FlatOut3 surprised me like no other racing game did before: In a good manner!
First of all, my background. I have played every major racing game there is, including all NFS games (yes, all), all Burnouts, all codemasters racing games (grid, colin, f1 etc), forza, PGR, midnightclub series, even enjoyed both Juiced games and loads of unnamed, unknown racing games. So you can say i'm experienced in racing games, and i'm very picky when it comes to racing games. A perfect game for me is very challenging, keeps me entertained all of the time (that's where all other games fail), has good visuals, and it should feel like the developers really cared for the game. I don't care for crap games that have insanely expensive trailers (i always skip them), a flashy cool menu but deadslow, boring gameplay what they label as 'simulation' or such crap. So my standards are high, for i complain even about forza (where's the speed?), gran turismo (marketing fake with their few "premium" cars..), SplitSecond (promising destruction and interactive surrounding, but offering hardly something), NFS (always feels more or less the same, whatever they try), burnout (so fake/arcade, but still so much fun), etc. I only explain this so you know i'm not easy to satisfy when it comes to racing games. I was always looking for the one game that i really -really- liked.
And here's the funny part. I like FlatOut3!!! I really really really REALLY like it! I want to play again, and again, and again and find something new everytime i start it. For some reason, it doesn't bore me. It's fun. Ok, some bugs are really annoying but in general it's an way too much underestimated but VERY cool racing title. Their publisher does not seem to realize what kind of gold they are handing in their hands! They should have spent millions and zillions into marketing so the reactions they now face were entusiastic, not 'i kill team6 for breakfast' kind of stuff. If you love racing games, like me, it's a MUST to try out. There is so much difference in the whole game, it seems like Team6 is trying to please just about everyone: indy500, monstertrucks, destructionderby, racing, rally, drifting, streetracing, ALL is in there. And i even like that crazy stuntman thing they've got going on too. I know it's not bigbudget, but somehow it's all.. adorable. Touching, without the budget. Perfect, in it's ownw ay.
What made me buy the game.
Seeing through the crappy trailers (wtf.. lensflare?) i saw something different than other racegames, there was something appealing to it (can't define what it was exactly: those videos are made real cheap, and this reflects badly on the game!) and i decided to try it out. Not willing to spend the 5$ steam super offer something on FO2UC in the past, i found myselves prepared to spend 30$ on FO3 without having read any reviews of the game. Perhaps they've put a spell on the game, i don't know. But i bought it without my usual playing of the demo, without me having done the usual research. I did check out the developers website though. Didn't look expensive neither (as if made in one day, actually) but just like the video, it kept me hungry because i sensed there was more. I pity the developers since they won't sell much this way: there's not a single, honoust review to be found on the internet, anywhere. The bashing on youtube is just terrible and so underserved. Metacritic, as always, also is crap. But that never hurt me before, i don't care about rankings and this experience strenghtened me in my believe again. I've read the Steam forum and understand their publisher doesn't do marketing for them, or something. Too bad.
Because. This game rocks! FlatOut3 is absolutely not getting credit for what it does! For me, it is a perfect balance / combination of the racing games i already have! It's obvious the developers borrowed (read: stole) loads of elements from other games, but they mixed it very well with their own ideas and the result is amazing!
Amazing number of content.
Never before did i play a game with so much content. SaintsRow3? Finished it in two days (almost three) Midnight Club LA ? 3-4 days, max. All NFS series? Usually one day, max. Grid? 2 days, but actually already finished the game in 4 hours, not more. I But i'm playing FO3 as since the launch now, and i have the feeling i have not even seen half of what they've put in. It's entertaining me all of the time, keeps surprising me. And that is, in my opinion, what a game should do. Most games promise, few games do: but FlatOut3 really does it (without promising it in the first place ).
What also amazes me are the wild physics. There is little, if anything, scripted and this gives me a bit of a sandbox feeling, especially in the rally mode they call 'Offroad'. You can do the craziest things and it's just all possible, without any pre-scripted limitations, making you want to play over and over again. (bad side: if you decide to go sandbox, you can also forget your 1st place because the Ai is.. "very good", and thats more positive than it deserves to be called: They just head for the finish line and don't bother the other objectives, so it seems) But it's not like PURE or Motorstorm which are both very limited but promise the world. It seems there are over 50 cars to find / unlock (currently i found like.. 31 - 32?) but I doubt if even Motorstorm has so many difference in their classes. Examples? I took a giant dive over an airplane that crashed in the desert with an indy500 car from the sixties, i was being chased by a bulldozer and a monstertruck and overtaking a fast and furious-like Evo-X in Rome: Do i need to say more? You love cars, you got to play FlatOut3.
