|System: X360, PS3||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Sumo Digital/Visceral Games||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Electronic Arts||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Oct. 12, 2010||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-2||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Mature||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Steve Haske
These days, its not uncommon for big games to spawn a host of cross-promotional media products when they debut, from movies and spin-offs to novelizations and comics. Visceral Games is no stranger to thissome of you may remember the Dead Space comics and straight-to-dvd animated feature Downfall, not to mention the infinitely forgettable anime that was released alongside Dantes Inferno. Everyone knows that its good to be wary of spin-offs, because more often than not theyre not worth your time or offer little connection to what you like about the original game series.
So when I heard that Ignition was a motion-comic padded with three types of mini-games to somehow constitute gameplay, I naturally had to raise an eyebrow. The original Dead Space comics, which later appeared on both PSN and XBLA as well as in the Dead Space: Extractions bonus material, werent terribly thrilling, though it was somewhat interesting to see some of the events that landed the necromorphs on the Ishimura to begin with. The art wasnt great and the writing was mostly expository horror-movie filler, but for what it waswhich was freeit was an interesting little trip into the then-burgeoning Dead Space mythos, which still had some element of mystique to it. Ignition can make no such claim. Viscerals various reveals concerning Dead Space 2 has lifted what little shroud of mystery still remain after the explorations of Unitology in Extraction; whats could possibly be left to uncover in another motion comic?
The answer is nothing. Ignitions main selling pointthat it chronicles what happened on the Sprawl leading up to the events of Dead Space 2is a joke, though playing it does unlock some items for Isaac to use when the DS2 comes out. Lets not kid ourselves: when Ignition was announced, absolutely no one cared about Ignitions aforementioned mini-games. If you cared at all, if was for the story connection to Dead Space 2 (unlikely) or the unlockable items (more likely). And with good reason. As a game, Ignition is Dead Spaces first absolute failureone thats comprised of flash-faithful, browser-style games whose connections to the series itself are tenuous at best. But you probably already knew that.
The joke of the concept aside, a lot of the Dead Space devoted will probably play this one anyway, if only out of morbid curiosity (though I would recommend just downloading the demo if you must). And those of you who were hoping Ignition would have a shade or two of the interactivity seen in Metal Gears digital graphic novel, think again. Ignition is less interactive comic and more movie that just happens to have some derivative, interactive distractions thrown in to justify its status as an actual game. That means you wont be frantically tapping buttons at random intervals to avoid getting eviscerated by bloodthirsty necromorphs, which, while not amazing, could have been mildly interesting. Instead, Ignitions narrative is as static as it is boring and Hollywood-horror generic, even with the slight deviations from the main path you can take. It may sound like Im (maybe) being unnecessarily harsh on Ignition, which as we all know is a game that few expected anything from anyway. Honestly, though, I think it would have been better off if EA had knocked three bucks off the download price and just made it a motion comic that unlocked Dead Space 2 content as you watched it. Instead, they decided to subject us to the mini-games that comprise Ignitions so-called gameplay.