SPOnG spent some time checking out FlatOut Ultimate Carnage
over at Empire Interactive?s north London offices and studio recently and we can very gladly report that we were more than a little bit pleasantly surprised by the game we saw and played.
The first two outings in the FlatOut
series have been decent ?destruct-O-racers? in their own right and it?s fair to say that they have been good, solid games, which have appealed to fans of games that involved virtually smashing up cars. Basically, they did pretty much what they claimed on the box ? deliver a smash-tastic arcade driving experience that involved lots of skidding about, crashing into both the other cars and the destructible buildings dotted around the tracks and, most satisfyingly of all, flinging your ragdoll driver out through the windscreen in a range of hilarious mini-games (ragdoll bowling, ragdoll darts and so on).
However, it?s also fair to say that those first two games hardly set the gaming world alight. While garnering decent-enough review scores and selling fairly well (the first one has already notched up over a million sales worldwide) they never quite appealed to those legions of casual gaming fans, who seem (via the power of multi-million dollar marketing) much more inclined to plump for a better known quantities' in the shape of Burnout
or Need for Speed
So, the good news, certainly for Empire, is that this could all change for the better following release of FlatOut Ultimate Carnage
, an Xbox 360 exclusive due for release in the UK later in June. Why? Simply because this latest FlatOut
wrecking ball shines brightly, where its predecessors merely ticked all the boxes on the Finnish developer?s sheets marked ?cars ?n? carnage ?n? redneck racing mayhem?.
With little in the way of messing about, I dived straight into a game, racing eleven other AI cars around disused Los Angeles canal track littered with debris, where it very quickly becomes clear just how much the guys at Helsinki-based developer Bugbear have improved upon FlatOut 2
Firstly, that game only allowed for a maximum of eight cars battling it out on screen at any one time. Here there?s an impressive pack of twelve snarling metal monsters ready to do battle.
Secondly, the lush high definition graphics in Ultimate Carnage
really impressed me the second I started careering into the crazy bastards in that fateful canal. These will no doubt be a result of the four-fold increase in polygons and the new texture maps and the other stuff the game?s producer was telling me about while I was too busy ramming into subway entrances.
Every track in the game also features an amazing 8,000 fully deformable objects for you to run-over and smash the hell out of: tyre stacks you can scatter across the track, cardboard boxes, lampposts inviting you to destroy them - so you can smash to smithereens pretty much anything and everything you see on and around the track. Which is of course immediately what I took great pleasure in doing when I first picked up the controller.