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FlatOut 2
(hx) 12:13 PM EDT - Sep,10 2006

Developed by finnish Bugbear Entertainment, FlatOut 2 is the sequel to FlatOut (82%), a destructive racing game with multiple play modes. As the original game, FlatOut 2  focuses on your ability during a race to crash your vehicle into other cars and affect the environment. Each track has many dynamic objects that you can crash into. Not only do these objects react individually (e.g. each tyre in a tyre wall flying off in their own path), but they and the car deform and react accordingly. There's also popular Nitro which can be collected by destroying the mostly brittle scenery around you. Besides, FlatOut 2 betters the original game in almost every way imaginable and most certainly with regards to its handling and physics system - the end result is that the game is a great deal more refined and fun than the original! Sounds good, doesn't it?

FlatOut 2 plays a lot like its predecessor, although visually it has been enhanced and the gameplay has been fine tuned. First off, the single player game has gotten a bit of a revamp for the sequel. The original simply had you driving through races against unnamed opponents, but for FlatOut 2 developer has actually created a number of different characters that will have their own driving styles. Having the single player game focus on trying to beat different characters, from tough babes to cowboy hat wearing guys certainly gives it a lot more variety. In total there are seven drivers to race against and they're easy to pick out on the track, so you will always know who to attack while racing.

Speaking of the cars, the number of them has more than doubled from 16 to 34. While the original game only contained Muscle Cars, FlatOut 2 includes muscles, SUVs, compacts, trucks, sedans, etc. The cars are divided into three classes - Race Class, Derby Class, Street Class. Each car in the game has several ratings in categories like top speed, acceleration, handling, strength, weight, nitrous, and all of these categories can be upgraded via new parts in the career mode. Things you can upgrade include your engine, drive train, transmission, suspension, tires and your cars rollage to make it stronger. However, you can't upgrade the looks of your car. The upgrade menu is fairly simplistic, but at the same time keeps the emphasis on the destructive gameplay itself. Besides the 3 classes of cars there are also a few bonus cars which can be used in multiplayer. These cars include a mobster car, a old style sportswagon, a schoolbus, a big truck, the flatmobile, which is kind of a driving aircraft and the rocket, which is a stunt car powered by a jet engine.

As you may suspect, the career mode is once again the game's focus. Here you have three cups (Derby, Race and Street) to work through, each containing numerous race and challenge events. Driving points are tracked for you and your AI competitors, so the cup is judged not only via individual races, but by overall point totals, giving the game a more open and competitive feel than the single track-centric progression of the first game. Finish above a certain position in each event and you'll open up further events and earn credits.

There's also a new Championship mode which now offers several difficulty levels encased within a multiple race-type series (similar to Burnout). There are three cups in this mode, each focusing on the aforementioned destruction derby, street and race cars. Driving points are tracked for you and your AI competitors, so the cup is judged not only via individual races, but by overall point totals, giving the game a more open and competitive feel than the single track-centric progression of the first game. Besides the Championship mode, you can also select a Single Race, Single Event, Single Stunt, or a Single Derby from the menu screen.

The single race is just what it claims to be, it's a single race. You choose a car and a track and you race. Nothing more, nothing less. You will also still receive the various bonuses, but they don't earn you credits in this mode, they just look cool. The single event is more or less the same as the single race as the events you can play are also races, but they are quite different from the normal races. The destruction derby is where you take to an open area and attempt to lay the smack down on everyone, while keeping your car from blowing up in a pile of smoldering steel. You'll earn points for every hit on an opponent; as well you'll get bonus points for finishing them off.

There are also some amazingly addictive mini games (better known as rag doll mini events) that are unlocked by completing racing stages in the career mode - these includes High Jump, Bowling, Ski Jump, Curling, Stone-Skipping, Ring of Fire, Field Goal, Royal Flush, Basketball, Darts, Baseball, Soccer. The premise of each of these games is essentially the same. Drive your car down a ramp, and eject the driver sending him flying through the air. In the high jump, the goal is to get the stunt dude as high as you can, while in bowling it's to knock down all the pins. These minigames are all great fun to play, especially when you get the hang of it. They might seem tough and frustrating at the first, but after a while, when you get the hang of it, they're a great deal of fun.

FlatOut 2's environments (forest, desert, field, canal, city, and traditional racetracks) are based on US locales, and though they aren't directly tied to specific cities, they're very reminiscent of popular US locales. Though there are six less tracks (30 in FlatOut 2, down from 36), there are now alternate routes that can take you half a mile away from everyone else, or give you a quick way around a corner. The tracks might not be the most original you've ever seen, but they look good and are fun to race on, especially because of all the destructible objects that are scattered all over the track. Every circuit in the game features around 5,000 destructible objects, as opposed to 3,000 in the first game. Tires, fences, rocks, oil drums, and more literally bounce, roll, and fly across the screen as if a hurricane were nearby. The arcade-style atmosphere wouldn't be complete without the ability to uproot trees and telephone poles like they were made out of paper-made, as FlatOut 2 is all about driving fast and hitting hard. As in the first game, you have to accumulate nitrous by driving aggressively and causing damage to other racers and your surroundings.

Speaking of online games, FlatOut 2 has a fairly robust and full-featured online (Internet/LAN up to 8 players) setup. All game modes are available here. You can play stunts online, race online, play wrecking derbies online, simply all the stuff you have in the single player mode except the career are available.

Overall, Flatout 2 is a healthy addition to the series that offers impressive new features and just as much fun as ever. Value is also great, the PC version is cheaper then most games. Thirty dollars is well worth spending on this game!

related links: demo, cheats, trainer +2, unlocker, FlatOut 2 CDROM.

Minimum requirements: 2.0 GHz Pentium 4 or AMD 2000+, 256 MB RAM, 64 MB Graphics Card, DirectX Compatible Sound Card, DVD-ROM Drive, 3.5 GB of free Hard Drive Space, Windows XP SP2 or Windows 2000 SP4, Internet Play - Broadband required - 512kbs connection minimum, LAN Play - TCP/IP required

* On-board/integrated graphics cards and laptops not supported, Supported Graphics Chipsets: nVidia GeForce FX 5 series, GeForce 6 series, GeForce 7 series, ATI Radeon 9600 pro and above, Radeon X200 series, Radeon X300 series, Radeon X550 series, Radeon X600 series, Radeon X700 series, Radeon X800 series, Radeon X850 series, Radeon X1300 series, Radeon X1600 series, Radeon X1800 series, Radeon X1900 series

snd: 5/5 - excellent, great soundtrack (Audioslave, Megadeth, Mtley Crem, Nickelback, Papa Roach, Papa Roach, Rob Zombie, Zebrahead)
gfx: 5/5 - impressive - big enhancement from its predecessor, cars are wildly destructible, improved physics engine
playability: 5/5 - amazingly addictive, improved career mode, solid AI, hugely entertaining multiplayer mode
genre: arcade racing
platform: PC (also available on PS2/Xbox)
release: August 2006
developer: Bugbear Entertainment
publisher: VU Games
Overall: 88%

last 10 comments:

djRom(12:17 PM EDT - Sep,10 2006 )
This game is just pure fun! Multiplayer is loads of fun too! ^-^

And at 30$ its a steal!

darknothing(01:49 PM EDT - Sep,10 2006 )
yea its just a great game its sooo dam fun.

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