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Flatout 3: Chaos & Destruction review

£24.99

Manufacturer: Strategy First

Our Rating: We rate this 1.5 out of 5

What's been done to the formerly great racing series almost defies description - but we'll try...

Let's look at the  facts soberly once before we get emotional. Flatout 3: Chaos & Destruction is no longer in the hands of Finnish series creators Bugbear, but instead little-know Dutch developer Team 6 Studios, who've previously worked on the semi-obscure likes of Street Racer: Europe, the official game of the World Squash Federation and, er, Pizza Dude . That a Flatout 3 is in development at all was only announced only a week before the official release date, so we were naturally suspicious even before we started to play ...

So with that out the way we can be emotional now: Flatout 3 s a huge slap in the face of every Flatout fan.

Flatout 2 and Flatout: Ultimate Carnage enjoyed cult status because they combined high-speed battles with fully destructible track environments.  The more we slammed and barged, the more boost we were able to build – tactical action paired with constant demolition all the way to the finish line. On top of that was a slew of modes bound together by the motivation of career prize money, and vehicle tuning.

The icing on the cake was the insane stunt mini-games, where we threw crash test dummies through our windshields into basketball hoops and football goals. 

Why are we harking on about the past? Because the present is so incredibly sad. In a desperate search for career mode, we could only find a so-called ‘Challenge Mode.’ This is a completely linear collection of 50 uninspiring tasks, without any choice whatsoever. 

Flatout 3: Chaos & Destruction

As this wears on, something inconceivable happens: the game demands that you must complete a specific mission perfectly. So, in a race with 16 participants, you can’t put a wheel wrong -  if you crash into the last corner before the goal line, the game declares ‘"tough luck” and you need to start from scratch again. All that’s missing is derisive laughter from the speakers. 

Speaking of derision: of the ten challenges with which we tortured ourselves for this review, the first was by far the hardest. And once tasks are completed you are no longer allowed to repeat them - or, indeed, revisit them in the hope of unlock anything extra. Flatout 3 is only about grinding through the individual races one after another.

Flatout 3: Chaos & Destruction Expert Verdict »
Operating system:Windows® XP Processor: Intel® 2 GHz dual core CPU Memory: 2 GB Video: Nvidia GeForce 8600+ / AMD Radeon HD X2600+ Internet:Broadband Internet Connection DirectX®: DirectX® 9.0c Hard disk space: 16 GB Sound: DirectX® compatible Onboard Soundcard Supported Input Devices: Keyboard, Joystick, XBox Controller, Gamepad, Microsoft Controller for Windows Additional Notes: Also supports Razer Hydra.
  • Overall: We give this item 3 of 10 overall

The subtitle of Flatout 3 is "Chaos & Destruction". Quite appropriate: after I’d flung my gamepad across the study some 27 times, things certainly seemed pretty chaotic and destructive. That subtitle, however, is all there is there that's apt about Flatout 3's name - the rest is a total misnomer, trading undeservedly off the name of a beloved racing game in the hope of luring in unsuspecting fans.

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