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June 15, 2006
FlatOut 2 - PS2 Preview
Release Date Publisher Developer Anticipation Players Price
17/8/2006EmpireBugbear1-4, 6 $79.95

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Levels are very destructable!
Bugbear's FlatOut was one of the most impressive racing titles of the current generation. Not only was the racing engine solid, but the destruction of the tracks provided plenty of thrills and spolls. Almost two years since the original games release and developers Bugbear are back with a sequel improved in almost every area from destruction to music, graphics to gameplay.

This game, which is now set in the United States instead of Europe, includes twice as many vehicles, a more sophisticated career mode, additional race environments, double the number of tracks, twice as many mini-games along with brand new and much requested online multiplayer modes are just some of the exhaustive features that are included in FlatOut 2.

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Stunning car deformation.
With more than 5,000 fully destructible objects on every track as well as 40 deformable parts on each of the 34 vehicles (increased from 16 in the first title), physical interaction in a racing game is taken to unprecedented heights. With a greater emphasis placed on causing destruction on the track by offering greater rewards, game play will be even more frantic than ever. Indeed, Bugbear have spent considerable time overhauling the physics engine for even more realism, and destrouction. Drivers will need to tear into competitors' cars, trash the local scenery, litter the track with obstacles, while at the same time trying to concentrate on their own race in a bid to cross the line first.

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Yet more on-track mayhem.
Other new features in the game include an enhanced Championship Mode. Multiple cups across increasing difficultly levels, each cup contains a series of races that the player competes in for accumulated totals of money and points. The PS2 includes six player online gameplay as well as split screen for up to 4 players via split-screen. Each AI driver now has their own character, biography and individual driving personalities. The inclusion of a garage allows gamers to own multiple vehicles at a time. Speaking of cars there are several varieties. As well as the Muscle cars seen in the original title the developers have added Sports cars, Pickup Trucks and Compacts.

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Racing at night time.
Stunt challenges were one of the highlights of the first title, and they have now been doubled in number from six to twelve stunts to perform. These include the following challenges:
Curling: Throw your ragdoll as close to the curling ring center as possible for best points!
High Jump: Try to hit as high in the high jump net as you can!
Stone Skipping: Jump into the swimming pool and bounce across the surface as far as you can!
Ring Of Fire: Jump through flaming rings, go precisely through as many as you can!
Darts: Hit predestined targets in the darts board and aim for the highest score!
Royal Flush: Form a hand with consecutive card values along with the same suits for the highest score!
Ski Jump: Run down the ski jump slope fly as far as possible!
Field Goal: Score a field goal as fast as possible!
Bowling: Good ol' 10-pin bowling, with you as the bowling ball!
Basketball: Dunk through the highest scoring basketball hoops for the best points!
Baseball: Fly as far as possible after being struck by the baseball bat!
Soccer: Aim for the four corners of the goal and try to hit them as accurately as you can while avoiding the goalkeeper!

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Getting onto one wheel.
One area where the developers are certainly improving the game is with the soundtrack. Bands and songs announced to date include Alkaline Trio (Fall Victim, Mercy Me), Audioslave (Man or Animal, Your Time has Come), The Chelsea Smiles (Nowhere Ride), Fall Out Boy (7 Minutes In Heaven, Snitches, and Talkers Get Stiches and Walkers), Megadeth (Symphony of Destruction), Mötley Crüe (Dr. Feelgood), Nickelback (Believe It or Not, Flat On the Floor), Nine Black Alps (Cosmopolitan), Papa Roach (Blood Brothers, Not Listening), Rise Against (Give It All), Rob Zombie (Feel So Numb, Demon Speeding), Supergrass (Road To Rouen, Richard III), Underoath (Reinventing Your Exit), The Vines (Don't Listen To The Radio), Wolfmother (Pyramid, Dimension), Yellowcard (Rough Landing Holly, Breathing) and Zebrahead (Gimme Some More).

FlatOut 2 looks like being a wonderful addition to the PS2 library later this year and a much improved, upon an already impressive, game. Expect a full review closer to release.