FlatOut 2

a game by Bugbear Entertainment
Genres: Action, Racing
Platforms: Playstation 2, PC
Editor Rating: 7.5/10, based on 1 review, 4 reviews are shown
User Rating: 10.0/10 - 4 votes
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See also: FlatOut Series
FlatOut 2
FlatOut 2
FlatOut 2
FlatOut 2

There Are A Few jobs in this world that really plumb the depths of humanity: being David Hasselhoff's stylist, overseeing the live coverage from the Big Brother house and being a crash test dummy. The last is normally only carried out by humanoid dummies packed full of highly advanced technology and bits of pigs' guts, but FlatOut 2 mixes things up a bit by putting you into the role instead. Featuring a selection of impossibly beautiful opposition drivers for you to test your skills against, the creators have tried their best to improve upon an already successful formula by upping the ante with more tracks, more cars and plenty more roadside decoration to demolish.

Crash And Burn

Set off round the track and you instantly notice that the skittish, rally-style handling of the original is still very much in effect, encouraging you to slide around comers and occasionally causing wild spin-offs and a frantic scrabble at the controls to get your car back under control. This time though, you're not just restricted to muscle cars, with trucks. compacts and sports cars also providing welcome additions to your garage.

Nitro is gained during races from jumping, shunting your opponents and smashing your way through any destructible scenery that litters the track. In addition, the physics on show are impressive (although they verge more on humour than realism) - fences fly, bridges tumble, walls collapse and barrels and debris are thrown across the screen. However, as the quantity of destructible debris decreases, you have to rely more on physical contact to get those last essential bits of boost Here, you need to strike a balance between not sending your car to the scrapyard, gaining more nitro and staying as close to the front as possible in order to get that first place and the cash.

Shunting the other cars around mid-race is also hugely satisfying, although sometimes you find yourself having nudged a rival, only to get them stuck sideways on your front bumper, killing your own speed and making it extremely hard to shake them off. Thankfully, this time round your driver is a lot harder to eject through your own windscreen than before, with this only really happening at high-speed impacts with solid walls - quite understandable really.

To start off with, the levels are pretty varied and will see you racing your way through urban streets, along dry canals, over farmland and through desert, all complete with plenty of short-cuts and alternative routes. However, you soon notice that the tracks on offer are just variations along several themes, and once you've completed the derby level, you may start to find the level design repetitive, although you do get rewarded with extra levels depending on which tier you're driving in. By far the most fun of these are the derby events, in which the aim is to keep your vehicle in one piece while taking out rivals with the vehicular equivalent of wrestling moves, with the later introduction of special stages and oval racing feeling rather staid and boring in comparison.

Twist And Shout

Besides the racing, FlatOut displays the same sick humour as the original in its mini-games. This time around, the twisted minds at Bugbear have come up with an impressive total of 12 mini-games, in which you compete by making your driver exit the car through the windscreen. The games on offer vary from high jump through curling to baseball, and although everyone's bound to have their own favourites, stone skipping's a particularly ingenious example of just what fun can be had when you combine a body and some ragdoll physics.

It's all a bit trickier than last time on this front though, meaning that it'll take some practice before you even have a clue what you're doing, let alone nail down the technique. Although this is no doubt intended to add longevity, not everyone's going to have the patience to get through the initial learning curve.

Smash And Grab

In short then, despite the inherent fun of the game, the racing starts to lose its appeal after a while; the main reason you'll still be playing this in six months time will be to challenge a group of mates to a driverflinging competition in the excellent party mode. The larger number of tracks, cars and mini-games feel like only relatively minor improvements over the original and the whole thing ends up feeling like more of an expansion than the next evolution. Hardly a bad thing considering the original's success, but maybe notquite the smash hit that we'd hoped for.

Download FlatOut 2

Playstation 2

System requirements:

  • PC compatible
  • Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP

PC

System requirements:

  • PC compatible
  • Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP

Game Reviews

If There Was ever a game that evoked the bygone spirit of Destruction Derby, then it's FlatOut 2 - the only game to accurately model real drivers flying through real windscreens (with perhaps an ounce of gravitational artistic licence). With AI far improved on the original's fastidious circuit-makers and what amounts to an extra number of physics items that equals the number of tennis balls memorably driven into and made to bounce around in largely forgotten early-'90s family comedy Problem Child, then we've clearly got something to look forward to.

The Bigger Picture

  • Cars Crashing

Here's a picture of some cars crashing. Note how one car has rammed into another, and how it's all been a bit mangled.

  • Cars Racing

Crumbs. We're writing about a sodding car game again. How do we do this week in and week out? It's like Chinese feckin' water torture this.

  • Cars Doing... Stuff...

Man, how many times can you write about someone getting flung through a windscreen? Sometimes you just feel like ending it all don't you? What would god do in this situation?

  • Revelations 9:5

And to them it was given that they should not kill them, but that they should be tormented for five months: and their torment was as the torment of a scorpion, when he striketh a man.

  • Revelations 9:6

And in those days shall men seek death, and shall not find it; and shall desire to die. and death shall flee from them.

