[img]flatoutuc_xb360_3[/img]However, UC is not perfect - there are a few disappointments. Being on the Xbox 360 console, naturally developers Bugbear Entertainment were able to enhance the gameplay in some technical ways, such as much more specific and detailed crash damage as well as a lot more in the way of destructible objects surrounding the tracks. This is great, but the game still feels incredibly like the original Flatout let alone the second version. Now, in all fairness you can't really fix what isn't broken, but
at the same time, UC is little more than Flatout 2 with better graphics, which are very nice by the way; it's just not enough to give this series that complete "next gen" boost in the arm.
For example, one aspect that I think Bugbear really missed out on with UC is the allowed amount of cars competing at any given time. 8 is the maximum in online races, which is acceptable when you consider you have network performance to fight with and too many cars would simply backfire. However, offline races are limited to a rather low 12 cars. It sounds like such a minute, insignificant part to the game, but it's really the crux of how the gameplay in Flatout works - the more cars
you have, the more potential for crashes and carnage you have, and generally, the better the gameplay. In quite a few events, even ones centered entirely around destruction, 12 cars is simply not enough and creates time pockets of limited or no noteworthy activity as you either pull ahead or fall behind most of the action. I would have loved to have seen at least 20 cars in offline races on the Xbox 360 console, which I'm sure is up to the task, and even if it isn't, dropping [img]flatoutuc_xb360_4[/img]some physics detail to allow
for more cars is still better in my opinion - it is said the game allows for 40 unique deformable parts for each car and over 8000 destructible objects for each track. This sounds impressive, but if you half both those figures, the game would still play great and likely allow for more cars.
If it's any consolation, it seems the CPU driven cars in UC are at least as feisty and vicious as ever. While the first two Flatout's were pretty solid in this area themselves, the level of competition that AI cars offer in UC is great and does help to limit the ineffectiveness 12 cars can sometimes have on larger tracks. Prepared to be beaten up quite a lot in UC as CPU cars go out of their way to create mayhem of their own, and even try cheap tactics such as tail whips to take you out of
contention. While the game insists via character bio's on loading screens that each CPU car and driver have different characteristics, I didn't really notice this come through much, but nonetheless, driving against the CPU in Flatout has never been as competitive and challenging as it is in Ultimate Carnage.
As mentioned before, UC does have full Xbox Live capabilities as expected allowing you to take any of your favorite events online against other human racers, however perhaps the coolest part to UC's Live implementation is the automatic leaderboards that display after each event, including single player events in any of the main game modes. Here you can see how your latest effort compares to gamers around the world, which include both Silver and Gold members, so basically anyone who is connected online at all
will have their results automatically uploaded and displayed. Throughout the entire time I played this game for review (and afterwards for that matter), I also didn't notice one case of this feature slowing down the post game menu's loading time below an acceptable time, so it's a very nice addition all round.
When you look at the complete picture, Flatout: Ultimate Carnage really is the ultimate arcade racer. It may not have licensed cars and the tracks can be repetitive, not to mention the gameplay hasn't changed much at all since the series birth a few years back, but fun, addictive and easy to get into 'pick up and play' driving action is what this game is all about, and in those departments it delivers without a hitch. Some areas could have perhaps seen slightly more attention to really solidify
this game as a true next gen experience, but it is still the most fun I've had on the Xbox 360 and I think many will come to that same conclusion when they try it out. If you want unbridled, often insanely fun and addictive racing gameplay on your 360, you can't go wrong with Flatout: Ultimate Carnage.