I will be honest and say that I have never really been into the driving game genre. Though I have played Burnout, Gran Turismo and all the other hit racing games, they have never really had that 'play me again' pull like Grand Theft Auto and Conflict Desert Storm (completely different platforms).
Because of this I wasn't that enthusiastic about reviewing it.
Oh how wrong I was.
FlatOut has to be one of the best games I have played in a long time, for many years I have said that "why doesn't the billboard fall over when you hit it, like it would in real life?" and finally they have done it.
Anyway, on with the review.
In my opinion, first impressions are everything, and man did this game give good first impressions.
Even the loading screen was kind of funky, though it didn't stay there for long; I was surprised at how quickly the game loaded, within a few seconds as opposed to the increasingly lengthening loading times of other games.
It was fairly quick and simple to create, edit and switch between profiles, something that isn't all that easy in other games, something Burnout has been especially bad for; this leads me to say how this game has been considered a rival to the Burnout series for a long time, and - in my opinion - it is just that... be VERY afraid, Critereon and EA!
Another advantage of the profile selection screen is that it shows your stats right there. There is no loading profiles to get to the stats page to compare it with another profile in this game.
I didn't load the single player mode first; I tried the multiplayer, partly because I had someone with me to play multiplayer with but also because this is normally what I end up using these types of game for.
Unfortunately I couldn't find any way of including computer players in the multiplayer races, meaning that if you are playing with someone who isn't that good at the game you both soon get bored of driving round the track in different places not really competing with anyone.
Apart from that the multiplayer system is quite good, unfortunately, due to hardware inadequacies (no network adapter!) I was unable to review the online 8 player races.
After having a couple of races in the multiplayer mode we soon found ourselves trying to destroy each other's cars more than racing but hey!
For once a game developer had created a racing game where you can damage the fences on the edge of the tracks and take out sign posts!
Once we got bored with multiplayer (well, actually we didnâ€™t get bored, but there was only me left playing so multiplayer was kind of lonely) I decided to try out the single player campaign mode.
I was pleased to find that you actually get cash bonuses for destroying the objects around the track, and I was pleased to get $151 dollars for taking out 322 fence panels - even though I came eighth!
The campaign mode also allows you to buy and upgrade new cars - this means that all these bonuses you receive that give you money actually mean something; you need the money you collect to continue progressing in the game.
All in all, Flat Out is a very good game and has one hell of a lifespan.
On a final note, the controls are excellent too.
I had not mentioned the controls yet, however that has to be one of the best features of the game; after playing San Andreas like it is going out of fashion, I was shocked to feel how lifelike the controls are in FlatOut.
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