First Impressions: Dead Space Ignition

Following in the footsteps of the recent Dead Rising 2: Case 0, Visceral Games have released a downloadable prequel to the upcoming Dead Space 2 called Dead Space Ignition.  Unlike Case 0, however, Dead Space Ignition forgoes traditional gameplay for a strange hybrid of motion comic and minigames to tell its story.  How does this nontraditional format fare?  Find out after the break.

To be blunt, it doesn’t fare well at all.  Instead of the terrifying, desolate gameplay that we’ve come to expect from the franchise, we get three uninspired minigames: Hardware Crack, Trace Route, and System Override.  Combined, these wind up being nothing more than a puzzle game, a racing game, and a tower defense game, respectively, and none of them are very compelling.  Trace Route is easily the worst of the three, with a constantly changing perspective that takes away virtually all sense of playability and fairness, and even system override feels like nothing more than a button mashing chore.  Only Hardware Crack feels right from a playability standpoint, and even then it’s a boring exercise.

Even less forgivable is the context in which you’re given these games.  I had high hopes for the motion comic, especially after the motion comic illustrated by Ben Templesmith that was released in tandem with the first Dead Space

Unfortunately, the comic this time is genuinely hideous, with a candy-colored palette and completely unnecessary “animation” that’s achieved by distorting and morphing  the characters in a way that looks almost nothing like the movement that they were trying to achieve.  Throw some truly uninspired voice acting on top of that, and you have an absolute mess.

The only really compelling reason to download Dead Space Ignition is that you get an exclusive suit for Isaac to wear in Dead Space 2.  However, saying that bonus is worth five bucks, together with about a half hour of lousy gameplay and less than an hour of ugly motion comics, is doubtful.

Dead Space Ignition is available now on Xbox Live and Playstation Network.