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Dead Space: Ignition

The Prequel Everyone Wanted But Shouldn’t Play

If you strip Dead Space: Ignition of its atrocious gameplay, story, graphics, and sound, you end up with a cool idea. Gamers who have the willpower and patience to play through this Ishimura-sized disaster are rewarded with a Hacker Suit for use in next year’s Dead Space 2. This is the only reason to play it. Here’s hoping this reward is worth the frustration tied to getting it.

From the first conversation between Franco Delille, a technician stationed on civilian space station The Sprawl, and his assistant/love interest Sarah Anderson, Ignition separates itself from Dead Space’s excellent fiction. The dialogue contains one of the worst “that’s what she said” jokes I’ve ever heard – and this is coming from someone who has watched The Office abuse this line to the point of sitcom embarrassment. The plot never rights itself, with the only point of interest coming at the end of the game during a sequence that hints at how Dead Space 2 will begin.

The story is told through comic book-like images that occasionally showcase movement. Notice that I said movement and not animation. A necromorph may lunge across the screen in one of the shots, but none of its limbs are animated. It ends up looking like a cardboard cutout being tugged by a string. The sense of movement is also conveyed poorly by making human characters’ limbs shake, expand, or contract. The end result for most of these attempts makes the characters look like they are made out of marshmallow. I was freaked out more by the humans than the necromorphs.

The story unfolds like a “choose your own adventure,” allowing players to chart their course through the plot. No matter what path you select, you’ll run headlong into one of three horrible minigame types.

The most maddening (and overly difficult) is a puzzle concept called Hardware Crack, which involves mirrors, lasers, and, for whatever reason, a timer. The goal is to connect colored lasers to the same colored circuit. Mirrors are used to bounce the laser across the board. The first few stages of this puzzle concept are fairly entertaining, and easy enough for anyone to blast through. Roughly halfway through the game, the difficulty spikes. Even Steven Hawking would have problems solving these puzzles, and he knows how to crack the space-time continuum!

The second minigame, System Override, is a plainly rendered version of tower defense. Rather than stopping hordes of enemies from penetrating a point, you are the attacker. Players can complete every map by simply spamming squads. Just tap the face buttons to place troops on the grid, and victory is inevitable.

The final game type, Trace Route, is reminiscent to the light cycle sequences from Tron, where trails of light battle for position. Forcing opponents into a wall can be fun, and weaving dangerously through tight quarters can get the blood pumping, but if you save a boost or two until the final stretch you’ll win every time.

If you’re a huge Dead Space fan, you may want to put two hours aside to play through this game to get the Hacker Suit. If your interest lies solely with how Ignition serves as a prelude to Dead Space 2, you’re missing nothing interesting. I doubt the “that’s what she said” joke or Franco Delille’s story will be referenced extensively when Isaac returns.

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User Reviews:

  • 0.25
    I would give this a 0.0 if I could. It is not even a game, Watch a comic book cut scene then do a "mini game" which involves you moving a small blue thing around an obstacle, Rinse and repeat...Bet you want your $5.00 back don't you??
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  • 6.00
    Storyline: Everyone dies Graphics: Uhm, pictures? Minus them, it works Sound: A no Controls: A dead person could play this Entertainment: I enjoyed the minigames...something is wrong with me Play Time: Like, an hour Other: It's 400 microsoft points, not too much of a sacrifice
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  • 6.50
    First of all if anybody expects something other than a puzzle game is greatly mistaken. All previews/trailers suggested it's a puzzle game. And none of the puzzles were hard at all. There are three types, some involve precision skills, and some needs a little strategy (but nothing really over the...
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  • 0.50
    I though, oh forget spending $20 on the real dead space, lets just buy this XBLA title that can get me into the series. This game is completely broken, and I literally would have had more fun buying McDonalds with the money i spent on this game.
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  • 0.25
    This game is not even an game. I don't know what to even call it, oh I know, CRAP!
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  • 1.25
    Hands down the most abysmal game on Xbox Live or PSN. It actually can not even be called a game, it is just a horribly acted and drawn comic book with some lame and boring mini games thrown in. You know, I am not against the idea of $5 downloads as a way to build up hype for an upcoming game. Dead Rising...
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