Dead Space- Downfall (Film)

By Chris Dahlberg

Published on Wednesday, November 5, 2008

While there has always been plenty of anime series and movies that were based on video games, it is fairly rare for one to have been created solely to promote the title it is based on. And while Electronic Art’s Dead Space prequel, Dead Space: Downfall may be a stand alone DVD, there is no denying that its creation was based around some very careful marketing. But surprisingly, this 74 minute animated feature film is actually pretty good and is a solid tie in to the actual video game. It may not be the best space themed American anime around, but for what it is this film is a fun and gory thrill ride.

As one might expect from the scenario set up by the game, Downfall is a film that sets up a scenario and makes it get worse and worse as it comes to its conclusion. In this prequel, the crew of the USG Ishimura has unearthed an ancient religious artifact on a distant planet and is planning to take it back to Earth. However, in the process of doing so the crew also unleashes an alien race that begins killing everyone in the planet’s colony as well as on the ship. The film focuses on one crew of security officers in particular, but considering its short length there isn’t all that much in the way of character development. Instead, Dead Space: Downfall chooses to go the route of non-stop action and gore, which does feel pretty appropriate. The result is that while this movie is not a must see, it’s a nice tie in to the game and a fun experience for those who choose to watch it. And as for the technical aspects of the movie, it is clear that a lot of effort was put into making the animation stand out and showcase some of the elements that are in the game in a slightly different way. However, the voice acting does feel a little forced at times and there is definitely some overacting from some of the actors. But as a whole, the presentation is a bit more polished than viewers might expect.

If there is one element of this DVD that is rather lackluster, it would have to be the special features. Viewers are presented with one deleted scene, trailers for the movie and the game, a photo gallery, and an on disc soundtrack. However, this feels like a wasted opportunity as a lot more could have been included to tie this film into Dead Space further. A development diary or something similar could’ve attracted people to check out the game who may have only watched this movie because of the gore/science fiction factor. It’s unfortunate, but isn’t necessarily a deal breaker.

Dead Space: Downfall is better than expected, and its decision to focus on endless gore and action fits in well with the game. I’m not quite sure how interesting it is going to be for those who don’t play many games or have no interest in the title, but if you’ve tried or beaten Dead Space already then Downfall is worth at least a rental. I wouldn’t mind more companies creating tie ins like this if they are given the same amount of polish showcased here, as this is a sign that the finished product can be better then average.

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