Stuntman Ignition places you inside the driving seat, playing the role that is always taken for granted, the role of a madman. As a Hollywood stunt driver trying to break into the industry, you will experience stunts that one could only wish to see at the box office. Using a large range of vehicles from motorcycles to monster-trucks, you will be expected to perform stunts whilst under a tremendous amount of stress and surrounded by chaos.
Jumping straight into career mode, you get a lucky break into the film industry after an impressive car stunt scene. Your first break begins on a film titled Aftershock. Throughout the stunt scenes you will need to use a sports coupe, a police car, a motorbike and an SUV. The vehicles have varied controls and handle extremely different, providing a different fresh racing experience and something to look forward too; as you unlock each new vehicle. The first film Aftershock will have you riding through flames, over ramps, under trucks, between lava and into explosions; to name but a few of the suicidal activities that you will have to perform perfectly, whilst driving at break neck speeds.
As understandable from the nature of the game, you will be required to restart and attempt stunts once again after failing constantly. To fight this frustrating aspect of Stuntman Ignition, you will need an exceptionally high tolerance for trial and error. Thankfully you will notice that Paradigm have done a fantastic job at making the game load almost instantaneously (Ed – good job!). It is a common occurrence on most tracks you will simply be trying to memorize the key stunt locations. Whilst the stunt coordinator voice-over can be helpful, often you will be informed to take action whilst you are actually inside the stunt marker. For example he may call out “Do a 180 degree spin” whilst you have just drove into the stunt marker (which is usually slightly larger than the car size) doing 150mph. As expected this can be extremely frustrating.
Upon completing each stunt sequence you will be awarded a rating. This rating can vary from one to five. To obtain the five star rating on the later stages you will require nerves of steel and break neck reactions, in order to maintain a clean and impressive sequence throughout. During a stunt scene you will be constantly marked upon the intensity of the current stunt sequence. You will earn points for your speed, your ability to hit the key stunt locations and bonus points for driving dangerously, which involves driving close to obstacles and drifting around corners, for example.
The first two methods for obtaining points create the basic gameplay principle; whilst the third (collecting points for driving dangerously) will be the element that keeps the gameplay fresh and enjoyable for time to come. If you want to hit the five star ratings, you are required to “string” the entire stunt sequence in one long stunt. That may sound daunting, and to be fair it is. Upon completing a single stunt (be it an optional stunt or one key to the current sequence) you will have only several seconds to complete another stunt otherwise your string will end.
The career mode features a total of 6 feature films with six individual stunt sequences on each. You will also be presented with an introduction from the director and your stunt coordinator, explaining what they want from you during the stunts. Lastly upon completing the six stunt sequences you will be rewarded with a trailer for the film showing off some of your complete stunts. This is a nice touch that helps breath life into the varied films, whilst also providing a small bonus for managing to complete a full set.
To progress through to the next feature film you will be required to raise your overall stunt driver star rating to a specific level. This can be done by getting high star ratings on each stunt sequence stage. If you are struggling to reach those higher star ratings however, you can take part in an odd job, which include working on activities such as TV commercials and organised stadium events. Overall you will find that the career mode can be completed within a matter of hours, but if you would like to achieve the higher star ratings it will bring the game length to a reasonable timescale.
If you happen to have a friend handy or access to Xbox Live, you have the option of multiplayer modes. From here you will have a choice of three game modes. Two of the game modes provide simple racing on dull tracks with little in the form of excitement, however, the third game mode pits you against others on one of the better courses. In the third game mode you will need to complete key stunt locations, as seen from the singleplayer, but with the added competition of racing against another to be the first on the key stunts. This adds intensity and excitement to the gameplay. Whilst the multiplayer offering could have been used more efficiently, it will still provided additional enjoyment.
Graphically game can look fantastic during action sequences when fire and explosions consume the scene. Unfortunately whilst this may look great, you will see a noticeably large drop in frames per second, to the point where the game can gutter. Over time this can become frustrating, as the slowdown in frame rate will usually take place during the enjoyable moments when the action becomes intense.
Lucky the sound is good, adding to the action packed atmosphere when the graphics are at their best. It is a shame however that the sound is often drowned out by the coordinate constantly throwing out the same repetitive instructions.
Overall I would recommend Stuntman Ignition to fans of racing games in general and players that can stomach the trial and error style of gameplay. Stuntman Ignition provides a fresh racing experience that many will enjoy.