|System: Xbox, PS2, PC||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: BugBear||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Empire||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Aug 2006||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1 - 8||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|Review by Adam||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
By Adam Brown
When I sat down to play this game, I was initially excited. I thought that playing Flatout 2 was going to be like playing a new Burnout-styled game where you could eject your driver. Nothing could be further from the truth since these two games dont really play anything alike. Burnout is more about breakneck speeds and skillfully wrecking your opponents while Flatout, at least initially, plays like a sloppy mess that seems to be moving in slow motion. Once you get past the games flawed nitro system and the early derby races in career mode however, the game becomes mostly playable and even mildly entertaining.
Flatout 2 includes a decent variety of races and events that do an admirable job of keeping the game fresh. In this game, there are 12 rag doll mini-games, six destruction derby arenas, and 30 racetracks that include dirt roads and city streets. You can try any of these as single events and most as multiplayer (sadly no multiplayer destruction derbies) to get the hang of the game, however most of this games depth and gameplay comes from playing through its career mode.
Flatouts career mode begins the way you may expect. Youre just rich enough to buy a junky car and begin racing it for money that you use to upgrade your or buy a better one. Players wont want to put too much thought into their car choice at this point though because it really wont matter. No matter which car you choose at the beginning of the game, you will likely spend most of the early derby races flailing out of control while wishing you werent playing the game any more. Whether this is caused by the poor handling of the cheaper cars, by the tons of debris that covers every track in the game, or most likely, a combination of the two, it gets very annoying very quickly. This brings me to my belief that Flatout 2 should have been rated M for mature instead of T for teen due to the shear amount of profanities that you will shout at the screen while wrecking over and over again as you try to place in the derby events. To compete in this class, players will definitely need to stock up on tons of nitro to help them catch back up with the pack after an accident. This is when it seems like the game is just being spiteful because players must hit their opponents or other in-game objects with their car to earn that nitro. While this may sound like it should work at first, players will quickly realize that hitting anything usually results in a catastrophic accident that concludes with your car wrapped around a nearby tree or building. You would think that hitting your rivals cars in a game that claims to encourage vehicular violence would be a good thing, but you would be incorrect.
Once you somehow get past the slow motion nightmare that is passing the derby events, players graduate to compete in the much more playable Race and Street classes. Both of these classes are virtually the same except the Street class has faster, shinier, and more expensive cars. Vehicles available in both of these classes will actually allow the player to stay on the road for more than two seconds at a time. It is at this point, when the majority of the pain is over, that players will begin to see how pretty this game is. All of the games racetracks and surrounding environments are full of detail and character. Whether its flying through a barn in the country or crashing through a building in the city, this game is sure to visually impress the player with its destructible environments. Unfortunately, this leads to another problem during races. Only half of the stuff in the levels is destructible and you get to discover the differences between the two by trial and error. One kind of pole may give way with little to no resistance while another may completely destroy your car without moving an inch. The game also does an exquisite job of showing realistic damage to your car. If you smash the front right end of your car, then that portion of your car will show damage. If you hit it hard enough, the tire may pop off and will make it more difficult to drive.
Besides the racing, players are left with two other options; either to play a destruction derby event or to torture a nameless rag doll in one of twelve mini-games. The destruction derby events are slightly entertaining but not incredibly deep, and with the lack of a multiplayer mode, easily forgettable. That leaves players free to experiment with human flight in the rag doll mini-games. Only about half of these mini-games are actually worth playing while the other half just seem rather similar and lame. Mini-games such as Bowling, Royal Flush, Soccer, and Darts however, are definitely an entertaining way to spend a few hours.
This game is not so bad that you should flat-out avoid it, while not being good enough to burn-out to the store to buy it. (wink)
CCC Freelance Writer