FlatOut Ultimate Carnage Review
There are racing games and there are racing games. Games where you simply race around the track to be the best and racing games where you aim to win, but at the same time, cause as much damage as possible. FlatOut Ultimate Carnage falls into the second category, offering a decent dose of fast paced racing action along with mass vehicle and environment destruction. Let it be noted though, this can be considered a PC port of the multi-format release FlatOut 2 so if you’ve played that to death on the console then you know what to expect, albeit with a few tweaks.
The main goal of the game is to work through all the race challenges in Career Mode and attempt to rank third or higher in the races to earn cash and soup up that vehicle to something a little more powerful. Perhaps those new parts can speed up your vehicle or, even better, go for that vehicle upgrade. This is no technical racer though, it’s an arcade game at heart so upgrades can seem superficial but give you a slight edge.
The game is split into two sections, Carnage Mode and Race Mode. Carnage Mode offers up a number of challenges on a variety of skills such as beat the bomb which involves reaching a checkpoint before your car explodes, destruction derby races and stunts. This mixes things up a little and offers more than simple track racing.
The other mode is the Race Mode which is straight racing against others and coming in the top three brings the bonuses of cash and vehicle upgrades. Race Mode is where most of your time will be spent initially and, as far as I’m concerned, where the most fun is to be had. The racing is brutal and there are some really challenging and tasty tracks to get to grips with. This game can get difficult.
Graphically this game is probably one of the better looking racers out there, and to really appreciate this game a decent PC is the order of the day. The debris fairly gets flying after the first lap of a circuit, littering the tracks, which subsequently causes all sorts of scattered obstacles in across the track. Of course there are objects such as trees that don’t fall over on a good bashing and these are the obstacles to avoid at all costs and can be a killer when you’re going for that new top lap time.
An area of the game that may appeal to racing fans are the mini-games and stunts. There is a whole section dedicated to stunts so if jumping through flaming hoops or playing ten-pin with your car appeals then FlatOut Ultimate Carnage could be just the ticket. Being such a destructible game, there’s also a demolition derby mode which offers different arena locations with the sole purpose of smashing up your opponents and wrecking their cars to take them out of the competition. The mini-games are fun but they do have limited appeal.
It has to be said that the vehicle handling is not bad but it’s no Colin McRae, the movement can feel a little clunky at times but you have to remember this is not a sim, it’s an arcade racer. Flick through the variety of view options, find one you like to make the movement ‘feel’ more intuitive and it makes the game a lot more palatable. The vehicle handling does raise the issue of difficulty and this game will tax your skills as you progress, it does get tough.
So how does it look? The terrain, vehicles and locations all look great, so yes it’s cracking looking game but you do need a ninja PC to get the most out of it. The physics on some of the destructible objects is reasonably decent but you do get some really odd things happening that would obviously not stick in the real world, like a round tube rolling around on the front of your bonnet for a whole lap, but this is a game after all right?
Sound wise the game is pretty unspectacular and an area that really got on my nerves was the music. In an uninspired move some suitably bland, what can best be described as teen-rock, is the musical accompaniment. Now if only there was some AC/DC or Motorhead blasting out the speakers as you smash the crap out of everything then it would be spot-on. Music was boring and quite annoying.
No half decent racing game would be complete without some sort of multiplayer option and there’s an 8 player mode via the Games for Windows LIVE service. No split screen mode for PC gamers but there is a mini-game party mode and, of course, the variety of race options that we see in the single player.
FlatOut Ultimate Carnage does what it says on the tin, it offers road carnage with some super-smash-up racing while bringing the speed that any racing adrenaline junkie will appreciate. Just turn off the music, forget this is a remake on the PC, don’t be disheartened by difficulty, put on a decent CD and you’re all set for some racing fun.