Preview: Dead Space Ignition

By now you know that Dead Space Ignition is, essentially, a downloadable motion comic recounting the events immediately leading up to Dead Space 2. It's made interactive via the inclusion of three hacking minigames, one of which, Trace Route, I tried out at EA's Studio Showcase yesterday.

As we mentioned in our original news post, it's a play-alike of Nintendo's Light Trax for WiiWare with the exception that it features slightly deeper gameplay -- and is really pretty challenging. It's also going to support leaderboards and two players when released, and will unlock content (including a new suit for protagonist Isaac Clarke) in Dead Space 2.
The basic idea is to pilot a "trace line" through an obstacle-filled level, outrunning other traces that the computer is sending after you and reaching the "finish line" before they do. Weaving in-between obstacles and hitting boost pads is tricky enough. To make things tougher, there are obstacles that affect your trace line, including one that reverses your controls.

Dead Space Ignition

Thankfully, I was able to make use of three power-ups that made things easier . The first was a simple boost, and the second a "firewall" that slows pursuing traces and is best deployed in narrow passages. Finally, I could drop my own block of rogue code that would mess with the controls of any trace that passed over it. All of them are single-use.

Ultimately, the bonuses that will carry over into Dead Space 2 – such as an alternate suit for Isaac – will depend on your choices.

I learned from the reps demonstrating Ignition that the ability to move the playing field in 3D isn't just meant to look cool -- later versions of the minigame will actually take place on multiple planes, where changing the perspective will help in spotting shortcuts.

Minigames aside, Ignition will feature four different endings, depending on the storyline branches you decide to take on each playthrough. The hacking minigames will also have some variations based on these decisions and, ultimately, the bonuses that will carry over into Dead Space 2 will depend on your choices. Basically, it'll pay to play through Ignition multiple times. How the minigames shape up for the final product will ultimately determine if it'll pay to ... well, pay for the game for anything more than the unlockables.

This article was originally published on Joystiq.