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FlatOut: Ultimate Carnage Xbox 360

Published by: Empire Interactive
Developed by: Bugbear Entertainment
Release Date: Out Now

2007 is turning out to be a great year for Xbox 360 owning racing game enthusiasts. We've already seen the excellent Forza Motorsport 2 and enjoyable Colin McRae DiRT and with Project Gotham Racing 4 and SEGA Rally due out later this year, not forgetting MotoGP 07 in a few weeks of course, it's definitely an expensive year for fans of the racing genre. Then you have FlatOut: Ultimate Carnage, the racing title where it pays to drive aggressively and crash into the opposition. I hadn't played any of the previous FlatOut games but after playing, and having a great deal of fun with FlatOut: Ultimate Carnage, I wish that I had. Suffice to say it's another quality racing game that fans of the genre can't afford to miss.

FlatOut: Ultimate Carnage offers a FlatOut Mode, a Carnage Mode, a collection of Single Events including Race, Stunt, Derby, Time Trial and Bonus events, a Party Mode and of course an Xbox Live mode that features a variety of modes for up to eight players. The FlatOut Mode, which is essentially the game's career mode, represents the heart of the single-player game and here you'll take part in Derby, Race and Street championships. You'll begin with a few thousand to buy your first car to take part in a Derby race and as you play through the events you'll earn money to upgrade your vehicle and also to purchase additional cars that will allow you to take part in the Race and Street championships. The game includes 39 circuits and 48 cars with the promise of more circuits and cars to be made available at a later date via the Xbox Live Arcade Marketplace.

What makes FlatOut: UC so enjoyable is that it's not simply a race from the start to the finish line. You'll want to earn nitro boost so that you can overtake your rivals. The catch though, is that to earn nitro boost, you'll need to crash into your opponents. Destruction, of both the cars and the circuits you race around, is the name of the game and the damage modelling is very impressive. Many objects on a circuit can be damaged and in some cases completely destroyed. The cars also damage rather well and it's possible to really batter them to bits in quite a believable fashion. Going around the circuits in this destructive, hell for leather fashion really makes for a very enjoyable experience. Of course at times it can be irritating because the AI is out to knock your car to pieces too but victories are all the more sweet when you have to fight tooth and nail for them.

The Carnage Mode is essentially the game's arcade mode and offers a whole bunch of crazy events for you to enjoy. There are checkpoint races where the idea is to damage your opponents as much possible. There is even a high jump event where you have to shoot your driver out of the car and manage to get him as high as possible on a mesh barricade. You can even play tenpin bowling. The idea here is to get your car down the runway as quickly as possible before launching your driver down the giant bowling alley in order to knock down as many pins as possible. There are many other mini-challenges here too and they are all fun to play (if the idea of launching your driver out of the car appeals that is).

FlatOut: Ultimate Carnage is one of the better looking racers on the Xbox 360 at the moment. The game supports up to 1080p so you're in for a real visual treat if you happen to be gaming on a HD display. We've already mentioned the damaged modelling but you can't help but be impressed with how both the cars and the circuits end up in pieces. There are some impressive lighting and texture effects  and they all combine to make a game that's not only great fun to play but also rather impressive to look at. The frame rate is also very good and during the monster pile-ups that can occur during the course of the game it hardly seems to suffer at all.

Deaf gamers will have no problems with FlatOut: Ultimate Carnage. All of the information in the game is either given through the HUD or by text. You'll see text instructions, for the various mini-games, on the loading screens. All of the information in the FlatOut Mode is given in text which makes the game absolutely fine for deaf gamers. During an event where the time is counting down there are beeps that sound when the timer has less than ten seconds. There are no captions for these beeps although the timer is displayed in the top left of the screen and the numbers do turn red to signify that time is running out. There are also no captions for your driver's screams when he's launched from the car in the various mini-games, although this doesn't really matter.

Those who enjoy arcade style racing games should definitely add FlatOut: Ultimate Carnage to their wish list. It's quite unlike any other racing title on the Xbox 360 and is a great deal of fun to play. There's not a lot of depth to the game, to be completely honest, but the single-player game is quite challenging and it's sure to take most gamers 20 hours or more to complete all of the challenges on offer. Then, of course, you have the Xbox Live modes to keep you interested as well as all of the game's achievements to complete.  Graphically the game is rather impressive and it's easily one of the better looking racing titles on the system. If you are into arcade racers and own an Xbox 360 then FlatOut: Ultimate Carnage is definitely a must.

Overall Game Rating 8.4/10

Deaf Gamers Classification

DGC Classification B
(Click the letter or here for details)

FlatOut: Ultimate Carnage doesn't have a great deal of depth but it's very enjoyable and is one of the best arcade racers you can currently buy for the Xbox 360.