Every now and then, I’ll pick up a game just on premise alone. I’ll buy it without a single thought as to its value or without any purchase research. About a month ago, I picked up Stuntman:Ignition from THQ. I had heard of the previous game in the series and the insane levels of repetitiveness and difficulty it presented and I still took the jump. Was I impressed?
Simply put, you are a stunt driver for a movie studio. I’ll let this explain it:
Have you ever wanted to drive the General Lee and experience what it would be like to be on the set of the show?I don’t think this is entirely stuntman profession realistic, but I play this game and seven-year-old fantasies come true. Basically, you drive a stunt vehicle and have to perform various stunts by hitting director markers. Markers are yellow and when you nail them they turn green. Miss five markers and you have to start all over. As you can tell, the director calls out what he’d like to see. I’ll give you a little gameplay experience boost: upon loading the game, go to options and turn him off. The better you perform stunts the higher your score (duh!). However, there’s this wonderful catch that immediately adds replay value to the game. If you can keep performing stunts in a certain amount of time through the whole run (one every two seconds!), you perform what is called “stringing it.” In the video above (courtesy of Youtube and bonersgames.com) you can see how crazy the crew gets when you perform an insane number of stunts. The driver in that video is pretty skilled. Some stunts are easy to string and others, you’ll be lucky just to complete the course. The higher the score, the more stars you earn, and the more stars you earn, the more courses you play..
The style of this game is great. Its inspired by many cliched movies and TV shows: 80’s action flicks, Dukes of Hazard, Dante’s Peak, Bullitt, James Bond, and Batman. Completing these movies nets you a fake movie trailer. Most of them are hilarious. There’s also TV commercials that you can perform stunts on and garner more stars to unlock courses. (Armor All is a personal favorite).
Is this game easy? Yes and no. When you first play a track you may not know what stunt to perform or where to go. Some courses you’ll have to learn. However, level load times are instantaneous and there is an easy mode that gives you more strikes but halves your score. So it’s no biggie to replay at times. Also, you need to unlock a high number of stars to play the last movie level or two. In some cases, you’ll have to go back to previous movies and try and earn more points. This can be frustrating if you just want to play new levels. However, because of the difficulty, when you finally string a level, it’s very rewarding. Performing a huge stunt such as a jump moves the game into slow motion and you see the jump from another angle. Jumping through a barn in a Whoopin’ and Hollerin’ II course a la Dukes of Hazard with your car is a real treat.
There are achievements out the wazoo. Some are easy to earn and others are pretty tough. I imagine that very few people have earned the achievement where you string everything. There’s even a large score of sub achievements in the game that they call badges: certain jumps here, time trials there, etc.
There’s a stunt editor that lets you create your own stunt track in a stadium,(When? SUNDAY! SUNDAY! SUNDAAAAY!), and you you can unlock more stunt items and vehicles in the gam to use. Xbox Live users can even upload their stunts for others to play.
Speaking of Live, multiplayer is crazy, fast, and furious. You steal stunt scores during races, jump over your opponents, and overall play dirty all in the confines of a movie set. Of course, records are kept online of each individual course as well. However, it appears that the strong suit of the game is still in the single player.
Bottom line: It’s at least worth a rental. However, in this gamer’s case, it’s a must-buy. This title has probably been lost in the ’07 Fall glut of AAA games. However, I think it’s definitely AAA material. It’s also available on other platforms.
BONUS: Instant replays look great. I’ve never saved replays before on any game, but this was a first.