Flatout 3 is at first glance jammed with different modes and ways of playing, and the different rules sometimes bring different ways of driving - the 'Speed' mode, for example, removes the handbrake. They're all over the place but share certain characteristics: massive oversensitivity, terrible collision mechanics, and cuckoo physics.
Bad enough, and there's more. Flatout 3 is much faster than its predecessors, and it's far too fast. Steering is a combination of guesswork and luck, like riding a sledge, where things can be undone in an instant by capriciously crap physics - sometimes you'll be driving straight and the car turns right for no reason, hits a pebble and launches sideways into a dumpster.
It's not just the invisible springboards disguised as rocks, or the fact that ramps don't act as they should. It's not even the times when your car randomly explodes without an opponent nearby, or the damage model that bears little relation to on-screen impacts, or the even bits of track that drive like they have uneven surfaces. It's all of these things and more - the car never, ever feels right on the track, and you always know it's only a few seconds away from another spasm.
As for the opponent AI, it can't even be described as idiotic - that would imply some illusion of control. When you see a pack of AI cars in Flatout 3 it's just Brownian motion. Why did that car jack-knife into a bush? Why are they all driving at each other rather than racing? Why does it seem like they're blind to obstacles? Why does a car driving at top speed suddenly freeze when you're behind it? Why did that one flip around a corner?
The cherry on the cake as far as physics goes is the way the game calculates damage - it seems, as far as I can tell, to pick a random number. Land on someone in a monster truck from a 50-foot drop? 3 per cent, mate. Brush past a sedan? BOOM 60 PER CENT, PENCILNECK. It makes the two destruction-orientated modes totally pointless, and adds to the general ruination of everything else.Enjoy.
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