FlatOut 2 ReviewJason Leyanna
When I first picked up FlatOut 2 and played it, I was somewhat reminded of an old game I used to play at the arcade. Cruisn' USA came out at the arcades, back in 1994. Though not the best conversion, Cruisn' USA was ported to the Nintendo 64 two years later. Since then, the console games have come a long way and the arcades are all but a dead industry. The multi-player and online gameplay have attempted to make up for what the arcades had. Now - on to the game at hand.
Players will start out with 5,000 credits, which are used as cash. With the initial sum you can purchase your first derby car and move up from there. Once you have amassed more money, you will eventually be able to buy new cars to add to your garage. There are three different classes: derby, race, and street. Vehicles in FlatOut 2 have varying top speeds: acceleration, handling, strength, weight, and nitro boosts. You can pick the one that’s right for you. The competition can be brutal; they will attempt to take out your vehicle, run you off the road or into a tree. Thankfully you can also do the same to your opponents. The 'Wrecked' bonus can be attained, should you happen to completely take out an opponent’s vehicle during the race.
Crashing into objects and other cars is an integral part of FlatOut 2. In the racing modes you try to win the race as well as try to take out your opponents in various ways. There are lots of destructible items along the way in FlatOut 2, and unlike Cruisn' USA, if you run into a good - sized tree at full speed, you will crash and your character probably will fly through the windshield. (In Cruisn' you'd just flatten the tree and keep on going.
Right off the bat, the soundtrack will be noticed. I must say that it is a good selection of predominantly rock music. Artists include Nickelback, Wolfmother, Alkaline Trio, Fall Out Boy, and Yellowcard. The selection of 25 tracks is sufficient and adds nicely to the game. I turned the music up, but should you happen to dislike the music, the volume can be adjusted to suit your liking.
It takes a little time to get used to the controls and each specific track, before you get good at them. The handling of the vehicles can be a little challenging when trying to get around the sharp curves. I'ts usually good not to move the control stick too far when turning the vehicle so as not to make it move sharply and also not to make it hard to get it back driving straight again. FlatOut 2 doesn't quite have the speed that some racing games have.
There is a lot of possible damage that can be done to the vehicle, and it shows! It is not uncommon for the hood of the car to fly up and then eventually off. When your car flips, miraculously the vehicle will usually end up with it's wheels on the ground. In most instances you can just start up driving and be on your way to try to get back into the race. Should you get off course or run into a tree, you can press the Y button and you will be placed back on track with a rolling start. You will also be impervious to any vehicles or objects in your immediate path for a couple seconds. I found myself using the Y button on a regular basis, as it proved to get me back in the race better. Rag doll effects are used when you hit a tree and your driver goes flying, and you are rewarded with a little nitro to make up for it.
Graphically, the game looks nice, has visually pleasing backgrounds, sunsets, and lush environments. There was good attention given to detail. The lighting effects and shadows from the sun are nice. The road itself looks like it has some character, too. Deplorably, the water in the trenches and the rivers doesn't look as realistic as I would have hoped. I recall one level that had an oil slick at one sharp corner; it’s just one of the aspects to be aware of. You can change your view on the fly by pressing the black button. It can be as if you were just seeing thrugh the windshield without seeing any part of the car. You can zoom out and see an aerial view of the car you are controlling. Additionally, you can zoom out even farther if you wish.
Some crazy mini-games are included, where you drive, then hurl your driver thrugh the windshield. To me it would have seemed more intuitive to press the A button twice to fling out the driver instead of having to hold the A button and then release it when you are ready to launch the driver. I didn’t get all that into these particular mini-games. There is also a destruction derby mode.
By and large, FlatOut 2 is a good solid racing game. If you liked the first, you’ll definitely enjoy the sequel.
Disclosure: We are provided copies of games from the game companies for some games that we review.