Flatout 4 Total Insanity Review
To say that a number of the previous Flatout titles were a disappointment would be an understatement, so heading into Flatout 4, I wasn’t particularly enthusiastic about what I was about to play. When compared to other Flatout games in the franchise, the fourth iteration does a great job to cleaning up some of the problems present, but also introduces a few new ones. Flatout 4 is an enjoyable experience, but won’t be for everyone.
The rag-doll physics mini games are better than ever, and Flatout 4 doesn’t disappoint when playing games of curling, beer pong, and much, much more. These games can be tackled either in solo play – which pits you against the best in the world with the online leader boards – or locally, in a pass-and-play situation. The fact that Flatout 4 offers this local alternative is really important for myself, as I tend to play most of my multiplayer games locally with friends and family. As this is not the norm, I really appreciate the developers including this feature.
My enjoyment of Flatout stopped once I hit the racetracks, however. With only a few environments to race in, and what seems like reused track sections over and over again for ‘new’ tracks, there wasn’t a whole lot drawing me back into the smash-em-up racing mode. What makes this mode more frustrating, however, is that there doesn’t seem to be any consistency in the AI opponents. Establish and early lead and you’ll likely breeze through the race and win with ample time to spare; get stuck at the start line, however, and you’ll likely never catch the leader, even if you race extremely well.
The more I raced, the more I longed for more mini game, multiplayer modes. The true fun lies in that aspect of the game. The destruction arenas are definitely more fun than racing, but don’t capture the spirit of competition that the mini games do. If you purchase Flatout 4, your best to stick with playing the mini games, and ideally, locally.
Career Mode attempts to make you care about the racing aspect of the game, but driving over seemingly similar tracks in old rusty cars isn’t as exciting as you might think. As your progress through the three tiers, you will earn credits and have the ability to purchase better and more aesthetically pleasing vehicles, but you’ll soon realise that each tier is generally a rehash of what was done previously, but with better, faster cars.
I’ve been fairly critical overall of the racing and destruction derby aspects of Flatout 4, but I want to finish this review talking once again about the mini games included. The 12 mini games built into the game provide hours and hours of fun. I enjoyed trying to beat the scores of others online in particular events, but I found the game was at its best when I had friends and family over. I’ve lost countless hours on numerous nights to these modes, and although we began zeroing in on 4-5 of our favorites, we continued to enjoy what was being offered. This mode alone is almost worth the price, if you enjoy rag-doll physics titles.
For racing fans without a nostalgic attachment to the previous Flatout titles, I’m not sure this title is something you will enjoy. While it is a huge improvement over Flatout 3, there isn’t enough actual racing available to make the purchase worth it. Running around tracks with friends can be fun, but it won’t be where you spend the majority of your time.
If you often entertain, however, the 12 mini games included with this title are fantastic for party play, and for that reason alone, I do recommend Flatout 4!