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Game Info:

FlatOut 3
Developed By: Team6
Published By: Strategy First
Release Date: December 13th 2011
Available on: Windows
Genre: Racing
ESRB Rating: Not rated
MSRP: $29.99

Thank you Strategy First for sending us this game to review!

The FlatOut series was developed by Bugbear Entertainment and has been going strong since 2005.  Team6 took over the franchise in 2010 and released FlatOut for the Wii, and now FlatOut 3 Chaos and Destruction for PC.  Despite the name, this is actually the fourth game in the series, and many critics deem it the worst.

This is my first time playing the FlatOut franchise.  To gain more insight on the public outcry, I tried the demo of the original FlatOut.  I found that the physics and damage system is better in original game.  In FlatOut 3, you can run though fences and light posts without slowing you down or damaging your car at all.  When your car does take damage, it gets rather obnoxious quickly with the doors swaying, hood popping up, and the bumper dangling.  The original FlatOut has the same car animations, but it takes a bit more to get your car to that point instead of one or two hits.  Team6 has updated the game to address these issues, but it still doesn’t hold a candle to Bugbear’s offerings.

Highlights:

Strong Points: Lots of game modes to choose from.
Weak Points: Inconsistent physics; nobody plays online.
Moral Warnings: Road rage; vehicular violence; low cut shirts worn by women.

The FlatOut series is known for its rough racing and rag doll mini games, and FlatOut 3 remains true to its fans there.  There are several game modes including: three different racing modes, demolition derbies, monster truck racing, challenges, and stunt man.  Multiplayer is available, but nobody is hosting any games.

I enjoyed the stunt man game mode the most.  In this mode you have to slam your car into a wall and eject your driver and land on the bulls-eye of a huge target on the ground.  Once you’re in the air, you can adjust the angle of your jump to help your aim.  The ragdoll physics are just plain silly and amusing to watch.  There is no realism here whatsoever since these stunts are not survivable.  

The monster truck mode is fun too; I mean who doesn’t like monster trucks?  These matches have an objective, like knock over a certain number of barrels, or push over some buses and so on.  Besides focusing on these goals, you have to avoid getting your truck wrecked by your opponents.  

Score Breakdown:
Higher is better
(10/10 is perfect)

Game Score - 72%
Gameplay - 14/20
Graphics - 8/10
Sound - 6/10
Stability - 4/5
Controls 4/5

Morality Score - 86%
Violence - 6.5/10
Language - 10/10
Sexual Content - 6.5/10
Occult/Supernatural - 10/10
Cultural/Moral/Ethical - 10/10

Other road rage modes include the demolition derby, off road racing, and street racing.  Nightshift offers street racing in the dark and in adverse weather conditions.  In these modes, you race dirty, and it's easier to eliminate an opponent than racing against them.  If you see a car in flames, that means their health is low; ram into it and finish it off!  The last racing mode is speed racing.  In this mode you race an Indy car that’s fast and fragile; in other words, don’t crash into anyone or anything!  I did the best in this mode.

The fire looks realistic and the environments have a fair amount of detail.  The grass, cities, and water look believable.  Many tracks have gimmicky obstacles in the way like trucks blocking the road or demolition balls to avoid.  Some of the other levels are rather bland like the chopper destruction derby.  This level consists of helicopters transporting metal slabs with huge chains holding them together, flying over the water with gray skies with a forest terrain in the background.  Graphically, this game isn’t ground breaking.

The original FlatOut games were rated Teen by the ESRB due to song lyrics in the rock music that blared as you raced and pummeled other drivers.  FlatOut 3 doesn't have background music to speak of, and it is not rated by the ESRB.  You'll hear the sounds of the engines roaring, metal crunching, and the driver groaning when they collide with the ground.  

Other than launching your driver to certain doom, there's not a whole lot to complain about appropriateness wise. As you enter races, you'll see plenty of loading screens, and many of them show women with low cut shirts or wearing bikinis.

If road rage and wonky physics don't bother you, you might like Flat Out 3. I enjoyed the wide variety of game modes available. I wasn't too good at city racing modes, but I held my own on the demolition derbies, monster truck battles, and speed races. While I found the AI challenging, others may find it easy. It's too bad that nobody plays online. There's no demo available, so you'll have to do your homework before buying FlatOut 3. If you enjoyed the previous FlatOut games, you might be a little disappointed in this offering and should probably hold out until you see it on sale. Since I'm new to the series, I found this game cheesy but fun.

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Christ Centered Gamer looks at video games from two view points. We analyze games on a secular level which will break down a game based on its graphics, sound, stability and overall gaming experience. If you’re concerned about the family friendliness of a game, we have a separate moral score which looks at violence, language, sexual content, occult references and other ethical issues.

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