Of course, the mini-games (stunts) are also a blast, all of which involve sending your driver through the windshield. This mode includes games like bowling (using your driver as the ball), basketball (driver as ball), and baseball (you get the idea). This mode is ridiculous and over-the-top, but still a lot of fun. The bone-crunching and grunting sounds are used to comedic effect.
The derby mode also provides a worthy distraction to the races. This mode is all-out destruction, which is what this game is all about. You aren’t rewarded for surviving the duration of the derby, but rather for the amount of damage and destruction you caused to others. In other words, it’s possible to come in first without surviving the derby.
The gameplay is a lot more solid than the original. You feel a lot more in control of your vehicle, and the controls are adequately responsive. I played the game almost exclusively on the keyboard and it was still a satisfying experience.
It’s amazing how much better this game looks than the original. The graphics make the overall experience so much more pleasurable, and even after completing the game, I still find myself marveling at how good it looks. I’ve played the game on PC and Xbox and on both counts I was thoroughly impressed (although the load times seem a lot shorter on PC). Of course, I do come from the days of Commodore 64’s and Nintendo’s and aside from the Orange Box I haven’t played many Next-Gen games as of yet.
Sound & Music
The original FlatOut featured a lot of independent music (which is a great thing in my opinion), but I have to say with some remorse that the popular music soundtrack featured in FlatOut 2 is a big improvement over the original. Bugbear really picked some great songs, and my only complaint is that there aren’t enough. All the sound effects sound great to me, but I would have liked to have heard a more noticeable ‘chunk’ sound when selecting menu items or buying upgrades. This isn’t a big deal in the overall scheme of things, however.
FlatOut 2 is an improvement over the original title in almost every respect and I thoroughly enjoyed the game. After all, that’s what gaming is all about, isn’t it? I wouldn’t have played all the way through if I wasn’t having fun with it.