For a game with the words “Total Insanity” in its title, it’s fair to expect a certain level of madness around every corner. The Flatout series’ cornerstone has always been chaos on the racetrack and Total Insanity certainly is chaotic. Being Kylotonn Games’ first Flatout, it makes sense that it would stick to the tried and tested formula. And it works, to a point. Races and the spectacle that ensues are wild and unpredictable in the ways they should be, but beyond the updated visuals, the overall package comes with a mess of annoyances. Uninspired presentation–poor music, bland menus, terrible engine tones–blends in with merciless AI and a broken sense of progression to make Flatout 4 seem more flat than fantastic.
As is standard in Flatout games, the aim of Flatout 4 is to race hard around a variety of open roads littered with objects to smash your way through, Demo Derby-style. You can do this a few different ways: career, Flatout mode, quickplay or multiplayer–either couch competitive or online. Car handling is simple but wildly inconsistent, allowing easy slides and handbrake turns but also leaving you at the mercy of the track. You might run over a small bump and not notice it one lap, only for it to roll you over the next. The AI racers are utterly ruthless–perhaps too much so–as they fling all sense of self-preservation out the window in relentless pursuit of destruction. It’s a common sight to see an opponent fly overhead, upside down and facing backwards, crashing into the side of a house and bringing it down around them, only to land on their wheels and speed off. It’s moments like this where the stars align and, just for that split second, Flatout 4 feels right. But that feeling never lasts long, quickly turning to angst at the idea of having to repeat the same races over again.
Of the four main modes, Flatout is by far the best, offering a series of challenges combining race, survivor and stunt events. It’s the mode that makes the most sense as it’s the easiest to get into,