|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|
Ignitions 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, its 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.
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 youll grow tired of them after a few minutes (even the sometimes-tricky hardware crack puzzles). Worse, theres 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, isnt even interesting).
Finally, adding a little more insult to injury, Ignitions 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 thats 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 youre going to just basically repeat the same scenario weve seen in every Dead Space property to date, theres not really much reason to hire a New York Times bestselling comic book writer to pen the script. Thats 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 dont know about you, but I dont 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 responseit 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, youve got something pretty stupid on your hands.
Bottom line, unless you really, really want new gear for Isaac in Dead Space 2, dont bother with this tired cash-in.
CCC Freelance Writer