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Name: Stuntman: Ignition
Released: Sep 2007, PS3
Developed by: Paradigm Entertainment
Average Professional Score: 7 out of 10
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The original Stuntman was highly original, a refreshing take on a genre heavily filled by racing sims such as Gran Turismo and Ridge Racer. This sequel released in mid 2007 attempts to take the plot further with new films, more stunts and not forgetting next generation graphics, but can new developers, Paradigm Entertainment, recreate the renowned success of previous developer Atari?
As fans would know, you take the role of an up and coming Stuntman, breaking him through the ranks of an unknown to a Hollywood star. Incorporating six fictional movies into the bag, it is your job to perform all of the vehicular stunts deemed too dangerous for the real movie stars. Films range from 'Aftershock', a natural disaster movie where a volcano erupts and devastates a local town, to 'Never Kill Me Again', a parody of an action packed James Bond film.
I think the problems with this game really all start here. There may be different plots for each of the six films, but you don't really see anything of them, well apart from the scenes that you take part in. To put it mildly they are simply script less. This means no speaking, no dialogue, ultimately resulting in a lack of interaction with any of the other characters that I suppose actually are in the film somewhere. To be quite honest, I can accept that the realism of this rings true for the Stuntman profession, but as it is a game it lacks emotion, distancing you from the goings on and the dynamics of the film. You sort of just go in, do your bit, and then bugger off.
I guess the advantages of this means that you can jump straight into the game time and time again, know exactly what you need to do and ultimately turn it off at your own will. It is almost very similar to the structure of an arcade beat 'em up. This almost pick up and play feature means instant access to the action, which in all fairness is the thing most people are after here.
Evolution is much needed in a series to progress it further, making it seem new and refreshing, whilst still possessing the original points that make the originals popular. Stuntman: Ignition tries, it really does. It sort of reinvents the gameplay to make it more accessible. Basically each of the six movies has six scenes. These scenes have set goals and objectives set out by the director. By completing these objectives you can move on to the next scene. After finishing the scene, players are awarded a star rating. The more stunts performed perfectly means a higher rating.
To gain higher stars further more, players must be able to 'string' stunts together besides the director's expectations. This is completely new to the series. You could skim close against objects (moving or stationary), fly around corners, perform wheelies and they all count as a string. Instead of getting to the end of a level to see how you have done, directors can now issue 'strikes' to the player. These strikes are a sort of black mark or a warning against bad performance. If a certain amount of strikes are given, the player must restart the entire scene.
What at first seems interesting and addictive becomes laborious and repetitive very quickly. You soon begin to realise that it doesn't matter how the stunts are written into the films, they all pretty much seem the same. I think the main reason it quickly becomes tiresome is simply because of the trial and error process in which you set off at trying to finish the scene. Because each scene pans out to the director's exact aims, nothing changes in the level, so you know what happens. All mistakes are down to your own human error. Pause, select restart and your off again.
Games such as Coolboarders and others alike have the added value of competition, an enjoyment built up by a spirited tension. Sadly because Stuntman is just a game based on driving and being told what to do, it simply looses all sense of this. The inclusion of a multiplayer mode does add a little replay value, but it again it leaves you feeling somewhat under whelmed. The Backlot Battle allows you to compete against a friend by performing as many stunts as possible in a certain amount of laps. Originality isn't the word that first springs to mind.
Another disappointment shows itself literally on screen with average looking graphics. They aren't bad but just lack that something special to make you go wow and the shadows and light reflections look a bit dodgy. It all looks too artificial lacking any effort in design and structure. Some objects look too block like, almost Lego in nature, whilst others are unanimated. It is really just covered over with an overwhelming blandness, a boring gloss that just doesn't win awards.
I mean surely I'd be correct in thinking that a game based on stunts would have, well, excellent, overpowered, gobsmacking stunts? I sigh again in saying that animation here is well and truly dated to such an extreme that it almost at times can slow down the game. You know just how Sonic used to do on the Mega Drive. The special effects are laughable with not a lot really exciting happening and the aftermath of explosions and falling trees just do not have any effect. What I mean by this is the obvious effect a falling tree would have, or a crash for instance. As an example I feel Burnout would be appropriate. In that game when a crash happens, the mechanics of the car changes, the metal work comes off the car, you can feel the impact. Here Stuntman goes for the dull reaction of sameness and dud quality that makes playing games like this so worthwhile.
I've got to be honest; you spend so much time trying to concentrate looking out for obstacles that the sound doesn't really register. You can obviously here this muffled over acted voice waffling on from somewhere but the truthness is it just goes in one ear and out the other. This is because as soon as you start to listen to what the director says you realise that you've missed one stunt and have already crashed into a post. It's a conundrum this game, at times it has so much going on at once it's almost a chore to play.
I find it extremely easy to understand why after such a lacklustre effort, developers Paradigm Entertainment were shut down in 2008. It does support online (if you can get past the loading) but doesn't offer anything we haven't seen before. Racing online with up to eight people can get pretty intense, though again it can quickly become tiresome. The graphics lack any depth and the animation is pretty lifeless in relation to what you'd expect from this game. Perhaps we didn't need a second game; the first one filled the gap in the market or maybe because Ignition tries so hard and gives so little it failed to offer anything new to a system now introducing outstanding concepts. In all fairness it is a carbon copy of the original and since that was released in 2002, five years is plenty of time to come up with exciting new features especially since it was released on a next gen console. The only thing going for it is that it relies on the fans of the original and that it involves stunts. The game itself doesn't have much competition and players who are intrigued by playing the role of stuntman in a film may give this a go. It isn't absolutely awful and manages to entertain for a few hours. It is more of a game to rent for a lazy weekend rather than a game you'd sweat blood and tears to master.
I brought this game as I loved it at my mates house. I think it is a great game despite the bad reviews. Yes, the game does have a couple of problems but is still a great game to play!
The graphics aren't very good and look and feel like a Playstation 2 game. The game experiences a little slowdown, this means some of your controls won't be registered all the time. Then, you will fail the mission. Also, the controls are very easy to learn, so anyone can play.
You start as a rookie stuntman and will try to get yourself known in Hollywood. You will try to unlock new cars and collectables to create your own arena to play in.
The game is very similar to the original stuntman and hasn't changed much.
The gameplay is very fun and exciting. However, it isn't as good as other Playstation 3 games. The game can become boring after awhile and will not be played after the novlety wears off, so it is only good if brought cheap.
Overall, the game is very good and is great value for money. It is available for only a fiver in Currys. The game does have some negatives including the slowdown but the fun makes up for it.
In Stuntman: Ignition yoou play a rookie stuntman out to try and make a name for yourself in the world of the hollywood action film. Along the way as you gain expirience by completing the choreographed scenes you will unlock many different vehicles. You also unlock many toys that let you build your own stunt course for a stunt show in a arena environment. For those of you that remember the original Stuntman from the PS2 will notice that this all seems very familiar and for the most part you would be right as it is in essence the same game with updated graphics for the PS3 and a few tweaks here and there, for example stunts can be strung together to gain extra points. I found this to be a good game, it is quite easy to grasp the controls and the gameplay is both fun and challenging. The graphic power of the PS3 might not be fully utilised in this game but that doesn't stop it being great fun to play.