressing the A Button for Load a Game Save.
Take note though- there is an exception to this “exception”. If you either die and use the B Button to back out from the Load Screen (Load a Hard Core Game Save) or go to the Dashboard or turn off the Xbox 360 at any time without creating a Save File first, it will loose and revert the “free” Disc 2 Check Point back to Disc 1 or your nearest Save File, if any.
Martial Law Pack- For the use of a Force Gun much earlier in the Game than normally obtained and with increased damage and additional firing rate.
Super Nova Pack- For use with the Forged Engineer Suit with 15% Health Bonus from Health and additional Inventory Slots.
Feel free to always use more Weapons/ Suits (RIG) from any DLC Pack as they come free from the Store. Once again though, DLC is not required in any way to complete Hard Core.
Weapons of Choice
First and foremost, Weapons of choice are and can be always a personal preference to which you feel most comfortable using. The recommended Weapons that many Players have found to be excellent tools in completing a Hard Core play-through would be the following;
Plasma Cutter- General all purpose Weapon for both ranged and close attacks.
Force Gun- Excellent Weapon for “clearing out” large groups of enemies in a tight situation or enemies of “lower” Health such as the Pack (screaming kids).
Detonator Mines- Excellent for laying traps and dispensing of the fast or difficult enemies such as the Stalkers and Leapers. Also great for “Pre-Ambush” events if placed ahead of time before triggering the event. In addition, DT Mines are powerful right out of the Store even with no Node Upgrade and can be used as Zero G Grenades on enemies such as the Nest (big “pillows” in space) or Guardians ("fat" things stuck to the walls).
Contact Beam- Very strong against one enemy with the Primary Fire and the Alternate Fire is excellent for knocking large “crowds” away from you.
Now from this point it is recommended to pick two Weapons you are most comfortable with and primarily only use and carry them. Two Weapons only will make Ammo Count and management a lot easier given a limited Inventory System. If you ever need a Weapon that is suited for a specific enemy and you own it, you can always leave it at the Safe until needed.
Health and Inventory
Always bring more then enough Ammo that you think you will need to get from one specific area to the next Store. Always bring enough Health that you are in the “Blue-Green” Health at all times (or better). One hit from many enemies will kill if you get to a Yellow Health Level. Don't be afraid of “using” and buying Items/ Ammo/ Health. It's only one Play-through. For the most part, your Credits should be going towards Ammo and Health (preferably Ammo by not getting hit).
A “good” idea of Ammo and Health for later in the Game would be 75+ of whatever Rounds you use most often, 50+ Rounds of a Secondary Weapon and 5+ Health of any given size. If you are forced into any situation that requires you to drop something, always first Ammo or Schematics you don't plan on getting the Weapon for anyways. If you need to make even just one free Inventory space and you're not at full Health, try using a Small Health Pack to make available space.
Nodes and Upgrade
Nodes should be purchased very sparingly as the Game gives out enough (if all free ones are collected) that you will be able to get your RIG, Stasis and One Primary Weapon (along with a good portion of your secondary Weapon) fully Upgraded by the later Chapters in the game. If you find yourself with a “good” supply of both Ammo and Health (75-100+ Ammo and 5 or more Health for a given Size), only then purchase Nodes.
In the beginning, work on both your RIG (Health only, don't waste Nodes on Air as there is plenty of O2 Supplies throughout any “No Environment Zone”) and your Stasis (both Energy and Duration). Start with Weapon Damage and Capacity as soon as you can after Health/ Stasis are up to an “acceptable level” or what you feel comfortable with.
If you're using a DLC Suit simply keep it until you get the Advanced Suit. If you're playing without DLC keep just the basic Engineer Suite until you can purchase the Advanced Suit. It's Item Management can be difficult but just make more return trips to Stores (where applicable). It's not impossible but definitely more time consuming.
Stasis and Kenesis
Both Stasis and Kenesis will be your greatest assets while playing on Hard Core. Don't be afraid or forgetful of not using either or both. Unlike Dead Space, Dead Space 2 has a Recharge Rate for Stasis, even with liberal use you should always have a full charge after waiting somewhere safe for a few moments. Use TK (Kenesis) Impalement whenever possible to save as much Ammo as possible. It's better to use Kensis and have Ammo than to have no Ammo and be forced into only using Kenesis.
Peng along with the additional Items are very "worth it" on a Hard Core Play-through.
Play-through is best to be attempted after going through at least once and knowing where you can, will or might get into trouble. Go through (if necessary) one more time on Casual just to make sure you don't forget anything (Nodes, Enemies, Locations, Semiconductors and such).
The goal of the Play-through will be to get to Disc 2 without using any Save Files prior on Disc 1. By no means is this mandatory but a recommended path of where you might want to put your Save Files.
Save 1- Chapter/s 7, 8 or 9. Any of these are approximately 1 to 2 hours into Disc 2 (depending on Players Skill and speed of which you play). There are many hazardous areas in each of these Chapters and it would be a good place for a 1st Save. Whether you Save before or after the “Solar Array” or any other point up ahead is up to you and where you feel comfortable with.
Save 2- If you believe you can make it past the “drill ride” Chapter 12 or before is up to you but is generally a “good” spot for your 2nd Save.
Save 3- “Stick a needle in your eye”, Chapter 14, one of the most common places for ala “insta-death”. If you believe you can finish it with no problem Save afterward. Either way, it's “short” trip to the end of the Dead Space 2 and finishing Hard Core.
After your last Save and dealing with the aka Uber-Morph, it's simply a matter of being fast and saving as much Ammo as possible. All of those Stasis Packs you've been collecting (but hopefully not selling all off) will come in handy for the “last run”.
Nicole is subjective at best. While some find her very easy to defeat even on Hard Core others find her extremely annoying. If you have problems with Nicole it is recommended either Stasis and shoot (just) her as quickly as possible with a Plasma Cutter (Fully Upgraded) or the Contact Beam (if owned in the Inventory). Don't even worry about or concentrate on the Pack. You should have brought at least 5+ (Mediums and or Large) Health prior to fighting Nicole and just use Health as needed.
With that said, there is really no one cut way of completing Hard Core. It's a matter of Player Skill, luck and willingness to try something more than once. Never forget the “basics”, smash dead enemies, use Stasis or Kensis on objects that are required or to bring Items to you. Search and take your time, it's really only Disc 1 you need to be extremely careful in, after that it's all down hill.
Oh and enjoy the Hand Cannon and the Achievement afterwards.