Other carryovers from the original game that will help keep your butt out of a sling are the TK Module and the Stasis Module, the former of which allows you to use telekinesis to pick up and move objects remotely and even launch them with potentially deadly force.
The TK module is in fact required to solve numerous puzzles in Dead Space 2 although I don't remember it being nearly as finicky when using its counterpart in the original game. Quite often I found it not working as expected unless you were positioned exactly right and/or you positioned the object you were handling exactly right. This led to several Homer Simpson "D'Oh!" moments where I got stuck trying to solve a puzzle because the game refused to cooperate when I used Telekinesis to move a puzzle object and the object simply refused to budge and/or simply refused to go in exactly where it was supposed to go in. This then led me to believe that I was doing something wrong which then had me wasting a lot of time stumbling about trying to figure out what the 'right' solution really was and ultimately killed the action hero pace the game had deliciously set up. I'd be really interested in finding out whether Dead Space 2 developers Visceral Games made the TK module this finicky by design (flag on the play) or if it's just plain glitchy (patch please).
Happily enough, the default range of your telekinetic powers has been increased and hence gone the way of the Dodo in Dead Space 2 is TK module bench upgrade. In its place, what can now be rendered new and improved at the Bench via the Rig upgrade options is increased damage to what the game calls 'TK impalement'. This use of telekinesis involves picking up sharp objects —including severed alien limbs— and launching them at the enemy with extreme prejudice. Players will quickly realize that using TK impalement whenever they can saves a truckload of ammo and adds immensely to the fun of playing the game with a certain je-ne-sais-quoi as they time and again skewer misbehaving necromorphs and send them flying across the room to become grisly pin-ups on the opposite wall.
Conversely, it may also lead to some tense moments where you'll be fumbling through the carnage in a panic trying to find a sharp pointy object and coming up instead with, say, a soft bloody torso, much to the amusement of the advancing alien hordes. (Heh, heh... What are you going to do with that thing? Mess up our tunics a little bit? Har! Har! Har!...)
As for the Stasis Module, the way it's configured in Dead Space 2 may take Dead Space 1 veterans by surprise on several occasions in early parts of the game. For those who don't know, the Stasis Module can be used to slow down moving objects which is necessary for some puzzle solving. But where it really shines is when it's used in combat. Functioning much like the Slo Mo ability in FEAR 2, Stasis can be used to zap enemies with a kind of freeze ray which temporarily slows their movements to a crawl thus giving you time to attack them with impunity. The curve ball that game developers Visceral throw you in Dead Space 2 is that the default duration for Stasis is considerably shorter than that of the original game.
In the things-that-make-you-go-boom department, this may put a big monkey wrench in an old favorite of many, the Stasis/Timed Mine combo, which you can see me using frequently in my Dead Space 1 video walkthrough. This devastating attack has you zapping enemies with Stasis and then laying a Timed Mine (Line Gun alt-fire mode) at their feet. Then just back up and watch the ensuing explosion turn the Stasis stunned alien(s) into a scattered pile of stewing beef. In game 1, this was absolutely indispensable for controlling alien mobs. Now with the shorter Stasis shot duration in Dead Space 2 as well as a longer 'fuse' on the Timed Mine, the timing on this attack is all screwed up as the lucky targetted necromorph always manages to break free of stasis and run away from the time mine explosion (and usually towards you).
To get everything synched up and working properly again you'll have to apply numerous upgrades to lengthen the Stasis shot duration (10 power nodes for a full upgrade). You'll also have to shorten the timer on the Timed Mine by getting the special DUR upgrade for the Line Gun which will cost you yet another 10 power nodes. That's quite a toll that Visceral Games saddled us with just for getting things back to 'normal' and, oh yeah, they knew exactly what they were doing (*shaking fist*).
In its favour, the Dead Space 2 Stasis Module recharges itself (takes about 100 seconds to recharge each shot; time can be shortened by Bench upgrading) so the need to find Stasis Recharge stations or use Stasis refill packs is not nearly as urgent.
And yes, as you've probably surmised, the Bench is back in Dead Space 2 where you can upgrade all your tools, weapons and your armored rig using special power nodes you find littered around the gamescape. Collect or buy the Power Nodes and use them to pimp out your favorite weapon. New to Dead Space 2 is the ability to apply special upgrades situated near the end of some weapon upgrade trees. Enticing yes, but occasionally I found myself underwhelmed at what exactly a special upgrade entailed. For example, the so-called Spec upgrade for the Plasma Cutter says it will "set the target on fire when shot"'. Now after spending a gazillion power nodes to get this upgrade, I was expecting to see necromorphs erupt into a raging inferno whenever I shot them and instead found myself squinting to see if it actually worked or not. Yes, okay, it does officially work but seriously Visceral Games. A little short on the special effects there, no?
Thankfully, another new addition to the Bench is the ability to respec your placed Power Nodes, for a price of course (5000 credits). This comes online in Chapter 7 of the game and is, as you can see, a very useful and welcome addition that will let you try something else if you're not happy with the upgrades you applied to a certain tool or weapon.