FlatOut 2 - PS2

How many of you have started playing the alleged latest, greatest, most realistic car racing title out there, and after a half hour of play, spun around 180 degrees and decided to plough head on into the fellow racer traffic? Admit it, we’ve all done it at one time or another.

So it’s nice that the odd developer has seen fit to give us titles specifically created to let us live out these odd little carnage filled desires and even reward us for our brutality.

Titles such as that early PlayStation classic Destruction Derby (and it’s vastly superior sequel) come up for particular praise.

But one slightly lesser known current generation title - which perhaps most of you reading this never got the chance to play – by the name of FlatOut brought the genre bang up to date, particularly with brutal mini games that forced you to fling your chosen driver through the windshield, usually for as big a distance as you could possibly manage.

After the original FlatOut’s mainly warm reception from the critics, developers Bugbear Entertainment have set about to make everything bigger, better and more exciting, rather than make any wild changes.

As you bomb around each track, your racing compatriots will have no qualms about bashing you off the road and into a conveniently placed stanchion. The best way to get them back? Smash right back into them of course.

But it’s not just your fellow racers that are up for smashing. Oh no, trackside objects are fully deformable and stay where they fall for the entirety of the race.

For example, crash into a set of tree trunks by the side of the track, and the racers behind you will do very well to avoid the tumbling bark onslaught, leaving them lagging well behind as you make a speedy getaway.

This wouldn’t be any fun of course if the handling didn’t feel enjoyable enough, or sufficiently intuitive. Thankfully it combines a sublime realistic tone, but allowing enough scope to make wild loose handbrake turns.

It can take a while to get to grips with however, particularly if you’re playing this straight after the likes of Project Gotham Racing 3.

The graphics have been given a huge dollop of Turtle Wax compared last year’s prequel and there are twice as many tracks and cars compared with last time around.

The tracks themselves are much more open plan than Burnout’s tight narrow causeways and allow you scope to discover your own secret time saving routes through sections of each track.

Verdict

Although it’s pretty much the first title with a much smarter paintjob, it’s difficult to not recommend FlatOut 2. The driving model might not be to everyone’s tastes and the opposition AI can be a touch too aggressive.

It’s still an enjoyable romp though and satisfies our lust for car-based carnage well enough.

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