I have really mixed feelings on “cross-media” franchises. When they work well, they can expand a rich universe in a great way, with the Mass Effect books and comics immediately coming to mind. If a publisher makes the wrong choices however, it can just kind of sour you on a beloved game. After releasing a tie-in movie for the first Dead Space (not a great one, either), EA unleashed a marketing juggernaut for Dead Space 2, with books, a movie, comics, and Dead Space Ignition. Ignition acts as sort of a bridge between Dead Space 1 and 2, with the story following two engineers on The Sprawl, the giant space station that serves as a setting for the second game. Basically, shit goes bad, and you have to get the hell out. This story is told entirely in a motion comic style, with some pretty ugly art and animation. Though I’m not professing to be a comic expert, I feel like even the worst comic artists could do a little better than this.
The only gameplay in Ignition comes in the form of 3 different minigames that cycle throughout the story: a tower defense game, a racing-like game that slightly resembles Tron lightcycles, and a grid based puzzle game that is basically a version of the hacking minigame from Bioshock. These definitely grow old quickly, especially the tower defense game, which can basically be won by mashing your controller for a couple minutes. All told, including cutscenes, Ignition can probably be finished in around 45 minutes. Though there are a couple branching paths in the story which you’re encouraged to replay, you’ll probably be sick of the rote gameplay after the first time through.
Even for $5, Dead Space Ignition is still a tough sell. It unlocks a couple rooms in Dead Space 2 which give you some power-ups and ammo, but nothing vital. If you’re a hardcore Dead Space fan who absolutely needs to know every piece of fiction in the universe, pick it up. But for most people, Ignition has far too little content to justify a purchase.
Final Rating: 1/5