I loved Dead Space. It took one of my favourite games ever (Resident Evil 4) and improved on it in every way, providing solid lighting, some amazing sound design and a decent story to boot. Dead Space: Downfall builds on the story in the game by providing some more context.
I suppose you could argue that Dead Space: Downfall provides a little too much context -- a good portion of scares come from the sense of an unknown and having watched this movie and played the game it's fair to say I know a lot about the Necromorphs now. Necromorphs being the brutal bloody alien things that are infecting the bodies of the crew members on U.S.G Ishimura.
The story takes place days before Isaac Clarke's arrival on the ship in the Dead Space game. The mysterious "marker" has been discovered on the planet Aegis and is being transported to the Ishimura to be brought back to Earth.
Cue all kinds of shocking gore-moments that respectfully keep the "shock" factor the game had in tact. The problem is that the urgency of the Ishimura changing from a quaint planet cracking space craft to an outer-space haunted house kinda loses the movie it's "horror" title and turns it into more of a action flick.
Which is fair enough because the action it provides is fast-paced, gory and exciting -- it's just worth pointing out that those expecting a tense, slow-burning flick more akin to the game might be disappointed.
The majority of characters are well designed, drawn and animated but sadly there are some hiccups in the script - namely with the way certain characters react to circumstances on screen. In a room surrounded by Necromorphs lead protagonist Alyssa asks Nicole if she has a boyfriend to which she responds she does. Those who played the game will know she's referring to Isaac Clarke and while it ties the plot of the game and the movie together it's just a bit strained. Likewise characters seem less bothered about the death of crew or friends than you'd expect. It just lacks a kind of emotion but doesn't detract too much.
The movie is quite a dark movie given the greys and browns you'd expect from the colouring of the Ishimura. Sadly, the movie lacks the same kind of light/dark contrast the game provides as it opts for a consistently brooding tone. However what it does well is mimic the environments you will have seen in the game and it's clear that attention has been paid to make things consistent between the two.
This is mainly what makes Downfall a worthy purchase. It's clear that EA are trying to build a strong new franchise and are succeeding. With the characters and story in place and a sequel and movie in the works you can only commend EA for opting to support a brand new IP. There's no doubt Dead Space could have been a flop but with a critically acclaimed video game and an animated movie that will no doubt interest converts to the series there is no reason to not pick up Downfall. If you enter this movie expecting a decent action flick that ties into the game nicely you can't really be disappointed.