06 Sep, 2006

FlatOut 2 Review

PS2 Review | Because going slow just isn't as exciting.
Flat Out 2 is the sequel to Flat Out, which was released just under two years ago for the Xbox and PlayStation 2. We were big fans of the first game because Bugbear managed to develop a title that didn’t take itself too seriously, but was a lot of fun in both single player and multiplayer. Flat Out 2 is more of the same, but with more of everything including mini games, cars and tracks but is the game play still fun or are we tired of more of the same?

As soon as you jump into Flat Out 2 the first thing that catches your eye is the career mode. The career mode is broken up into different events, ranging from race events through to mini game events. By winning each event you get money which can be used to upgrade and purchase faster vehicles, so whilst you’ll start off with a car that looks like it is forty years old, you’ll eventually work your way up to more powerful vehicles and even novelty vehicles like buses. The career mode uses a branching system so you don’t need to complete every race or event to progress. Alternatively, if you’ve only got a couple of minutes to cause as much carnage as possible then you can choose a single race, event or derby.

Fancy a ride?

Fancy a ride?
The mini games (which were oh so fun) from the original Flat Out are back and Bugbear have even expanded on the number of them. There are now a dozen mini games included and you can play them straight away. They include high jump (which makes a return), bowling, ski jump, curling, stone-skipping, ring of fire, field goal, royal flush, basketball, darts, baseball and soccer. The mini games are a lot of fun although the tutorial is essential for all of them. My personal favourite is soccer, whereas I wasn’t too keen on the stone-skipping mini game. For the most part though the mini games should keep you entertained for a while considering there is such a diverse range of them.

Online multiplayer has also made it into Flat Out 2, this is actually one of the biggest additions to the game. Unfortunately there weren’t all that many people in the lobbies on the PlayStation 2 version, but once you do get a game underway you can play any of the offline modes in multiplayer including all of the mini games. It’s a shame finding people online to race isn’t all that easy otherwise this could be a thoroughly enjoyable online game, especially considering we had no issues launching a game once we found somebody.

The physics system has been improved since the original Flat Out but unfortunately the handling of the cars still takes a little bit of getting used to. The cars don't really feel like they've got any weight behind them, so you need to be prepared for the cars to spin out, which is a little bit annoying but it can result in some massive crashes. The crashes aren’t always a bad thing though and they can look rather amazing as you see debris fly all over the place as your car deforms into nothing more than a scrap piece of metal. If you get into a large enough crash then your driver will fly out of the window again, although this doesn’t happen as much as it did in the original Flat Out. The AI is a little bit disappointing at times, as it can be a little inconsistent. This means that any given race may be overly difficult or overly easy.

Technically the game is very impressive.

Technically the game is very impressive.
Visually the game looks very impressive considering it is running on the PlayStation 2. The frame rate stays at about 30 frames per second. When things become a little bit chaotic there are some frame rate issues, although this doesn’t happen enough to detract from the overall enjoyability of the game. The tracks themselves look really good as there is a decent amount of variety in all of them. The cars all have a unique look as well. Impressively, just about everything in the environment can be crashed into and moved, so you need to keep an eye out because it’s possible that a giant crate or rock is just around the corner.

Personally, I really enjoyed the soundtrack which includes a rock theme. As such, artists like Nickelback, Megadeth, Alkaline Trio and Audioslave all feature on the soundtrack. Whether or not you like the audio is going to come down to personal preference, but it does fit the style of the game well, even if the music does become a little repetitive. The sound effects in the game are pretty good as well, with each vehicle having a different sounding engine noise. When you crash into something it sounds like you’re causing a lot of destruction too, which is very satisfying. Xbox owners will be disappointed to discover that custom soundtracks aren’t supported, which seems a little bit illogical.

Completing the career mode in it’s entirety will take about ten hours, although there is still plenty to do after you’ve completed the career mode. The multiplayer is really addictive if you can find people online to race. The mini games don’t have much depth at all, but it’s possible you’ll return to them every now and then.

Hmm destruction...

Hmm destruction...
Flat Out 2 doesn’t reinvent the wheel (or the brakes for that matter), it gives you more tracks, cars and mini games. The mayhem is just amazing at times and the amount of fun you can have with this game in single player and multiplayer makes Flat Out 2 one of the best arcade racers in recent times. If you’re one of those people who miss the days of Destruction Derby then Flat Out 2 fills the void entirely. The handling is a little floaty and the game hasn’t really evolved, but when you’re having fun you’re unlikely to care all that much at all.
The Score
You're basically getting more of what was in the previous title with more tracks, cars and mini games making it into this title as well as online play. If you're after an arcade title that lets you completely deform your vehicle then you can't go past Flat Out 2. 7
Looking to buy this game right now? PALGN recommends www.Play-Asia.com.

Related FlatOut 2 Content

New Flatout 2 images released
03 Jun, 2006 Looking good.
Flat Out 2 announced
18 Feb, 2006 With even more carnage promised.
New Flatout 2 images released
03 Jun, 2006 Looking good.
7 years ago
the first game was great fun. i might need to look into tracking down this sequel.
7 years ago
That stupid Sally taylor thing takes up alot of real-estate
7 years ago
Jibbs wrote
That stupid Sally taylor thing takes up alot of real-estate
Yeah but it isn't always there, just when you're ramming an oppoonant in the destruction derby, plus it's good to know how much health someones car has.
7 years ago
It doesnt take up huge amounts, and is this game only on PS2, or is it on other platforms as well. Might look into getting it.

POST 100!!!!!!!!!!!!
It took me around a month and a half.
7 years ago
PS2 and Xbox, Echo.
7 years ago
I remember reading somewhere that a version for the 360 might be in the works? Any know if theres truth to that?
7 years ago
A 360 version does appear to be in the pipeline, but i assume it will be a few months before the version is officially confirmed.
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