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
Waste of Space
by Steve Haske

These days, it’s 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 this—some 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 Dante’s Inferno. Everyone knows that it’s good to be wary of spin-offs, because more often than not they’re not worth your time or offer little connection to what you like about the original game series.

Dead Space: Ignition screenshot

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: Extraction’s bonus material, weren’t 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 wasn’t great and the writing was mostly expository horror-movie filler, but for what it was—which was free—it 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. Visceral’s various reveals concerning Dead Space 2 has lifted what little shroud of mystery still remain after the explorations of Unitology in Extraction; what’s could possibly be left to uncover in another motion comic?


The answer is nothing. Ignition’s main selling point—that it chronicles what happened on the Sprawl leading up to the events of Dead Space 2—is a joke, though playing it does unlock some items for Isaac to use when the DS2 comes out. Let’s not kid ourselves: when Ignition was announced, absolutely no one cared about Ignition’s 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 Space’s first absolute failure—one that’s comprised of flash-faithful, browser-style games whose connections to the series itself are tenuous at best. But you probably already knew that.

Dead Space: Ignition screenshot

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 Gear’s 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 won’t be frantically tapping buttons at random intervals to avoid getting eviscerated by bloodthirsty necromorphs, which, while not amazing, could have been mildly interesting. Instead, Ignition’s 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 I’m (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 Ignition’s so-called gameplay.

Dead Space: Ignition screenshot

Screenshots / Images

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