One of the most popular games on the Playstation was Driver. Full of challenges and full of enjoyment the game was a big success, as was it's sequel. Driver's developers, Reflections, have now given us Stuntman for the Playstation 2. The game sees you, amazingly enough, in the role of a stuntman. Of course with Reflections expertise in driving game,s all the stunts you perform are on four wheels which is no bad thing at all.
The game works the way I would imagine a film does for a stuntman. You go through individual sequences, you must get a sequence correct to progress, and when you have finished all the parts of a film then you get to see the finished result before your very eyes. The stunt sequences range from just a few simple tasks such as performing 180 degree turns and overtaking cars etc., to spectacular breathtaking events that look simply stunning.
The main part of the game is a sort of career mode in which you carry on performing different stunts for different films and all the while the difficulty is slowly being increased. This actually works quite well as the constant need to improve your skills to perform the more difficult objectives helps to prevent you becoming bored. I also found that the need to refine my driving skills also made me appreciate the game more. There are too many driving games about, which can be completed by simply being familiar with the basic points of control.
Should you feel the need for a break from your stuntman career then there are plenty of distractions to keep you busy. There are a host of mini-games to occupy you and whilst they are OK, it's probably the stunt creator mode that will be everyone's favourite. Performing well enough in the career mode will earn you bonus vehicles,ramps and other props required to perform stunts. Initially you'll only be able to setup simple stunts but as you progress through the career mode you'll acquire the tools to setup spectacular stunts.
In terms of control Stuntman has it just right. How many driving games have come out and handled like a shopping trolley? Loads of them. Thankfully every title that Reflections have created, the cars have handled like a dream and Stuntman is no exception. The cars feel right, even when using a gamepad. The stunts, no matter how difficult always feel achievable which only serves to add to the enjoyment of the title.
Graphically speaking the game looks good and is upto par for what we expect a Playstation 2 title to look like. The damage models for the cars also seems quite accurate, which is always pleasing to see in a driving game. Ram your car into a rubbish skip or brick wall and you'll probably have wrecked the car. The framerate remains constant too which is always good to see on a Playstation 2 title, as few seem to manage it. The one grumble I have though is that load times are a tad long and can become irritating if you're having to redo stunts a lot. Is this the game's fault or the consoles fault? All I can say is that there are plenty of titles where you have to sit and wait for more time than is bearable for things to load.
Stuntman is very pleasing in that the cutscenes are subtitled, they have to be enabled though, with a good clear font and the text is placed on a dark overlay so even if the text is temporarily on top of a light surface then you can still read it from the comfort of your sofa. During the stunt sequences themselves, the verbal instructions are not subtitled but icons appear over the objects to relay to you what needs to be done, whether it be smash through boxes, overtake or do a 180 degree turn. This for the most part works well and it is excellent to see that Reflections Interactive have given deaf gamers equal access to their game.
Stuntman is a driving game with a difference. The career mode is fantastic and the stunt creator mode is simply a great bonus. There isn't any multiplayer mode but otherwise it's hard to pick a fault with Stuntman. They have catered superbly for deaf gamers and it is very encouraging to see such top developers taking the time to cater for as many gamers as possible. This is without a doubt, one of the most playable and refreshing driving titles to hit the Playstation 2 in a long time.
Overall Game Rating: 9.2/10 Stuntman is a fantastic game which manages to breathe new life into the driving game genre.
Deaf Gamers comment: A superb example of how a game can cater for a deaf gamer.