FlatOut Head On ReviewJason Leyanna
After three console games in this series, here comes a handheld version specifically made for the PSP. FlatOut Head On is familiar to me and is basically FlatOut 2, but on the PSP instead. Three types of racing for the career mode exist: Derby, Race, and Street. There are different types of cars available for each type of racing mode. Packed along with that are 12 mini-games where you hurl your driver through the windshield and into the air. Additionally, there is Carnage mode which features 36 different challenges to complete.
The options for controlling the vehicle are either the control stick or the control pad. Since the controls have to be precise, I find it easier using the control pad of the PSP. On the console versions of the game I’m used to using the control stick. The handling is harder on the handheld version than that of the consoles, which is a little irritating. The game still remains fun but not as much so as its console counterpart. The mini-games still don’t appeal to me, but the other modes are good fun. The races are entertaining; racing to try to get the fastest score and come in first place while destroying beautiful environmental elements and other cars in the race. There is also multiplayer gameplay available via Wireless LAN.
One of the features of this series that really comes in handy is the reset button. Say, if you run right into a tree head on and you are stuck, you can just press the triangle button, and you will be back on the path and not be completely out of the race. This allows for a chance to catch up that you otherwise wouldn’t get. You also have NOS that you accumulate and can use with the right trigger button. You accumulate the Nitro by smashing into objects and other vehicles, as well as, staying in the air as long as possible. The X button is your acceleration and is easy enough to use.
Upgrades are available for the cars, or new cars may be purchased if you’ve earned enough money because of your races. The body, engine, exhaust, gearbox, suspension, breaks and tires can be upgraded.
The locales vary from city streets to wooded areas. There is visible destruction to the vehicles. Your hood might fly up, temporarily impeding your view of the road ahead, if you sustain enough damage. The water doesn’t look quite as realistic as the console versions, but just about everything else looks nice and crisp to the eye. You get extra points for smashing into other vehicles. You even get a bonus if you take out another driver completely by wrecking their car.
The music was not as familiar this time around as in FlatOut 2. There are more up-and-coming artists on this track. So that’s good if you want to get a taste of something new, but not as appealing if you want to hear more stuff similar to what your local rock radio station would have.
FlatOut Head On is a fun game to take with you when you’re on the move, but I’d still take the console version’s controls over the PSP version’s any day.
Disclosure: We are provided copies of games from the game companies for some games that we review.