FlatOut 3 PC Review

By – Mike Andre

I’ll cut the story short.  FlatOut 3 is a flat out disaster.

You probably played or at least heard of the previous Bugbear-developed FlatOut games and how pretty much everyone found them enjoyable.  The game I reviewed, however, is only a FlatOut in name.  Everything about the experience is so dismal, broken and uninspired, its existence alone is a slap in the face to racing fans.  FlatOut 3 came out of nowhere, but still, it managed to peak my interest as the FlatOut series is among my favourite in the racing genre. When I noticed Bugbear were not developing this time around, I wasn’t sure what to think.  When I did some research on the previous work of the new developers, Team 6, I felt that something wasn’t quite right.  Still, I was hopeful they could pull something half-way decent with a better budget in their hands. I couldn’t be any farther from the truth.

The Ugly, the Bad and the Ugly

Team 6 probably asked themselves what made the series stand out and came to the conclusion it was the destruction and drivers being thrown out of the windshields. Sure, it was some of the things that made FlatOut special and they did try to emulate, but even at that they did a terrible job. The car destruction model nowhere as good as the originals. There are very little destructible elements in the tracks and you can hit a wall at 120 mph and your driver is still glued to his seat.

The controls are also an abomination. The handling of the car is closer to Crazy Taxi than the original games, but without the fun. Somehow they even managed to mess up the camera. Thanks to the amazingly bad camera work, taking a turn means a big chance of running into some obstacle you had no way of knowing it was there.

The overuse of a disgusting blur effect makes everything even more complicated when you are running at high speeds. Sadly, that’s just another dumb decision among an ocean of other equally dumb design choices.

Why? Just, Why?

A far as game modes go, there’s no career mode. To unlock new cars and tracks you have to win certain races, and as you might imagine there’s no way to upgrade your car like in previous games.  The tracks are either incredibly confusing or way too linear. Either you never know exactly when you can take a turn, or the track is so boring you’ll enter “auto pilot” mode after the first lap.  Oh and the AI. Oh my word, the AI. It’s easily the worst AI in a racing I’ve ever seen. They crash each other and run into obstacles in the dumbest ways possible.  It’s the kind of thing you have to see for yourself and I challenge you not to laugh.  The physics are broken. The cars don’t behave like you’d expect them to, some obstacles don’t behave at all, giving you the feeling of running into a ghost.

The technical aspects are just as bad as the rest of the game.  FlatOut 3 looks 5 years old and sound wise it’s a joke. The sound effects are poor and the engine sound in particular lack the punch of the earlier entries. The music, as you guessed it, isn’t any better. Remember FlatOut 2’s awesome soundtrack? If you expected a playlist in any way similar to that, prepare to be sorely disappointed. In FlatOut 2 you had Fallout Boy, Alkaline Trio and Yellowcard.  In this one you have to settle with generic rock music that sound like it was recorded in a garage.

Conclusion – Is It Worth Your Money?

No. Just no. At $29.99, this is a complete rip-off.  It looks and plays like a $9.99 budget title, and even then, you would be paying too much.  It’s bad, it’s broken and worst of all it has the FlatOut name. It’s an awful attempt at trying to cash in on the original’s fame by releasing a product of sub-par quality.

UPDATE: There was a comment supposedly made by the CEO of Team 6, Ronnie Nelis, who called us out on this review saying we were using a pirated copy.  This comment has been discovered to be a fake and deleted.  We apologize for any problems his has caused and wish Team 6 luck in their future projects.  

FlatOut 3 Technical Summary:

  • Time Played – 5 hours
  • Widescreen – Yes
  • 5.1 Audio – Yes
  • Bugs – Physics not responding, collision detection problems.
  • Control Scheme – Keyboard or Gamepad
  • Availability – Steam
  • Demo – None
  • Game Acquisition Method – Review Copy
  • Review Specs – Core 2 Duo, Radeon 4550, 4GB RAM

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21 thoughts on “FlatOut 3 PC Review

  1. Thanks for the review, almost wanted to pick this up during last sales. This is gonna a game to avoid for sure. well the Graphics looks good but I never played any of the series before, everyone was saying Flatout 1 and 2 is the best.

  2. I don’t agree with the reviewer, the physics and behaviour are very nicely done and so is the ‘fun’ factor, which is good. The content (very, very large) is also something you won’t find in a budget game. There are bugs, for sure, but the gameplay mechanics and content is something i really like.

