There’s just something really fun about wrecking cars, which is probably why FlatOut is deserving enough to warrant a sequel. A mixture of racing, demolition derby and a slew of mini-games combine to make FlatOut 2 one of the most fun racing games in recent memory. It may not get the same attention that some of the other high profile racing games get, but it’s just as entertaining, if not more than those. If you doubt my word then you should probably finish reading this review to see just why.
FlatOut 2 looks truly impressive on the PS2. It’s really a tribute to the developers to see what sort of magic they could achieve towards the end of the system’s life cycle. The cars are extremely detailed and it seems as though every portion of them is destructible, so you’ll see pieces hanging off your car after collisions during the race. As a matter of fact nearly everything you see is destructible, you’ll crash into light posts, through farm houses, and even drive through portions of buildings. All that and the game can have seven other racers, maintain a smooth framerate, and have explosions galore. You’ll find yourself similarly impressed with the graphics once you see it in action.
Much like other racing games, FlatOut 2 features a soundtrack with a bunch of up and coming alternative rock groups along with a couple of established groups to anchor the soundtrack down. The music fits the frantic pace of the game pretty well, but if you’re not into rock then you’re probably not going to be a happy panda bear. The sound effects also help to add to the feel of the game. Collisions at over 100 miles per hour have rarely sounded better. Explosions occur with frequency and in surround sound rivals that of your blockbuster Hollywood action movies. It’s not exactly the biggest and most varied selection of music, but it’s just going to have to do for you.
As far as the gameplay goes, for the most part it’s straightforward race action. Control is arcade-like and power sliding is crucial to your success. In derby mode you’ve got to pick and choose your spots because timing is critical to running into your opponent with maximum impact. The mini-games really center around driving fast and ejecting the driver to do something â€œextremeâ€ like bowl over some pins, fly through flaming hoops, or similar. And throughout it all the controls stay tight and the game never gets overly complex, after all it is an arcade style racing game not a simulator. The best part is that the game stays fun throughout, never getting too far away from their original intention of being a fast and frantic racer with huge collisions and explosions.
If you’ve got the desire to do so, you can play some FlatOut 2 online (broadband only, 6-players maximum) or if you’re not online you can play 2-player split screen or up to 8-players alternating in the mini-games. While playing online is very hit or miss, especially on the PS2, it’s definitely an option because FlatOut 2 is the perfect type of game for trash talking. Splitscreen isn’t as fun, (when is it these days?) but it’s still a viable option.
If there could be one thing I could nitpick on about FlatOut 2 it would have to be the save times. Oddly enough the load times are acceptable, but because the game has an auto-save feature you spend a rather lengthy amount of time saving and sometimes that lasts longer than the actual loads. It’s odd and really only a minor issue, but it arises and can be rather annoying. The other thing is collision detection; as solid as it is sometimes it’s really weird. You get caught on things such as trees or other objects that will delay your progress, however, the developers managed a work around that as you can press the triangle to get you back on the track with a running start. Things could be worse. Through it all, FlatOut 2 could have featured a larger and more varied soundtrack, some more short cuts on the tracks, and maybe even some more cars, but overall it’s a great game for racing fans.
Anyone who’s driven for a few years probably has some built up road rage and if that’s the case for you then FlatOut 2 is the perfect game to let out those desires in a virtual setting. There’s just something extremely fun about wrecking into other cars, or forcing them off the road into trees at 100 miles per hour. In short if that sounds exciting to you then I hereby give the stamp of approval to purchase this game.
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