  • Revelations 9:7

And the shapes of the locusts were like unto horses prepared unto battle; and on their heads were as it were crowns like gold, and their faces were as the faces of men.

  • Revelations 9:8-9

And they had hair as the hair of women, and their teeth were as the teeth of lions. And they had breastplates, as it were breastplates of iron; and the sound of their wings was as the sound of chariots of many horses running to battle.

  • Cars Crashing

Here's a picture of some cars crashing. Note how one car has rammed into another, and how it's all been a bit mangled.

You Know Those adverts where it looks like the men are sitting in the pub having a nice pint of lager? And then it turns out, through some twist of metaphor, that they're not in the pub after all - or rather they are, but they just hit a woman (who just stepped in front of their table without looking both ways), and now she's dead with her arm pointing the wrong way? If you saw that advert and thought, 'I wonder how far she'd have gone if that table was going ten times faster', then stop. First, you need to work on your empathy; second, you probably loved the original FlatOut.

Unsurprisingly in FlatOut 2, developer Bugbear has been upping the destruction quotient - where once there were a mere 3,000 objects to muck up, twat about and smash to bits per level, now there are 5,000. That means there are 67 per cent more things to drive into - as an important statistic, that belongs up there with 'over half of the last 10 per cent of a can of Coke is your own saliva'.

The AI has been improved, too -now, instead of all the non-player cars following the same standard routes, there'll be seven distinct AI drivers to worry about - and all with different personalities and characteristics. If my experience is anything to go by, this will amount to an aggressive Texan guy who goes fast and laughs, a German who takes corners efficiently, a sassy girl in short shorts who playfully drives into your arse, an Englishman who always loses, and... Erm... Grumpy, Sneezy and Doc. That could be wrong though.

Look At Him Go!

Then, there's the important smashing-your-driver-through-the-windscreen side of FlatOut the ragdoll sports. The little fella will pop out of your car a little less during racing proper, as it did get a bit annoying after a while, but he'll be in and out like nobody's business in the mini-games.

If you love watching double-jointed men with no facial expressions being catapulted into a lake - and let's face it, we're not generally catered for, as a group - then this is your game.

Not All Hay

The tracks still include the rural off-road style, but the sequel -thankfully - has more variety. Town tracks give some respite from the dirt, dust and bales of hay, and the design rewards experienced players with manifold short cuts and alternative routes.

The original FlatOut was great, destructive fun, and carved out a comfy little niche for itself with the unique use of physics. If Bugbear really has taken it one step further, and addressed the wee niggles of the first (the fairly boring AI, and the lack of longevity in most of the minigames), then the sequel promises to be, wait for it... Even carbu-better. Hey it was either that or wheelie good'. Be grateful for what you got.

People say:

7

FlatOut 2 is pretty much like the first FlatOut, which was pretty much like a poor man's backwoods Burnout. Nudging a fellow jalopy into a tree is kind of fun (although the driver's scream as he or she flies through the windshield is disconcerting), but smashing old fridges and other junk in order to build up your nitro is just stupid. Really, who thought that running over garbage was enough fun to be a core mechanic in a racing game? And why is it that some of the detritus littering FlatOut :s mostly dirt roads will send you cartwheeling off the track? Ah, so that's why the Reset Car button is one of the primary face buttons you'll end up using it multiple times in every race, as you nudge a guardrail and find yourself stuck or bote h a jump and end up on your roof. Online racing works fine the minigames (based around ejecting your driver through the windshield and into targets, bowling pins, etc.) can be a nightmare, though, as you wait for up to eight people to take their turns. It ain't worth it.

4

Good thing the developers wised up and made all of Flat0ut2 's minigames playable from the onset crazy stunts such as launching your rag-doll driver through rings of fire (cue that Johnny Cash tune) remain the only reasor ito get behind this franchise's wheel. Yep, this sequel's conventional races whether you're fishtailing on muddy backcountry roads or burning rubber on those new city streets are just as worthless as the original's. Poor handling and ridiculously skilled A.I. drivers make a repeat performance here, as does that whole ass-back-ward gameplay mechanic of plowing into stuff around the track (which slows you down or causes you to wreck) in order to earn nitro boosts. Seriously, why deal with these speed bumps when you've got so many high-quality racing alternatives?

6

Though I liked the game a little more than these guys did, I gotta agree with them: Much of the proper" racing in FlatOut2 is like a grungier, jalopy-filled ghetto take on Burnout. The crashes are spectacular, the sense of speed remarkably convincing, and the feel of sliding a crappy car sideways through the dirt suitably visceral. Sadly, it's not exactly jam-packed with originality, and while the rag-doll stunts that proved so popular in the first game are now modeled on stuff like ski jumping and basketball, they still involve little more than just driving in a straight line, holding down a button for the right amount of time, and then hoping for the best. It's a post-night out, guys-passing-around-the-controller time killer at best, albeit a reasonably well-executed one.

Snapshots and Media

Playstation 2 Screenshots

PC Screenshots

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