Speed and gameplay.
Also worth mentioning is the speed of the game. Where i remember FO1 (at least the demo) was pretty slow and almost a bit like feeling you were doing a moon-walk, this is like the speed of Wipeout, for those who still know what Wipeout was. This is what a racing game should feel like! Speed! Pure, raw speed that puts your reflexes really to the test and that's why i'm so positive about the phsyics: You go really really fast, you dodge, jump, crash, bash your way and i can see it's all real and nothing scripted: JUST HOW AWESOME IS THAT?
Just for the fun of it, i first played FO3 for 2 hours. Then, i did Forza3 and just laughed, and kept laughing. Why don't other developers make their racing games fast? I mean.. we're talking **racing** games?
There are bad things too. The destruction derby, sorry guys, kind of sucks. The bashing and all works, i like being the saucage in a hotdog kinda-car battle obviously, but it's kind of boring to keep searching for opponents, and then miss them everytime again. It's also hard to find targets there in this mode. Another annoying element are your computer opponents (i play singleplay, never multiplay). They are superfast, have very tight laptimes but when you come near them they suddenly bash into every corner. This is by far not annoying enough to start hating on forums and start writing bad reviews though, since i'm busy enough focusing on my own driving at these insanely cool speeds and as i said earlier: This game rocks!
So, it's not the best game ever built (i know a lot of haters and bashers will now say " yeez, really? that piece of crap that they dared to name after our oh-so-precious, almost-holy 'FlatOut'? but i, in my very long career of playing racing games i never saw such an unpolished beauty like this game. It's potential radiates like no other game i've seen before. It does a perfect job at keeping me entertained and the feeling of speed should be an inspiration to other developers. I won't compare it any longer with other games, but I can compare it with falling in love with an old Shelby Mustang GT: You see it's rusty, you see it's cheap, but when that V8 roars, you can't help falling in love with it and you just LOVE to kick in the gas pedal.
Every time again you hit the pedal, it makes you smile. And this is what FlatOut3 does with me and that's what ALL the racing games are supposed to do.
For the people skipping the way too detailed review as seen above, here are the numbers:
Graphics: 8 / 10.
- The style of the cars is very good. Who comes up with combining an old Impala with a new Porsche GT2? Brilliant and without fear for being criticized for doing so! For a car lover like me, it's fun to puzzle where the cars are based upon. The damage model is nice, simple, and as seen in all other games actually. O, note that I too, have disabled the motion blurrr.
- The levels vary a lot in quality, but also in style: giving them all their own.. feel. They are nothing special, they are similar quality as other games, visually: But the variety is what makes it special.
Audio: 7 / 10
Carsounds, crashes, bashes, etc, all sound good and is the same quality as any other big racing game. Music is nice for a few times, but then gets bored quite fast. But as with all games, i disable music and focus on the driving.
Gameplay: 8 / 10
If it was only about the gamespeed,the handling of cars and how it all feels when driving and bashing this would have been a full 10 / 10. BUT with gameplay i also mean the game modes and those are not polished by far. Being called an 'unpolished diamond' is nice and all that, but this area could really need some polishing, starting with destruction derby. (followed by monstertrucks, and the ind500 game mode)
Replay value: 9 / 10
As written in my full review, i have never played a game before that kept me entertained like this. And i played, probably, 90% of all existing racing games on the market. I even played Pole Position on the Atari2600! Awesome game that was, although i think most haters here will hate this game too haha. Still, i have not tried multiplayer. I mostly play all games singleplayer and this one is not an exception, although it's very tempting to try because of the promised 16 player stuntman (did anyone tried it? is it really that much fun as the screens promise?)
Totals: 9 !
Totals: I give it a big Nine. Once the game is loaded with DLC as they promise, and when the polishing has been finished, it could even become a major Ten. Perhaps. I hope the developers get the chance to go on with this title and amaze me once more in the future!