Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Gaming on $2 or Less - Dead Space Downfall

"This is deep space... weird shit happens."

Truer words were never spoken.

My second post for the new Gaming on $2 or Less feature is not actually a game, but a video based on one. A Blu-ray video to be precise - Dead Space Downfall - which I recently purchased from Fry's for the paltry sum of only $2 (we'll conveniently ignore the sales tax - dang already breaking my own rules).

I'll admit, I am a sucker for horror science fiction movies. They don't even have to be particularly good for me to enjoy them. Whether they are universally accepted classics like Alien and Invasion of the Body Snatchers, lower tier thrillers like Event Horizon and Pandorum, or B-grade cult favorites like Galaxy of Terror and Life Force - I have been in love with horror sci-fi flicks for a long long time.

Dead Space Downfall is a prequel to the first Dead Space game. It details the ordeal of the USG Ishimura leading up to, literally, the moment the story begins in Dead Space the game. The events take place at the same time as those occurring planetside as shown in the prequel game Dead Space Extraction. The chief protagonist of the movie is Ishimura's hard-ass Head of Security Alissa Vincent who does her best to figure out what is going on and try to save the ship's crew - spoiler alert - she does not succeed.

From the back of the case: "For the crew of the USG Ishimura, this is how the horror begins: On a deep space mining mission to a remote planet, an ancient religious relic - thought to be proof of the existence of God - is unearthed and brought aboard. It is worshipped by some, scorned by others. But when the unholy artifact unleashes a long-dormant alien race, its glimpse of Heaven transforms the ship into a living Hell. The chaos is immediate. The carnage is uncontrollable. And an onslaught unlike anything ever witnessed by mankind has now been set free to rip this world apart. Prepare yourself for the disturbing opening chapters of the new EA game that takes adult animation to graphic new levels of bloodshed and terror. This is DEAD SPACE: DOWNFALL."

That pretty much says it all. And yes, disturbing, graphic, bloodshed and terror are good words to describe this video. There is a lot of gore in this thing. A LOT.

Here is the trailer:

Special features include the movie trailer (pretty cool), the game trailer (excellent addition but shaky quality), a deleted scene (draft drawn and a little hard to watch), photo gallery (kinda cool behind the scenes art), "isolated" soundtrack (meh), and supposedly cheat codes although I didn't notice those. You also get a separate DVD with the portable digital copy that you can copy over to your portable devices. I've never really used those from DVD/Blu-ray purchases before but a nice addition anyway.

The trailer for the movie looked good, but inexplicably the game trailer was not in HD and looked grainy. What?! To a trailer-lover like myself it is a sin for a Blu-ray to include a trailer at lower than HD resolution unless the HD source material does not exist, and I know full well the HD version of that trailer is available because I've downloaded it. So that annoyed me a bit.

Is the movie good enough to stand on its own merits for people that didn't play the game? Well, no probably not - it seems more geared toward fans of the game. Does the loosely woven plot start to fall apart if you pull too many threads? Yeah kind of, but the same is true of the game and I still loved it. Did they make a mistake by showing the security chief's final video transmission at the very beginning that spilled the beans about what was going to happen? Yeah, I didn't really care for that choice but everybody already knows the Ishimura crew is screwed from the get-go so no biggie. Did... OK OK stop asking me so many questions. It's not Star Wars, but like I said, I'm a sucker for this stuff, so even though the video is a little shaky I still thought it was pretty cool.

So if, like me, you loved the video game then you would probably enjoy watching this video to see the backstory events unfold. If you have no interest in the game whatsoever then it might not be your cup of tea. And if you are offended and put off by the thought of a violent and gore-filled science fiction animated film, well you are the polar opposite of their target demographic for this thing and you should definitely leave it on the shelf, but then again if you are that guy then you probably already made that assessment for yourself from the title and the dismembered arm on the cover. For me personally, it was definitely worth adding to the gaming/Blu-ray collection for only $2. Oh and it is also available for instant streaming on Netflix.

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