Dead Space: Ignition Review
Xbox 360 | PS3
Dead Space: Ignition box art
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

Ignition’s mini-games, which involve hacking into computer systems and terminals in and around the Sprawl, fall into three basic gameplay designs: racing, puzzle, and tower offense (yes, it’s a reverse from normal tower defense). Trace Route has you “race” your hacking protocol through a maze of code, outrunning security protocols to the end of the system. System override has you sending waves of viruses through a hexagonal grid of code, using your units to destroy security nests embedded in the software of whatever you happen to be hacking.

Dead Space: Ignition screenshot

Hardware crack, the most complex of the three, involves bouncing a series of colored lasers into power hubs using mirrors, the catch being that you have to have placed your mirrors in certain places to get unobstructed paths for the lasers to follow to their destinations, and your supplies are limited. All three games have simple controls, and you can use power-ups to, say, speed up, blow up security software installations, or split a laser beam four ways to create new paths to use. But these games are so simple you’ll grow tired of them after a few minutes (even the sometimes-tricky hardware crack puzzles). Worse, there’s nothing that screams “Dead Space” about them. The top-down “gameboard” graphics, ripped straight from countless generic sci-fi freeware games of the mid-nineties, is about as exciting as watching someone solder computer components together, and even when the difficulty ramps up and new moves are introduced, the lack of connection to the Dead Space universe coupled with the inanity of the gameplay will probably just make you roll your eyes and wish you could get through the section to see what will happen next in the story (which, by the way, isn’t even interesting).

Finally, adding a little more insult to injury, Ignition’s exploration of what happens on the Sprawl before Dead Space 2 is worthless. As much I enjoy Dead Space, EA, “backstory” does not entail introducing two throwaway characters, sending them on a series of routine jobs, and then capturing their inappropriately underwhelmed reactions to a sudden inexplicable bloodbath that’s occurring all over the space station. Spoiler alert: the necromorphs appear out of nowhere and lots of people panic and die!


Of course, fans of the series already know where the necromorphs come from, but if you’re going to just basically repeat the same scenario we’ve seen in every Dead Space property to date, there’s not really much reason to hire a New York Times bestselling comic book writer to pen the script. That’s called a waste of talent. The story is wildly inconsistent as well, with unexplained motivations all over the board and some laughably nonsensical reactions from the protagonists. I don’t know about you, but I don’t think suddenly being in a corpse-strewn room with ripped-off appendages and torn-in-two torso coating the floor where there were a group of people just moments ago would elicit a nonchalant response—it would result in a panic and then a serious case of PTSD. Toss in a lot of moments where your hacking mini-games are supposed to be occurring during the middle of an intense necromorph battle, and, well, you’ve got something pretty stupid on your hands.

Bottom line, unless you really, really want new gear for Isaac in Dead Space 2, don’t bother with this tired cash-in.

By Steve Haske
CCC Freelance Writer

Ignition’s art is inconsistent (and often sketchy and incoherent) and the mini-games could be faithfully re-created in flash. Yawn.
“Controls” are pretty basic for the mini-games. I don’t see how you could possibly either screw them up or make them anything revolutionary.
Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
Music seems to be taken from the original Dead Space and the voice acting is serviceable (though entirely forgettable).
Play Value
When your game makes you want to skip the egregiously tedious gameplay so you can see what happens in the utterly forgettable story, you know you’re doing something wrong.
Overall Rating - Avoid
Not an average. See Rating legend above for a final score breakdown.

Game Features:

  • Recounts the events on the Sprawl leading up to Dead Space 2
  • Branching paths
  • Multiplayer mode for the mini-games

  • Screenshots / Images

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