First impression on unpacking the Q702 test unit was the solid feel and clean, minimalist styling.
Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment FlatOut: Ultimate Carnage
- You can destroy anything and everything, beautiful scenery
- Computer-controlled competitors are excessively aggressive and unforgiving
As long as you don't break your controller in the process, there's a lot of enjoyment to be had from Ultimate Carnage. Get past the frustrating difficulty and you'll find a beautiful, rewarding game that is easily the best yet in the series.
Price$ 89.95 (AUD)
Buy now (Selling at 5 stores)
Forget prim and proper race lines, slick paint jobs, and gyrating women -- FlatOut: Ultimate Carnage has just barrelled in and dragged them through the mud.
This gorgeous crash-and-bash racer dishes out plenty of action-packed gameplay, but it sadly isn't quite good enough to reach pole position.
Anything to win
It certainly comes close, though, delivering more than its share of adrenaline-pumping races. Ultimate Carnage plays like a honky-tonk version of Burnout, giving you free reign to destroy anything and everything on your way to the finish line. A lengthy set of circuit races in FlatOut mode serve as the main course, with a smattering of random events and mini-games providing a nice accompaniment, and online play for up to eight filling in as dessert.
On looks alone, Ultimate Carnage could easily take top prize as you tear across farmland at a hundred miles per hour, cut through wooden fencing and junkyard piles, all while slamming into the competition. It's a beautiful sight, indeed. From urban speed traps, to mountain bypasses, to destruction derby arenas -- everything looks phenomenal and runs smoothly without a single hitch.
What ultimately stalls the experience is an excessive level of difficulty. Computer-controlled competitors are aggressive and unforgiving, quick to leave you in the dust if you don't bring your A-game. This makes Ultimate Carnage extremely challenging and frequently frustrating. If you haven't made your way to the front of the pack within the first minute of a race, you're hard-pressed to win the event. It isn't uncommon to restart a race because a small mistake near the end of a race can drop you from first to last place in a heartbeat. Point-based events are thankfully more forgiving, as are online matches.
A series of quirky mini-games join the mix of events, offering a distraction from high-octane races and crash-tastic demolition derbies. All of the mini-games involve launching a rag doll driver through the windshield of your car by gaining as much speed as possible and then braking suddenly. Your objective differs from game to game, such as aiming for maximum altitude in high jump or knocking down pins in bowling. The hilarity isn't enough to counter the ridiculous hard nature of the mini-games, which honestly could justify chucking a controller across the room.
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