Take a frustrated soccer mum in her over-sized 4x4 trying to get back home at 5'o clock in Auckland traffic; now give her a nitrous oxide tank and a large dose of methamphetamine and you've got Flatout: Ultimate Carnage. Flatout has been a growing series since its outrageous entry onto the Xbox which also gave birth to Flatout 2. Now the Xbox 360 community is getting a dose of destructive racing at it's finest. Flatout: Ultimate Carnage guarantees smiles, pant saturation, and maniacal laughter for all ages.
Ultimate Carnage has many sub-genres of racing that it branches out into. For example, during a tournament you will usually find yourself just racing around a track, but for the next race you may be doing a hard out demolition derby. It all ties in quite well so that the player never gets bored of doing the same thing over and over again - unlike most racing games. If the player really wants to get flying all they need to do is enter 'Carnage Mode' where winning events unlocks more events. This is where you will have the most fun because of an event simply titled 'Stunt'.
Stunts are events that usually consist of taking a normal sport like bowling and adding cars and carnage to the mix. Instead of rolling a ball down an alley you would simply drive your car at top speed and eject the driver into the pins. There are also other stunts such as high-jump, basketball, baseball, the ski jump, and many more. All the stunts are made even more fun when in party mode - where players take turns to see how well their crashing skills are. However, if you do not have anybody else to play with you can always rely on the A.I. to provide a decent challenge.
In Ultimate Carnage the A.I. has been programmed with different personalities. For example, one particular driver is very laid back and generally wont cause too much trouble. But if their car starts getting too beat up they will go nuts and try and ram anyone in their path into the nearest solid object. There are eleven different drivers in the game with their own individual personality - learning their behavior can be the key to winning a race. Information for each driver will usually show up at loading screens - which are incredibly snappy considering the high-end graphics.
The graphics in Ultimate Carnage are absolutely divine to look at. It's a marvelous spectacle to speed past flying pieces of debris at over one-hundred and fifty kilometers an hour at a solid frame-rate. All the cars are rendered in crisp high-definition and when they get smashed to pieces against a concrete barricade they shatter and twist like the real thing would. If your car gets too beat up, don't worry - you get a certain amount of respawns before you get 'wrecked!' and can't continue the race; however if you fail time and time again you can always upgrade your vehicle.
There are a decent amount of upgrades in Ultimate Carnage that can be installed onto any of the 48 cars to choose from. They are split up into three classes: derby, street, and racing. The cars range from a humble old pickup truck to a hulking yellow school bus - creating more diversity within the game. To experience a larger level of diversity the player can take their skills onto Xbox Live where they'll be greeted by fans of terrorizing racing the world over.
Multiplayer is a near direct reflection of the single player side of the game. Players can either enter a friendly tournament with between one to eleven other mad racing fans or join up for a single event. Because of the driving-induced chaos in the game you may find yourself being pit maneuvered by a fellow player. This can lead to a classic war of words that usually ends up in some very violent insult and then immediate departure from the lobby by either player. The trick is to not make yourself stand out too much; if you do you may find yourself in a bad situation.
In general Flatout: Ultimate Carnage is a very fun game to play online or offline. Either way there is much that can be done in such a diverse racing game. It is highly recommended for people with a good sense of humor or frustrated arcade racers who need to take a break from the typical drudge of driving without causing serious injury. The game can be frustrating at times but persistence and a bit of aggression can lead any player to victory. Happy carnage everyone!