The first Stuntman game was frustrating to the extreme, resembling a memory test rather than a racing game in places. This fact wasnâ€™t helped by the way that every time you had to restart a level – which was pretty often – it had to load again from scratch. Thanks to modern technology, there are instant restarts in this sequel. Weâ€™re pretty sure that they could have sorted that out in the first game if they had tried hard enough though.
The demo – available now on Xbox Live Marketplace – is a generous one, offering a tutorial and three missions to rally around in. The first two are set at the foot of an active volcano, so there are plenty of burning buildings to drive through and falling rocks to avoid. The third feels like it has been lifted from a James Bond film, featuring a missile-equipped sports car on ice. Itâ€™s also the toughest mission of the three with some tricky U-turns and short-fused explosions that you have to drive by just as they go off.
The director – who has a very posh British accent, we might add – barks out instructions as you drive, but most interactive objects have colourful icons on which will quickly become familiar. Every stunt is rated, so thereâ€™s a good incentive to return; another is that you can save and watch replays. Itâ€™s certainly more forgiving than before – you can get away with making three, sometimes four mistakes in a row. Take a wrong turn or stray off path for too long though and itâ€™ll be â€œCut, cut, cut!â€ So yes, it still requires use of your memory glands.
In terms of presentation, it recalls Burnout 3: Takedown in that itâ€™s rather big and brash. In actual fact, the whole game has a Burnout-ish feel to it. That’s not a bad thing at all – Burnout 3 was bloody great fun. Now how about a proper non-car-based Stuntman game where we get to run through windows, jump off cliffs and have sex in a plummeting elevator?
Itâ€™s due out on PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 2 on 31st August. Unless the developers all decide to go tomb stoning one weekend.