Stuntman (PlayStation 2) review
"Reflection crashed onto the gaming scene many years ago with its slick, innovative hit Driver. Years later, Stuntman became Reflection's next attempt at providing gamers with a different kind of 4-wheel entertainment. The buzz about the game was goodóletís face it, taking on the role of a professional stunt driver is a hell of an idea. But like a brail traffic sign, some ideas look so much better on paper. "
Reflection crashed onto the gaming scene many years ago with its slick, innovative hit Driver. Years later, Stuntman became Reflection's next attempt at providing gamers with a different kind of 4-wheel entertainment. The buzz about the game was good--letís face it, taking on the role of a professional stunt driver is a hell of an idea. But like a brail traffic sign, some ideas look so much better on paper.
I remember Driverís catch phrase:
You are the wheelman.
This time around youíre still the wheelman, but it feels more like Driver's education. If you havenít gathered the concept, read the title. You get to be a stunt driver in the movies.
Kick ass! I get to burn down the highway, smash through walls and drive off cliffsÖ while they film it.
Kind of, but before you get all amped up like I did, remember I said this game is like Driver's edÖ at catholic school. Who is the proverbial Nun with the ruler? Well, that would be the director. The moment your tires start spinning heís going to be feeding you info on what he wants--it can be anywhere from a simple overtake to driving your car onto a moving train.
But just in case you miss his quick quips these stunts are also marked by a yellow icon. If you accomplish whatever task it may be, the icon turns green. Fail and it turns red. This is where the score bar comes into play.
What? As if an impatient, pushy director, wasnít enough this game has to keep score, too?
Yes, but itís rather simple. The score consists of two horizontal bars. The one at top indicates the potential score and the bottom bar is your total. Each stunt is divided into little green or red segments that will fill this bar up by levels end and the white line is your quota. Pass your quota with enough green and you pass the level.
Right. Enough with the technical crap, on to the good things.
First things first, this game has a mass of kick ass things you can do. You can literally drive on ancient Mayan ruinsÖ seriously, on the temples. You get to bound around in snowmobiles dodging staged explosives, time a jump to squeeze through two oncoming trains and even pinch your car in-between the open doors of a helicopter while itís flying.
When you're not in the middle of a movie, you cut loose in your very own stunt arena by driving into a wall of scrapped cars or playing dominos with large vehicles or you can create your own mayhem by designing the stunt arena any way you see fit, explosions and all.
That sounds great. So why doesnít this game work?
First of all, the frustration level is very high. Itís very easy to lose a lot of the lead cars or miss a lot of the stunts just because you arenít paying attention. And making it all the way to the end of some very difficult levels just to find you didnít meet your quota is going to grate your nerves. Starting over also becomes a pain because of slow loading screens. Iíve spent hours just on one level because--no matter how far I got--it starts you back at the beginning, forcing you to do every stunt for the umpteenth time. One tiny mistake and itís all over.
Youíre going to have to deal with stuffy controls as well. It takes a lot of effort to get most of the cars going the way you want them to. A lot of mashing and jerking your entire body is involved. Considering the level will end abruptly if you tread even an inch outside of the set path, itís irritating. That and you have to listen to the director bitch.
Cut! Where were you going?
The levels also tend to be a little short and more about the cut-scenes then about driving. They look good and they provide you with a lot of info on how these stunts we see every day actually work but sometimes I just want to drive. Not be bound all the time by silly little rules or quotas and I donít want it to end the moment my adrenaline starts going. This game is very good at revving your mental engine, but when you stomp the gas it tends to sputter.
Itís not that this game doesnít work, it just doesnít come together. It has a lot of great ideas, ones that sound really good when you hear about them, but you have to sift through a lot of crap to get to them. If you can handle mind-numbing redundancy, long loading screens and very strict rules you may actually enjoy this game. Personally, I like the open road to be, well, open. Stuntman has a great concept, much like a lot of things in the action genre. But what is the one thing that could ruin any decent action movie? Hearing the director talk the entire time.
Cut! That was all wrong.
My thoughts exactly.
Community review by True (December 07, 2005)
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