‘Stuntman: Ignition’ is the greatest excuse for a videogame ever

By Aidan Finn, Staff Writer

The idea and concept behind a game is usually where the core success of a title can arise from, many times transcending the hardware limitations of its time. “Final Fantasy VII” is a clear case of a widely ambitious game that was simply held back by its PlayStation 1 limits of 1997. “Resident Evil 2” was another game with a tightly realized concept of a John Carpenter-esc zombie apocalypse again executed on the tiny Sony console, pulling every trick from pre-rendered backgrounds to backtracking to realize its nightmarish end-days setting and concept to full effect. 

These ambitious games did later get eighth generation remakes on the PS4 to fully realize their potential, but this episode of Illini Recommends is focusing on a 2007 PS3 title that, in my opinion, has one of the most inspired concepts for a video game to date, one that has criminally underrated since.

“Stuntman: Ignition,” the sequel to the 2002 original PS2 title, was developed by Paradigm Entertainment as one of the most unique racing games to debut on the console. The game has you taking the role of a stuntman rising the ranks of the Hollywood action-blockbuster scene. You’ll be doing everything from car commercials to even standing in for the lead man in a high-budget superhero movie. 

Right off the bat, the inspired energy of “Stuntman” is in realizing its concept of you being a stuntman as an excuse to execute insane and diverse set pieces one after another, with the goal being to do every action correctly with the director’s orders. Sliding under a truck on a motorbike, running from the cops through a small town parade, even racing against an exploding volcano — the game will take you everywhere yet be completely in tune with the other levels. You’ll fail if you do not keep up with the actions in order, and if you inadvertently get yourself violently killed in an accident, a search and rescue team will be called to the set. 

Tiny details like hidden cameramen and backlot onlookers help sell the imagination this game is going for, with the stunts themselves pushing the envelope in a ludicrous manner. You get briefed by your stunt coordinator on what is going to happen ahead of your run, and after completing a set amount of stunt runs you are rewarded with an incredibly cheesy but hilarious CGI trailer for the movie you just shot featuring your stunts. 

The game is set over several fake movies, all pretty clear mockery of 2000s blockbusters, from “Die Another Day 007” styled Bond film, a Roland Emmerich disaster movie and even a grand finale superhero movie clearly inspired by the Chicago-shot “Batman Begins” car chase. Every stage shines and you’ll want to keep retrying them to better your score. The odd job side quests are a neat distraction as well, with car commercials and ads for delivery trucks being a neat gag but soured by having a no-fail requirement. 

Fans of the series did criticize “Ignition” for being a bit more arcade-like and making its stunts far more unrealistic compared to the more grounded 2002 title, but fun is still to be had with this PS3 gem. The concept of a Hollywood stuntman realized into a newer game, with out-of-car action and maybe an overarching story could be incredible with its various set pieces and instantaneous action that is hard not to enjoy even if you are not a film geek.

“Stuntman: Ignition” is available on Xbox 360, PS3, and PS2.

 

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