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Dead Space Ignition Review

Since Dead Space 2 won’t be released until early in 2011 (January 25 to be precise) EA has decided they should get something out to us so we don’t forget about the franchise. Their choice was Dead Space Ignition which can be described as a motion comic with some quick mini-games sprinkled between all the dialogue.

To start things of, you can watch the trailer for Ignition so you can start to get an idea of what I’ll be talking about:

Pretty exciting stuff that puts this as a lock for game of the year, right? Now with that out of the way, let’s try and make sense of this release. There are two ways you can get Dead Space Ignition: you can place your pre-order for Dead Space 2 at participating retailers and you’ll get a code to download the game from PSN to your console or you could skip the pre-order and buy it directly from PSN. Now, those that bought the game the day it was uploaded into the store got it for $9.99… which is not it’s actual price. There was a mistake when the update was put together and instead of $4.99 price was set at $9.99 which means that people now have to email Sony to see when they’ll credit back the extra $5 they paid (IF they get it back). Is the game worth the price of admission?

You definitely get to experience Dead Space from a different angle and in a different way considering what we got in the first game and what we’ll get from the sequel. The story is presented with “moving” (and I use that word just because if I say they only jiggle you might laugh) comic book images, as you can see to the side, and to be honest they’re not that great.  I played all four paths you can take and while some images did look nice others felt rushed or too stylized for my taste. The voice acting is going down the yellow cheesy road and by the end you couldn’t care less about Franco and her Kenny girlfriend.

Now, let’s talk about the portion of the game that has some actual gameplay. There are three types of minigames, and I’ll tell you about each one by itself:

In Hardware Crack you are tasked with reflecting beams of colored light from it’s source to the receiver of the same color and this must be accomplished by reflecting it from the exact side it asks you to and, at first, with a limited amount of  instruments. For me this was the most boring of all three games,  mainly because while there is some potential in it more could have been done to bring some variety to it. Plus it really screws up your chances of getting the trophy for finishing everything in less than 25 minutes unless you memorize them or have a guide with the solutions right next to you.

System Override has been described as tower defense in reverse and to some degree that is true BUT this game is equivalent to the reverse tower defense course you would have take if you flunked reverse tower defense 101.  During your first time with the game you’re limited as to what type of virus you can send over to try and open up a path into the green zone (literally a zone that is at the end and is green) and as you make your way you’re given extra virus as well as a nuke that will destroy everything around the circle you unleash it at. With 4 types of virus going against the computer towers one might think there IS some strategy involved and with your first run there sorta is but once you finish the game once, upgrade your Rig to level 4 and have all the virus and nuke at your disposal the rest of your runs devolve into button mashing against the clock.

Trace Route is a game that Nintendo fans will relate to Art Style: light trax since it blatantly borrows heavily from it. You’re given control over a single line of code and are tasked with the unique and original goal of reaching the end of the race before the subroutines (the other lines racing you) get there or else you risk failing and will be booted out of the system, thus completely failing. THIS is the one game of the three that is actually a bit of fun and that I really enjoyed playing. If only more care was put into the other two we would definitely have a different review at hand. Unfortunately that was not the case and now we must set out to present to you some closure and maybe even a numeral to go along with it.

As a free extra game to go along with your Dead Space 2 pre-order, Ignition is a so-so affair that will at least amount to twelve new trophies for your score as well as a new suit that you can dress up your main character in once the proper game launches in January. As a $4.99 purchase you’ll have to seriously consider if trophies, a story that you could do without, horrible artstyle, 2 out of 3 boring games and the need to replay it three more times to get everything is worth your time and money. Those that got it at $9.99 basically got royally screwed and should not only ask for their extra $5 back but for a full refund for their trouble and blind faith.

Review Disclaimer: I  finished the game 4 times with all the different paths, got 11 trophies and will have to play it again for the 25 minute trophy since my last run was at 25 minutes 45 seconds. Grinding at it’s finest.

This review is based on a retail copy of the PS3 version of Dead Space Ignition provided by EA.