FlatOut 2

More cars, more tracks and more drivers rocketing through windshields

Last year's racer FlatOut is remembered mainly for two things: drivers who went flying violently through the windshield with every serious collision, and minigames that revolved around how far you could launch your driver out of the car. Some critics dismissed the actual racing as unremarkable, but the horrible-accident minigames stood out so well that the game is getting a sequel.

FlatOut 2 features everything a good sequel should: more cars, more varied tracks, more personality and twice as many minigames that revolve around hapless drivers rocketing through windshields. We recently took it for a spin, and the first thing we noticed was that the cars' handling was even floatier than in the first game. However, we've been told this is something the design team is still working to improve.

On the up side, your driver no longer flies out of the car at the drop of a hat (a major irritation in the first game's races), and resetting your car on the track when they do is much faster. Even better, your opponents - who are now actual characters instead of just faceless drivers - can be thrown screaming from their rides if you slam into them just right. (Do this enough, and they'll start gunning for you in every race.)

The tracks have been retooled as well; instead of just bombing down dusty, backwoods-looking rally raceways, you'll be able to tear through 60 courses set in LA's canal system and five other environments, all filled with random debris and destructible objects. The new areas look sharp and will feature lots of shortcuts for players to discover.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

After graduating from college in 2000 with a BA in journalism, I worked for five years as a copy editor, page designer and videogame-review columnist at a couple of mid-sized newspapers you've never heard of. My column eventually got me a freelancing gig with GMR magazine, which folded a few months later. I was hired on full-time by GamesRadar in late 2005, and have since been paid actual money to write silly articles about lovable blobs.

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