|System: X360, PS3, PS2||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Paradigm Ent.||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: THQ||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Sep. 17, 2007||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-2||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Pending||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Amanda L. Kondolojy
The first Stuntman, released four years ago on the PlayStation 2, delighted gamers with its innovative sense of control and gameplay mechanics. These qualities made it a challenging (and somewhat frustrating) gameplay experience for both experienced and casual gamers. From an early look, the newest installation in the Stuntman series, Stuntman: Ignition looks to keep its original charm, but will still add some new thrills that will attract both Stuntman veterans, and newbies alike.
The primary mode of gameplay will be the career mode. You will again be suiting up as a new vehicle stuntman trying to get a break in Hollywood. But in order to do that, you'll have to risk life and limb to perform death-defying stunts that will (hopefully) get the attention of the biggest producers and directors in Hollywood. You'll have to impress them with your unique moves and flawless execution. The better you do, the more stunt opportunities you'll be able to unlock.
You start out doing menial simple stunts on commercials, but eventually you'll work your way up to working on feature-length Hollywood movies. You have six movies to survive through, and trust me, it sounds small, but it's not. Each movie will require several stunts to be performed with perfect execution. If you don't perform up to the director's standards, guess what? Reshoot! You get to start all over from the beginning.
Points are awarded in the game for both following the director's orders, and driving as dangerously as possible. Extra points are given for things like drifts, hairpin turns, and traffic near-misses. Combos of these moves can also earn you bonus points, and help you progress faster in the game. At the end of the stunt sequences, you'll be scored (in true Hollywood style) using a star system ranging from one (you're terrible) to five (you rock!).
Another very cool feature that has been added to the Stuntman: Ignition roster is the stunt constructor mode. This mode will allow you to imagine and create your own unique stunt runs. You can then share your creations with the world through an online capability and challenge others to try your course.
In addition to the stunt constructor mode, there will be another online mode where you can challenge rival stuntmen in a backlot skill showdown. Challenge stuntmen from around the world and see who can perform the stunts with the most accuracy while taking the most risks!
Gameplay will have you taking control of over 25 unique vehicles and doing a fancy combination of joystick control with precision button mashing to accomplish given stunts. Level difficulty increases rapidly, however, and (like the original) the potential for extreme game frustration is there. But once you take a break and come back to it, you'll be ready to go again!
Early trailers and gameplay video show the crisp and clean cinema scenes that deliver the signature graphics that the PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 are capable of. Characters, cars, and environments all look amazing and really come to life in rich detail. This title will also be released on the PlayStation 2, so I'm sure there will be a good amount of graphical variation between the next-gen versions and the PlayStation 2 version.
The sounds featured in the trailer are also very energetic and keep pace with the featured action. Upbeat music paired with lively voice acting, in addition to the various sound effects, make the soundtrack look promising. Hopefully, some good tunes will help to round out the sound department.
Overall, Stuntman:Ignition looks like it is well-suited to the next-generation gamer. Although it delivers the action and adrenaline that was the first Stuntman's signature, it also improves on the graphics and adds cool new online multiplayer modes. Although the game is challenging, it should provide enough background to appeal to both fans of the original and newer gamers. So one question remains: are you up to the challenge, Stuntman?
Amanda L. Kondolojy
CCC Freelance Writer