The Flatout game series is one of the most undervalued in its genre, often overshadowed by EA’s blockbuster Burnout franchise. But with Bugbear Entertainments’ latest entry, it certainly puts Burnout well and truly in the back seat with its distinctive brand of destructive racing.
While Burnout has always been the slick, city-street race game, within minutes of loading up Flatout you’ll want to pull on your oily overalls and get down and dirty. As with most racers, the concept of Flatout is fairly simple; buy a car, race to win money and purchase improvements. Where Flatout differentiates itself however, is that not only are you rewarded for fast driving, but for vicious and destructive driving! With money dished out for how much damage the environment and your competitors take from you.
The interaction that players have with the environment is fantastic. From the hidden ramps and shortcuts found within races to the nearly completely destructible surroundings, Flatout takes a huge leap forward for racing games. Each track features 8000 dynamic objects - all destructible.
The graphics seen in Flatout are astounding. The 48 cars are all rendered in crisp high-definition, and are comprised of over 40 panels which twist, contort and destruct individually and realistically on impact. The tracks and their surrounding environments are stunningly detailed and really steal the show. Multiple routes are able to be taken on every level with stunning scenery on each. Minor details are also very apparent, from the trail of dirt following the cars to the reflections seen in the water. All of this at a stable and consistent frame rate makes Flatout a visual masterpiece.
The multitude of game modes makes Flatout a game with lasting replay value. Carnage mode is a traditional racing mode where winning an event unlocks the next. Flatout however branches out into many sub-genres including destruction derbies and stunts. The stunts are a real high point of the game and are great fun albeit frustrating. Stunts range from ejecting your driver from the car into a baseball glove, to ten pin bowling and provide welcome additions to Flatout. Xbox Live is more of the same, with destruction derbies and races with fellow players online.
At the end of the day Flatout may not receive the attention that the latest Burnout will, but with astounding graphics, a plethora of game modes and fantastically destructible environments, it’s one title that should not be missed.