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Stuntman: Ignition

Five years, a change of developer and a generational upgrade later, it's back...

Five years is a hell of a long time for a franchise to delay before bringing out a sequel, and the fact that it's changed both developer and publisher - from Atari and Reflections to THQ and Paradigm - suggests a troubled gestation for the film director simulator.

But the game that we got our eyes on at THQ's recent American gamers day doesn't show any of the usual signs of mangled development - in fact, this first Xbox incarnation of Stuntman has been improved in every single area since the PS2 days. Back then, nobody doubted it was a great idea, but it was fiddly and unfair - and then rapidly switched off.


That's Showbiz
The 360 incarnation features a far more intelligent scoring system, with directors giving you five chances before kicking you off the set in Career mode; and with six different blockbuster movies waiting to be made (with sequences including high-octane cop chases, and desperate dashes through a lava-strewn disaster zone), that has to be good news. Especially as, in the previous game, one error could end your career. As it is, the better you perform, the more impressive your next job will be.

Aside from motorbiking sequences, it's odd that Paradigm haven't seen the obvious potential for less impersonal stunts - fight scenes and physical feats, rather than just driving challenges - but, that missed opportunity aside, our brief time with Ignition provided plenty of loud roars of approval. The whole point of stunts, after all, is to provide visual spectacle, and launching a classic car from a high-rise building to smash straight into a hovering helicopter certainly comes under that heading.

With several fairly in-depth modes (including an as-yet unexplained multi-player feature) and real cinematic visual flair, it's well worth anticipating the cry of "ACTION!" come summer.