PLATFORM: Playstation Network, Xbox Live
PRICE: $5 or free with preorder of Dead Space 2
DEVELOPER: Sumo Digital/ Visceral Games
Dead Space 2 sure looks great, right? The sequel to one of the best survival horror titles of recent years adds a new suit, monsters, weapons, some free-roaming zero gravity sections and multiplayer modes. Yeah, it looks like we’re in for a treat, and if you preorder the game right now you get Dead Space: Ignition as a freebie. Unlucky people with bad decision-making skills can pick it up without preordering for five bucks.
But don’t be fooled by the name- all you’re getting here is a group of three lame puzzle mini-games wrapped up around a simple “Choose Your Own Adventure”-style animated comic that feels nothing like a Dead Space game.
Three years after Isaac Clark escaped the Ishimura at the end of Dead Space he ends up in a hospital on a space station called The Sprawl. Orbiting what remains of Titan (one of Saturn’s moons and the site of the first ever planetcrack) The Sprawl is obviously destined for some very bad things. We join two new characters as they’re about to see how things went down when the deadly Necromorphs start appearing.
You “play” a technician named Franco who is ordered to repair a malfunctioning door and ends up having to deal with many more doors and computer systems on the way, his only ally being CPD Officer Sarah, who packs some weaponry like someone in a better game.
No, there’s no shooting sections or treading dark passageways or any of that fun, spooky stuff- that’s only in the cinematics. You’re just hacking computer systems and trying to crack door codes. Sarah has all the fun handling the horde while you take your sweet-ass time with these lame games.
There are three mini-games.
Hardware Crack – You have to move reflectors to guide colored lasers on a circuit board. Both the green and red laser have to get to their respective goals and sometimes you need to combine the two into one yellow laser.
CHUDTIP – This screenshot captures the excitement of this game completely.
System Override – The simplest tower defense game you’ll ever play. It sees you on the opposite side of the action, trying to get your troops past enemy defenses and into the goal. It requires basically no strategy whatsoever- just mash on a button and keep deploying one type and you’ll break through eventually.
Trace Route – The longest and therefore most annoying of the games seeing you guiding a red arrow to a destination in a race against computer defenses. You have a few obstacles you have to avoid, an arrow marker that gives you a burst of speed, and a few powerups you can initiate- speed bursts and obstacles to throw off the people behind you. First to the end wins, so you have to be fast.
CHUDTIP – Mario Kart, eat your heart out.
That’s it. That’s the game. The rest of the time you’re watching a animated film that’s even worse than Dead Space: Downfall and making a choice that steers the story in a different direction that you’ll be equally indifferent to every once in a while.
The comic sequences are crap, mostly because they consist of still pictures that are tugged and shuttled around the screen to mimic movement. It’s pushing it to even call it animation. The voice acting’s decent but you won’t care about the story till the very end, which does give you a little insight into what happened right before the events of Dead Space 2.
The actual game is equally ugly and while it uses some of the sound effects from the retail games they didn’t even seem to realize how much more thrilling they could have made the games if they utilized them more effectively, or even showed what happens to you if you fail a game, rather than just letting you restart it.
You can run through it again in a half hour for more achievements, especially since it only takes about a half hour, but you’ll never go back to this one for the story. Ever.
CHUDTIP- This actually looks better as a still. Imagine her all stiff, moving backwards.
There’s multiplayer as well but your friends will just look at you stupid if you suggest it and make you throw in Halo or something.
A puzzle game based on this franchise certainly had potential, but they do nothing with it. The one possibly worthwhile thing you’ll get from playing this is a new suit for Isaac in Dead Space 2, the Hacker suit.
As a freebie for preordering it’s an harmless little waste of time, but don’t get suckered into paying money for this. It’s no Dead Rising: Case Zero. If you really need to play simple puzzle games there are a billion better choices out there, the large majority of them available for free online.