  3. If you see motionblur like this, it indicates your performance was well below 20 frames per second, which makes it really unplayable.

    (source: Steam forum)

    A 4550 requires you to set the settings on ‘low’.

    • Nope, the game ran at a steady 40 something FPS (my estimation), the game was very much playable for me and I didn’t play on the lowest settings, far from it.
      It was on the high settings, with a few things like AA turned off or at the medium settings. I did try to play with the highest settings and the difference was barely noticeable, except for a big frame rate drop. But, of course, I judged the game how it looked at its best.

  4. You are so right, ‘haggy’.

    I mailed the devs, team6, and i’ve sent them quite the hatemail. i was.. angry because they wrekced the series. Despite my harsh words (‘harsh’ doesn’t cover it by far, i was.. more than a little upset) i still got a real, serious reply and it didn’t took them long to find out i suffered bad performance too. A big plus for their support!

    I had a AMD ATI RADHEON HD3460 (didn’t know that before, i can play most games just fine!) and FlatOut really sucked. Motionblur all over the place, ugly washed out graphics and very bad controls. Like pinball, but even worse. I tried on my brother’s pc, who knows more about this kind of stuff, and its amazing what the difference is!

    You can’t believe the difference. The developers really should fix their performance issues and release a demo. The game is not as bad as all the reviews say, it ‘only’ has big performance issues.

  5. My review is even shorter:

    FlatOut3: your average racing game with a speed and destruction flavor.
    + Bought it during SteamSales
    + Fast paced but good, solid racer gameplay
    + Some cars are really well designed
    – Horrible music, turn it off asap!
    – The nightshift mode is impossible to complete
    – Tracks vary a lot in quality, from near perfect (rome, svyetlak lake, detroit) to frustrating bad (harbor, sewer)

    If you’re not into racing, FlatOut3 is too difficult for you. Keep away from it.

    If you’re into racing, don’t be fooled. It’s about a 6 or 7, nothing higher but also nothing less. Entertaining and worth it’s money.

    • I have been a racing fan for a long while and I agree with Mike. FO3 is a massive disappointment especially when you compare this to the rest of the series. This may be a case of Team 6 and Strategy First buying the rights to use the FlatOut name. If this was not billed as “FlatOut”, I wonder if things would be different. To me, it was simply not a fun title.

  6. Stratey First asked Team6 because they’re cheap. I’m pretty sure Team6 got a few numbers (2 or perhaps even 3 digits less?) less than Bugbear got from Empire, but I really respect the way Team6 is treating the (few ?) fans they have. Even now, without help of Strategy First, they are still improving the game and adding features to please the fans. The first build was broken for sure, their QA obviously did something wrong ..

    But I don’t agree it’s ‘entirely broken’: it’s really a nice, decent racing game with a lot to do and for me it’s most special feature is the wide variety of vehicle classes and their appropriate physics: but perhaps that’s just me, since i read a lot of reviews and most of them say the same about the controls. It can’t be that all reviews got low-end hardware, right? There are probably more reviewers with a default graphics car of 6-8 years old, and this is something Team6 should have fixed since all other developers took care of this.

    Too bad for Team6, i agree with Ames that most reviewers would have been much kinder and forgiving if the name FlatOut wasn’t used.

  7. Agreed. I mistakenly bought it on sale on Steam for just $10 and desperately wish I could get that $10 back. HORRENDOUS excuse for a game. Its near criminal the way this game sullies the reputation of the previous games. Its THAT bad.

    • So far with FO3 and Postal 3 we have two contenders for Worst PC Game of the Year and we are only into February. Technically Postal 3 was released in late December, but I am sure we could make an exception. 🙂

  8. Based on the comments here I have to conclude the following:

    If Team 6 employees spent less time spamming the comment section on the reviews of their games, and spent more time developing said games, maybe this game would not be such an complete disaster.

    For anyone claiming this game is remotely enjoyable, have you actually PLAYED another racing game before ? Besides Mario Kart, for instance ? Need for Speed (almost any of them) ? Burnout Paradise ? Motorstorm series on PS3 ?

    Not possible, really. This game is legitimately on the level of a 6 year old. I can see a first grader enjoying it, maybe.

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