FlatOut 3: Chaos & Destruction was released back in 2011, and, in short, it was abysmal.

Regarded by many as one of the worst racing games ever, it probably wasn’t going to be very hard to top, but FlatOut 4: Total Insanity did a pretty good job of redeeming the franchise.

While repetitive at times, it was still a game I found myself playing for hours on end.

Game Modes

The game has quite a few modes, including a Career Mode where you can purchase and upgrade different cars, which adds a good collection dimension to keep you playing an otherwise repetitive, beat-em-up, racing game. There are three tiers — Derby, Classic, and All Star — with each being rather interchangeable, aside from the exception of getting newer, shinier cars each tier.

Next comes the FlatOut Mode, which the game describes itself as “Sitting somewhere between racing and insanity…” Essentially, it is a progressive points mode where you earn medals the higher your points total. Again, it is very repetitive, but if you value earning medals, you may be able to play for hours trying to earn gold in each game mode.

If you’re mostly interested in the mindless quick modes, this game has a TON to offer you. In the game setup screen for the Quick Play mode, you first choose one of three modes; Race, Arena, and Stunt. We won’t go into too much detail, but let’s just say that you can have hours of playtime, and never play the same game twice. Five different Race types on 20 tracks, three Arena types in six arenas, and 12 different types of Stunt tracks make for endless, mindless, fun.

Multiplayer is straightforward, you can either play online in any mode, or in Party Mode with up to eight other players taking turns in Stunt mode.

Presentation

The soundtrack for this game is easily one of the best pieces of the experience. There isn’t a single song on the soundtrack that I want to skip when it comes on. The only complaint is that if each time you finish a game and go back to the Main Menu, the same song kicks on each time. Luckily, it is a good song, but after several hours, you may get sick of hearing it so much.

FlatOut 4
The game has some beauty to it

The visuals are quite impressive, albeit not realistic in the slightest, which makes it all the more fun. If you’re looking for realistic visuals, stick with a Forza or F1 game. Leave this game for the folks who enjoy an escape from reality.

When you see all of the locked cars and racers, you think it won’t take long to unlock at least some of these. Unfortunately, you would be wrong. After putting in a few hours racing, you may only unlock a small handful of the unlockables.

Game Play

Almost everything in the Race modes can be destroyed, and your car can get beaten and broken, but your car will run just as well as a wrecked heap as it did at the start of the race.

The AI characters are no slouches, either. Whereas other games may make the AI easily beatable, this game makes them a little more challenging. They are extremely aggressive, and I often found myself struggling to catch up after getting tossed around at the beginning of a race. The AI doesn’t put up too much of a fight in the Arena modes, so you could essentially phone it in a little and still beat them.

The Stunt modes are quite possibly the best part of this game. They are extremely challenging, and can be frustrating at times, but your competitive, “I can’t let this beat me,” nature will kick in and keep you playing until you finally beat it. Plus, when you’re launching a ragdoll out of a car and trying to land into a Cup Pong cup, it’s hard not find that enjoyable.

Verdict

While it is heads and shoulders above its predecessor, FlatOut 4 still leaves you wanting more.  Fine tuning the difficulty and career mode would go a long way to redeeming the one time great FlatOut franchise.

I feel encouraged by the steps taken since FlatOut 3, and I think that the next game in this otherwise forgotten series could redeem it even more.

Final Score: 6/10

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Anthony Nappo
Anthony is an avid sports gamer who plays just about everything, but mostly big titles like Madden and MLB the Show. Born in Buffalo, NY and currently living in Dallas, TX, he can be found most weekends on his couch playing games, or watching a Buffalo sports team try its best. He is still very bitter about the 1999 Stanley Cup Finals, so feel free to tease him (believe me, it's fun).