Friday, 9 September 2011

Review: Dead Space Downfall

Dead Space: Downfall is a prequel to the excellent EA game Dead Space, and is set between Dead Space: Extraction [released on the Wii] and Dead Space [Xbox 360, PS3 and PC]. This direct to DVD was released in October of 2008 and revolves around the mining ship, the USG Ishimura, which has recently acquired an object referred to as "The Marker." 

One week after the "The Marker" has been placed on the Ishimura, the crew begin to violently attack one another, or themselves. As a consequence, the death count increases dramatically. The mental states of crew members take a sudden decline, and hallicinations are becoming more frequent. The ships religious group, the Unitologists, start to show hostility towards their crew when they are refused a glimpse at their religious symbol, The Marker. As the bloodshed continues, the ship is suddenly overrun with an alien race, the Necromorphs, who reanimate themselves into the corpses of the dead crew. With the Ishimura being overrun with Necromorphs, the surviving crew members lives are in serious danger, and the chances of escaping and surviving such an attack seems pretty low. 

Head of security on the ship, Alissa Vincent, demands that Captain Mathius initiates an investigation into the why events have taken a turn for the worse. With the approval of the Captain, Allissa and her accompanying team start to investigate into the causes of the terror, resulting in the realisation that The Marker is in fact the prime suspect. With the cause of the bloodshed now underlined, the situation is still not controlled. Once again, more of the crew, including Allissa's own team, are wiped out, and the Ishimura seems to be on the path of self-destruction.  With time rapidly running out, Allissa knows what she has to do: send out a distress beacon and hope that someone comes to their aid before all hope is lost. 

The animation reminded me of the kids cartoons such as Spider-man. Whilst it was not terrible, it was also not amazing either. There was not that much detail in the characters, which is a shame, as the enemies and surrounding in Dead Space is at times, incredibly detailed. The voice acting did feel a little cheesy, but thankfully this does not ruin the film's enjoyment factor.

Although the death toll, violence, and gore is high, Dead Space: Downfall isn't all that scary. It serves more as an animated action film rather than as an animated horror. However, for fans of the the game, this film will probably tickle your fancy. Due to it being a prequel of Dead Space, it explains what happened aboard the Ishimura in greater detail. The film also sets up the beginning of the events in the game, with the ending feeling like could seamlessly  it sets up the beginning of the game, and seamlessly leads on from one to another, which is quite effective. Due to this being a prequel of a game, I doubt many people who have not played the game will appreciate this. Dead Space: Downfall throws in little references here and there to the game, such as audio logs which are recorded in the film, and then heard in game-play. 

Non-players may find the film a little confusing at times, and thus may not appreciate the story as much. However, I do think it works as a stand alone action/horror anime, and if you are prepared to watch a prequel to a game which you may only have read about, then go for it, you will probably enjoy the endless action, gore, and aliens if thats your thing. 

Dead Space: Downfall might not be amazing, but it isn't awful either. I actually did really enjoy it, I just felt that the animation let it down a little. Dead Space fans should lap this up though.

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