Hardcore Difficulty Walkthrough - Dead Space 2

What to Expect

Dead Space 2's Hardcore difficulty is a combination of Zealot and Survivalist difficulties, with the added challenge of NO CHECKPOINTS and ONLY 3 SAVES (Xbox 360 players get 1 checkpoint at the disc switch, read the Important Tips section below).

In the Hardcore difficulty, the enemies are as strong as they are in Survivalist difficulty, but ammo drops are as if you were playing on Zealot difficulty.

Because you only get 3 saves, you're going to have to set aside large blocks of time to play the game. Read the Time section at the bottom of the page to see how long it took me to get to each save point.


Prior to trying hardcore difficulty, I completed the game twice; once on Survivalist, and once as a New Game+ on Zealot difficulty. This was enough practice for me to get through Hardcore without dying once.

Never be in yellow or red health if you have health packs. On other difficulties, it's easy to get in the habit of letting your health stay low till you finish a battle. This is NOT a good habit to keep on Hardcore.

Also, buying the DLC packs or Dead Space Ignition can get you bonus items that can be very helpful early in the game. I did NOT buy any of these addons and completed Hardcore fairly easily.

Save Points

  • Mid Chapter 7, after picking up the Peng Treasure, and before the Zero-G solar array alignment puzzle
  • Late Chapter 11, before the large square elevator section (requires a bit of backtracking to get to the save point)
  • Chapter 13, right before the eye poker machine. If you get to the eye poker machine and missed the save, you can backtrack to the save point

Nodes and Weapon Upgrade Planning

My plan was to use the Plasma Cutter until I could respec the nodes to the Seeker Rifle (Chapter 7), then max the Contact Beam's Alt. fire by Chapter 11.

  • 1st 3 nodes - 1 HP, 1 Plasma Cutter Damage, 1 Stasis Duration
  • 2nd HP
  • 2nd & 3rd Plasma Cutter Damage
  • 1st RIG TK Damage
  • 3rd Plasma Cutter Damage
  • Respec all Plasma Cutter nodes at the start of chapter 7, put those nodes into Seeker Rifle damage. You should have enough to max Seeker Rifle damage.
  • 3rd HP
  • 2nd RIG TK Damage
  • 4th HP
  • 3rd and 4th Stasis Duration
  • 2nd Stasis Energy
  • Max out Seeker Rifle Alt. Fire
  • Max out Contact Beam Alt. Fire (you should be able to get this before the elevator in Chapter 11)
  • Whatever else you want. Don't waste money on nodes after maxing out damage on your two primary weapons.

Important Tips

  • For Xbox 360 players, you get a FREE CHECKPOINT at the beginning of Chapter 7. If you die after switching discs at the start of Chapter 7, you will go back to where you switched discs! Note that you still need to save before you turn off the console.
  • Always carry lots of health packs. You will probably have to sacrifice buying nodes in favor of health packs early on in the game.
  • Every node door is worth opening.
  • Buy every new RIG as soon as possible.
  • Most enemies will not follow you through doors. Try baiting enemies near a door and take them out one by one.


  • 3hrs 32min to the first save point (late Chapter 7)
  • 2hrs 30min (6hrs 8min total) to the Chapter 11 save point
  • 1hr (7hrs 1min total) to the Chapter 13 save point
Lazy's picture

So you finished it. Good job and congratulations.

Josh Kowbel's picture

If anyone would like to see John's Hardcore Difficulty Walkthrough, he livestreamed the complete guide on Justin.tv. Here are the links to the archives:

  • http://www.justin.tv/nextgenwalkthroughs/b/278944962
  • http://www.justin.tv/nextgenwalkthroughs/b/279179451
  • http://www.justin.tv/nextgenwalkthroughs/b/279239897


I don't know what he plans to do with the archives or the footage he was recording while playing, but I figured I would just post these for anyone who can't wait to see the videos.

John Tarr's picture

I'll be embedding those videos here soon.

Rxanadu's picture

Wait!  How did you get the Hardcore guide up faster than ExplicitD's Zealot guide?  Looks like one of your employees is slacking off.

Sangyerians's picture

No voice overs, I'm assuming. 

John Tarr's picture

@Rxanadu - No voiceovers (other than the livestream voiceovers, which I will also be posting soon) and fairly lax editing made it easy to finish this guide quick. Dan and I finished voiceovers for his guide last night, so those should be on the site soon

Rxanadu's picture

@Beer_Baron - Yeah.  I've been seeing the Hardcore vids on my YT account, and I noticed the Zealot guide is done when I looked on this site recently.  Totally forgot to put the stream and VO's into account when finishing a guide.

Glad to hear everything is "done" for Dead Space 2, now.  Also, congrats on completing Hardcore.  Have you messed around with the Hand Cannon yet?

rockhopper78's picture

I beat hard core mode and just beat zealot yesterday with the foam finger gun in just under 5 hours. Didn't die once. The foam gun is awesome!

WheelyNL's picture

Very impressive video's. Could you also post video's of the chapters 9 and 10 or should I be able to do it without help ? 



John Tarr's picture

Just added Chapter 9 and 10. I'm uploading the livestream (w/commentary) versions right now and will get those posted as soon as I can.

Stuart MacPhee's picture

Very impressive guide.

I'm going to be attempting hard core on PS3 -- where should I save seen as there isn't the free checkpoint?

John Tarr's picture

I'd still recommend using the same save points I outlined above. The first save is right before the crazy flying through space section where it's extremely easy to screw up and die instantly.

I just added the Livestream videos for those interested.

Toasty Mac's picture

Hey livestream was sweet thanks for the help! Modified the save points a bit but still managed to beat it with little trouble. Keep up the good work!

Gamer2112's picture

All I needed was your weapon planning. Dude it worked like a charm. Just stasis, Seeker Rifle, and I had the Hacker Contact Beam so I had a 5% Damage bonus to Alt. The Hacker Contact Beam was a beast. lol

I just never realized. I would get to Ch. 14 and be in the fight of my life, but just going with your plan. I breezed right through. It was hilarious using the HCB. Anything not advanced got everything blown off in one shot. They come in to attack and "BOOM". lol

Man with those two weapons and stasis. Hard Core is a piece of cake. I bought some health packs before I ran the gauntlet. I think I may have used 1 med health pack all the way through the end. Also, seeker rifle just makes a joke of the final boss.

Thanks for the help dude. I guess I just need to be more aware of whats available to me. ;)


Ive tryed hardcore to many fucking times & through away too many fucking hours away if i make one mistake several hour wasted some one please help me ive look the guide over and over some one please can you me a step by step walkthrough some one please help me

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