Video Game Review: ‘Dead Space Ignition’ Bridges Story to ‘Dead Space 2’

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CHICAGO – One of the most anticipated games of the next several months has to be EA’s sequel “Dead Space 2,” a title that promises more incredible action and sci-fi scares. To prime audiences for that title, EA has released a DLC prologue to the game called “Dead Space Ignition” that can be purchased or activated with a pre-order of the January title. An odd mini-game, “Ignition” feels only loosely-related to the “Dead Space” universe and a missed opportunity at something that would truly remind players knee-deep in mega-titles of the season like “Fallout: New Vegas” and “Fable III” that there’s another great game coming soon. Video Game Rating: 3.0/5.0
Video Game Rating: 3.0/5.0

“Dead Space Ignition” serves as a prologue to “Dead Space 2” but don’t expect the shoot-em-up action or detailed environments of your beloved “Dead Space” or even the action of “Dead Space Extraction.” No, “Ignition” is essentially a motion-comic punctuated with three hacking mini-games. Ooooh, hacking. Scary.

The three games are diverse but all have their significant flaws. Worst of all, “Ignition” feels cheaply-made, as if it was thrown together at the last minute when “Dead Space 2” was pushed from Q4 2010 to Q1 2011 to tide fans over. It’s not a horrible release and provides a few moments of visceral fun while serving the purpose of keeping the upcoming game fresh in the player’s mind, but it simply doesn’t feel like it’s a part of the same universe and as these DLC prologues become more and more commonplace, they’ll have to deliver more entertainment bang for the buck than “Dead Space Ignition.”

Dead Space Ignition
Dead Space Ignition
Photo credit: EA

Ironically, there’s another recent DLC prologue with the word “Dead” in the title that perfectly captured what the future will look like for pre-release DLC — “Dead Rising 2: Case Zero.” Capcom used that title to bring fans back to the world of “Dead Rising,” get them familiar with the controls again, and even allowed for the accomplishments built within it to be imported to “Dead Rising 2.” It was a massive success in every way that felt like a pure prologue instead of a demo or a tie-in designed just to be a cash grab.

Sadly, I can’t say the same about the regularly-frustrating “Dead Space Ignition.” First, the comic itself — the voice acting and writing are both incredibly weak and even the art is unsatisfactory with a few frames that feel incomplete and bizarre character movement that distracts the viewer. As for the mini-games, they’re action-and-time-based hacking games. “Trace Route” plays like a racing game and the other two — “Hardware Crack” and “System Override” — play more like puzzles with the latter having a bit of a tower-defense feel. None of them are as addictive as they should have been for this title to be truly memorable.

People who buy “Dead Space Ignition” will not only learn the events leading up to “Dead Space 2” but will be rewarded with an exclusive Hacker suit which can be used by Isaac Clarke in “Dead Space 2.” They will also be rewarded with a “Hacker-themed Contact Beam weapon skin,” “Exclusive Audio logs,” and “Power nodes, health packs, and credits to give Isaac Clarke an edge during “Dead Space 2”.” The best reason to play “Dead Space Ignition” is for how it will enhance “Dead Space 2” instead of how it plays on its own.

‘Dead Space Ignition’ was released by EA. The version reviewed was for the Xbox 360 through Xbox Live Arcade (XBLA) but the title is also available for the PS3 through the Playstation Network (PSN). It was released on October 12th, 2010. content director Brian Tallerico

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