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Platform

Xbox

 

Genre

Racing

 

Publisher

Vivendi

 

Developer

Bugbear

 

ESRB

T (Teen)

 

Released

August 2006

 

 

- Love the Driver-Hurlin' mini-games

- "Realistic" car damage

- Manages to be fun if you aren't expecting a Burnout clone or of the "casual racing" ilk

 

 

- Not as viscerally appealing as other racing titles

- Love for the Driver-Hurlin' min-games doesn't last as long as you might think

- Controls should grow on you over time

- Sense of speed is hit and miss

 

 

Review: Burnout Revenge (XB)

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Review: Totaled! (XB)

Review: Midnight Club 3: DUB Edition (XB)

 

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FlatOut 2

Score: 7.5 / 10

 

It's a horribly backhanded comment but FlatOut2 is a lot better than I thought it was going to be.  At best it looked like a Burnout clone, at worst it looked like a bad Burnout clone.  While it doesn't sport the same sense of speed or visceral appeal of splintering automotive shells like Burnout, FlatOut 2 does offer ragdoll drivers that are often launched from their cars (seatbelts ranking well below muffler upgrades) and a more "realistic" approach to car damage (i.e. crunched body work instead of simply exploding).

 

flatout 2          flatout 2

 

Like most racing games, FlatOut 2 offers a variety of different modes and besides the standard offerings of the Career mode (upgrade your car, buy new ones as you drive your way to top of the pile) the developers have thrown in a ton of mini-games, which all involve launching your human driver a great distance or to toward a target.  The setup is very basic -- drive in a straight line, launch your driver -- but the results are very often fun to watch; crashing into bowling pins, plummeting through giant basketball hoops, trying to jam yourself into a safety net at the highest possible spot, and so on.  It's not likely this mode would be much fun if the driver screamed a lot; thankfully it's mostly grunts and crunching 

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sounds.  There is also the untypical Destruction Derby mode, which is lots of fun playing against human opponents.

 

If you're looking for a 1000-mile per hour thrill ride FlatOut 2 is likely to disappoint.  Developer Bugbear is known for producing more or less "realistic" racing games, and while there's still a turbo, it never feels as if you're going that fast, even with the sleeker vehicles.  Further, most of the vehicles handle

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the same across the board; the only difference is that the bulkier vehicles feel like they have some heft to them.  All the vehicles tend to spin-out or go sideways from the least little bump from behind, too.  Since most of the races tend to be close affairs -- moving from first place to last and back again is common -- the results can be quite frustrating if you suffer a "nudge" near the end of a race.

 

flatout 2          flatout 2

 

During the course of each race, the area can become quite littered with debris since roadside piles of barrels, fences, etc. can be plowed into and strewn across the road.  Even better, those objects stay there throughout the race so careful maneuvering can push your opponents into heavy objects like rocks to slow them down.  I really liked this aspect because it created a certain level of realism without straying from the overall arcade feel of the title.

 

It's a complete cop-out to say that FlatOut 2 makes for a solid rental; that's just lazy and indicates a distinct lack of will to have an opinion one way or the other.  FlatOut 2 is an above-average racing game, which means casual racing fans will feel satisfied with its features and gameplay.  The more demanding hardcore racing fans -- those are the ones that mull Forza Motorsport in-depth -- won't be so happy.  Still, I had fun, so put me in with the casual racing fan camp.

 

- Omni

(September 18, 2006)

 

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