Dead Space Ignition review
Dead Space Ignition is a puzzle-based, animated comic. Each scene is animated with two-dimensional images of characters stretching and wiggling in an attempt to convey movement. The result is an awkward and sometimes strangely disturbing mockery of humanity. Worse, is that many of the images are no more than half-drawn sketches with characters’ faces frozen in mangled expressions, when given a face at all.
Ignition follows a computer technician and his security escort around the sprawl as a necromorph outbreak unfolds. Although it serves as an introduction to the massive spaceborne city of The Sprawl, the locations and the reasons for the outbreak lack competent narrative explanation, like taking a guided tour without the guide. What results is a monotonous chain of events that always result in the technician saving the day through mini-games.
The first mini-game is Trace, in which you guide a small dot through a narrow path while avoiding AI opponents and obstructions with techie names like firewalls and data blocks. More than anything, it reminds me of the 1983 classic, Spy Hunter. Problems arise as the courses become overly congested with obstructions and require more memorization than skill to navigate, or pure dumb luck. The perspective occasionally shifts and spins with the sole purpose of increasing the difficulty. It works, and feels wholly unnecessary.
System Override is a sad excuse for a tower defense game with you on the offensive. You have four programs that you can send out while anti-viruses attempt to thwart your progress to the system’s core. The tutorial is horrendously inadequate and barely succeeds at describing the objective. The lessons aren’t necessary anyway. Every stage can be beaten with the same mindless scheme; send out a cycler to confuse the AI, flood the board with viruses, repeat, you win.
Hardware Crack is the one redeeming game in Ignition, and tasks you with using mirrors to redirect red and green lasers around obstructions and into corresponding receivers. It’s a simple concept that becomes enjoyably complex with the introduction of projectors, which can both split beams into multiple streams or merge the two colors into a yellow beam. Oddly enough, there is no reset function, forcing you to quit back to the main menu if you make an irreversible mistake. It takes no more than ten seconds, but is an unnecessary hassle nevertheless.
Dead Space Ignition offers far more frustration and tedium than enjoyment, and fails to expand upon the universe in any meaningful way. You are given an unlockable costume for Dead Space 2 (single-player, multiplayer?) upon completion, which seems more like an apology than a reward, but at least you get something out of this ordeal.
[Reviewed on Xbox 360 & PS3]