Stuntman: Ignition Review
|Release Date:||September 28th, 2007 (UK)|
|Reviewer:||Scott Smith (Poog)|
I'm sure a lot of you out there, like me, find the prospect of being a stuntman rather cool. If only we had the courage to suit up in flame resistant gear and place our lives firmly between the wheels of a soon to be smashed up Aston Martin (cue James Bond day dream). Stuntman: Ignition, Paradigm Entertainments sequel to infogrames 2002 PS2 hit Stuntman, attempts to play on that very notion. You sir, are now a stuntman.
The premise behind the game is very simple; you play the role of an up and coming stuntman working your way through movies and commercials increasing your reputation within the industry. Your reputation is measured by stars; said stars are awarded to you for your performance in a scene or commercial. Obtaining more stars unlocks new movies or commercials. There are 6 movies in total, all of which contain 6 scenes. Add this to the 6 commercial and stunt city odd jobs and there are 42 levels for you to obtain stars on. Each level is ranked between 1 and 5 stars, the stars are awarded for the amount of points you obtain.
Sounds relatively easy I know, and while progressing through the movies isn't particularly challenging, becoming the best stuntman ever to walk this earth is. The points system works like this: on any particular level you have a set of director stunts, these stunts are important and missing them can cause you to fail (you get five strikes in a movie and one in a commercial/stunt city show). Each director stunt grants you 250 points, on top of this you can create your own points by driving close to objects, power sliding, big airs, and destruction, basically anything that logically adds to a scene. Now the trick to big scores is what's called the "string it" system. Each stunt performed, director or otherwise, adds a multiplier to your current string it score. The points tallied will be multiplied by said multiplier when the string ends, to continue a string a stunt needs to be performed before the string times out (around 3 seconds from the last stunt). So basically to achieve the big scores, one must perform stunts of their own in between the director stunts. Achieving five stars is incredibly difficult, requiring basically a continuous string from start to finish.
This is where the game lives or dies, the way you approach the game will completely decide whether you enjoy Stuntman: Ignition or not. You see, to achieve 3 stars and above, you will probably need to replay the scene quite a few times. Learning the layout and spotting the best route between stunts to string together the required extras. So those of you with little patience or a hatred of "practice makes perfect" should probably stay clear. For me personally, I've always loved a challenge and don't mind the repetitive nature of the game. In fact I'm quite a sadist and enjoy it a little too much for my liking. What the game does give is a nice sense of achievement when you finally string it together enough for a four or five star performance. When you finish a movie clips of the scenes you recorded are put together for your very own movie trailer. Actual replays of the way you performed the scene are used, which is kind of cool.
You are lead through each scene by someone, I couldn't quite figure out if he was my agent but frankly I don't think it matters. Anyway, this guy gives you cues for the director stunts and the direction you should head in. The cues can be very helpful, as concentrating on upcoming stunts as well as the environment can be tough. I did find however that some cues are far too late; a stunt will just appear with no time to react. Again this plays into the repetition factor, a lot of scenes will take you a couple of trial and error runs so you can get your head around what to expect. The same guy will also give more detailed advice on the scenes main stunt at the loading screen, which can prove a big help as they can be quite challenging to figure out the best plan of action. Each movie also has a director, aside from the opening sequence explaining the movie they don't play a big role other than to shout at you or congratulate you on your performance at the end of the scene. Some of the directors are quite comical, but a couple did grind a bit.
Aside from the main career mode, the game does have a couple of other features. Constructor lets you take an arena and add all sorts of items to create your own stunts. These items are unlocked in the main part of the game for specific star scores of scenes (the items unlocked relate to the scenes stunts). It's a little daunting at first, but with some creativity you can create some fun looking stunts. It does however lack staying power, and after a while I got bored rather easily.
Another feature is an online mode, which has three game play options. Race and battle aren't really worth mentioning other than you race around rather unimaginative race tracks. The third option is movie challenges; this is where multiple opponents play the same movie scene. Each scenes stunts and events are timed, so if the lead car activates an event and you're behind schedule prepare for a tough time avoiding falling trees, exploding cars etc. This mode can prove to be fun, but also rather infuriating. I can see the funny side of a friend of mine making a tree collapse on top of me, ruining my run. But a stranger doing so seems less humorous.
With this being a driving game, I should really mention how the cars handle. The game goes for a mixture of simulation and arcade. While the cars bounce off of things with little damage (I think a tanker would cause more than a bent bonnet somehow) the handling isn't ultra responsive. It does seem a rather strange mix; an arcade approach is what I expected. What I will say is I was pleasantly surprised once I familiarised myself with the handling. It does add a little difficulty in places but it also helps control the car much more smoothly when precision is needed (which quite frankly happens a lot).
Graphically the game isn't groundbreaking, but it holds up to today's standards reasonably well. There is slight slowdown occasionally when big effects occur but they are short periods that don't happen too often.
Stuntman: Ignition is a decent game. Not a game of the year contender by any ones stretch of imagination but solid none the less. Its repetitive nature will not appeal to everyone, but I personally enjoyed what the game brings to the table.
- Action packed
Not so good stuff
- Short (pending on ones appetite for perfection)
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