FlatOut: Ultimate Carnage Review for PC

FlatOut: Ultimate Carnage Review for PC

Take Your PC Out to the Arcade

Of course, I’m obligated to rate each game I review based on its own meritsor demerits, as the case may be. Occasionally, I encounter some gray area. In this instance, FlatOut: Ultimate Carnage is little more than an updated version of FlatOut 2. When I say updated, I mean that you wouldn’t even call this an expansion pack.

FlatOut: Ultimate Carnage screenshot

Not only that, but FlatOut 2 was originally created for the PC and was then ported to the Xbox 360 before being “updated” and returned to the PC with a different name. So, how do I tackle rating this game? On its own, Ultimate Carnage is one great arcade-style racing game. But, if you’ve already played and / or purchased FlatOut 2, you will likely want to steer clear of this version.

It pays to read reviews and not just gloss over them. Don’t just check out the scores, as there may be a good explanation that you will may find helpful. Hell, I might even start embedding clues to buried treasures in my reviews to get you to read them. Just for starters, you read this entire review and I promise to tell you how you can acquire more than a million dollars. Seriously! Now keep reading. I get paid by each word you read. Trust me; we’re watching you. Wave!

Ultimate Carnage is an unpretentious arcade racer. It’s fun, it’s good looking, and it’s got plenty of interesting modes and mini-games to give it replay value. It’s not very deep, at least in terms of vehicle upgrades, and it doesn’t require sim-like driving skills that can take months to master. This is a pick-up-and-play racer that one would be more likely to encounter on a console rather than a PC. Ultimate Carnage is going to require some serious processing due to the excellent destructive modeling.

FlatOut: Ultimate Carnage screenshot

Career mode is the hub of the game. This is where you work your way to the top of the racing food chain by entering and qualifying for various races. Coming in third or higher will earn you money that can be put towards upgrades or newer vehicles. The upgrades are limited. They are little more than stat increases which affect the overall performance of your vehicle, making it faster and easier to control. Like most arcade-style upgrades, you don’t really note many differences in the first few. This can be attributed to graduating to a more challenging track and performing against new and more challenging opponents, thus having nothing to compare them to; a textbook example of all things being relative.

Along with the Cup races that you must qualify for, there are open races you can take part in to earn more money. This is a good inclusion for those of us that sometimes hit a brick wall in the learning curve. Instead of having to re-race the same track over and over again in hopes of finally gaining enough skill, or just getting lucky enough to come in third, you can use the extra money to upgrade your vehicle to give you an edge. It’s a well-paced gameplay design that never leaves you feeling bogged down. On the other hand, it doesn’t coddle you. There’s always a challenge, but it’s always within reach, regardless of your skill level.

FlatOut: Ultimate Carnage screenshot

Arguably the most fun you’re going to have is with the reckless pursuit of pursuing wrecks. The environments is virtually totally destructible. You can make a huge mess before physics takes over and you’re eventually stopped by friction in the form of signs, fences, tires, buildings, and other vehicles. The damage modeling is great. If you hit some objects hard enough, they will actually become embedded in your vehicle until you shake them off. The A.I. is really well programmed and will make efforts to avoid you and other vehicles, but not all the time. They do display human error.

Carnage is heartily encouraged. It’s a demolition game for crying out loud. In the HeadOn mode, you are forced to turn around after each lap and drive in the opposite direction – directly into oncoming traffic.

FlatOut: Ultimate Carnage screenshot

Although, the traffic could be coming at you if you’re in last place. To further the carnage theme, a series of mini-games lets you launch the driver from your vehicle into the air, hopefully aimed at an intended target. After reaching top speed, you will abruptly brake, allowing inertia to do its job and catapult the driver from the vehicle. You’ll attempt to have him hit a variety of items and even try to get him to fly through a burning ring of fire. The rag-doll physics are excellent. It’s a brutal and hilarious scene.

With no LAN play or split-screen mode, replay value is going to be limited. Up to eight players can be accommodated online and there are enough modes to keep the average player entertained. To keep the pace steady, you no longer have to wait for other players to take their turn in the stunt and mini-games modes. Everyone plays at the same time with only faint, ghost outlines of the other vehicles visible onscreen.

It’s difficult not to be impressed with the graphics. Although not photo-realistic, they have a style that is perfectly suited for such arcade games. The particle effects are magical, and the water is some of the best I’ve ever seen in a game. The camera angles are well behaved and the draw distance is perfect. Even with the resolution lowered, the game still looks great with nary a hiccup in the mechanics. The tunes are hard-driving rock and really serve to get your revs up. Sound effects are loud, well recorded, and triggered without a niggle.

This is one solidly designed game, but it should be, since it’s been built on a pre-existing game. The upgrades to this game aren’t enough to make me recommend it if you own FlatOut 2, but, for everyone else, it’s a green light. Remember how I said I was going to help you acquire more than a million dollars? Well, all you have to do is find at least 50,000 reviews of mine that tell you not to purchase specific games. This will save you a fortune in the long run. You are welcome.

Great looking vehicles and environments. Excellent damage modeling. 4.8 Control
Arcade-easy control configuration. Feels like you’re playing on a console controller. 4.5 Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
Good, rocking tunes. Sound effects are varied. 4.5 Play Value
Lots of arcade fun with realistic A.I. Multiplayer components adds more dynamics. 4.6 Overall Rating – Must Buy
Not an average. See Rating legend above for a final score breakdown.

Game Features:

  • Arcade destruction racing at its best: FlatOut’s peerless real world physics engine combines vehicles built from 40 plus deformable parts with over 8000 destructible objects per track.
  • Huge number of race styles to suit your mood and preferences: Career racing – Compete in progressively tougher championship wrecking your way through three classes to become the ultimate FlatOut champion. Arcade racing – Deathmatch Destruction Derbies, time trials, and crash-filled challenges.
  • Highly competitive FlatOut racing action: Compete against 11 other drivers in single-player modes from a choice of 48 cars on 39 tracks in six different environments. Wreck your way across parched deserts, massive storm drains, and narrow city streets.
  • Fully supports Games For Windows live: Up to eight-player simultaneous LIVE play including Races, Derbies, and Stunts, plus the all-new Deathmatch Derbies and the excusive Head-On race mode.
  • Ragdoll characters catapulted in-race and in 12 crunching mini-games: The Ragdoll is unique to FlatOut, which is catapulted through your windscreen or, even better, the other driver’s windscreen as they are wrecked out of the race. Additionally, there are the 12 Ragdoll events which take some beating for their sheer body abuse (e.g. High Jump, Stone Skipping, Ring of Fire, Field Goal, and Free Kick).
  • Cars look stunning: See every scratch and dent all with real-time environment mapping to create a grittier realistic appearance.

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