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Does anybody else think this game is insanely hard?

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<pointless rant>


Seriously, I have 1000/1000 in Burnout Revenge, and I've had a lot of people say that's non-trivial, but compared to this one that game's a cakewalk.


Horrible sluggish controls, rediculous physics, frustrating minigames, and expectation of perfection to progress through the game. I'm at 55/1000 and I think I might quit now before I decide to destroy my TV in frustration.


I've played the first carnage mode race (the water canal one) probably 20 times now and my scores are binary: either about 49K (just short of gold) or about 15K (nowhere near any medal). Seems completely arbitrary as each time I've scored 49K I've done nothing really different than the 15K runs, just lucked out on one or two car crashes.


And don't get me started on the physics, I can plow through a water tower without batting an eye, but a small pylon will throw my car into a flying spin. Or having wreckage that gets stuck on your vehicle. In a derby race I went around a good half a lap with a tire stuck to my roof. Apparently someone decided to lace it with crazy glue so that the poor fool who ran into the tire would be unable to get rid of it. :p


Okay, I'm done now, thanks for listening.


</end pointless rant>

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  • 2 weeks later...
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  • 2 weeks later...

Right. Pedle Zelnip (PZ if you don't mind!), I agree pretty much completely. Matty Cheetham and those of a like mind, please take note, as I'm passionate about games and I feel that "difficulty" of the kind found in Flatout, and gamer acceptance/indifference towards it, is a painful plague that permeates much of the gaming world.


First let me start by saying that I am a very capable gamer. I'm not the best or likely even top 100 of any/many multiplayer games, but there's hardly a singleplayer game/mode I can't manage with a little patience - oldskool or otherwise. Contra, Super Contra, Battletoads, Ninja Gaiden (2D games and Black), Ikaruga, Halo 2 on Legendary and suchlike are all games which I am able to contend with, and all games which I would describe as difficult. Flatout, on the other hand is not a game that I would term "difficult", yet it (or rather a precious few achievements) has caused me far more frustration than any of those games. That is because of 2 reasons that PZ touched upon, but I hope to elaborate. Flatout fails in 2 key areas.


1. Heavily chance-based - Arcade games should generally rely on little or (preferably to my mind) no luck whatsoever. Whether you're the best gamer in the world, or the worst, this should be agreed upon. If you're the best you don't want some NooB to beat you because he got a lucky break, and if you are that NooB, you don't want things to be made any harder by the fact that you're also exceptionally unlucky. Flatout is heavily chance-based not only because of many examples in point #2 (detailed below), but also because the AI performs to extremely different standards in each race. Sometimes you can be in first after driving poorly (15-20 seconds of imperfection), and sometimes you can be in 3rd or 4th after a near-perfect lap. This is BEFORE you take into account any collisions that might take place. Lei Bing's uncanny ability to do a runner exemplifies this senseless situation - she is literally impossible to beat if she takes the lead in many scenarios. Thus a poor player may succeed and a perfect player may fail, all on the whim of chance.


2. Technical competence and consistency - Unlike the genuinely difficult games I mentioned above, Flatout does not have very precise gameworld rules. To give an example of how important gameworld rules are, and how fatal contradicting them can be, imagine a Mario game where Mario randomly jumps just slightly higher or lower than he should. There would be no free flowing running and jumping, and instead one would need to be overly cautious, making for a slower, harder, more frustrating experience. Flatout has several such problems.


PZ mentioned "Horrible sluggish controls," and "ridiculous physics". The horrible sluggish controls, coupled with high speed frequently means that even if you had reaction times of 0.001 seconds, you would still not be able to avoid something, and braking or going at slow speeds is just as likely to put you out of the runnings. This means that reflexes become almost null and void in the game, and luck takes their place. This is worsened by the fact that the screen is cluttered with so many objects that can fly and land in any direction and which will usually send you flying or spinning out of control. Often too, those same objects can be completely invisible. The objects are also subject to "ridiculous physics", and as PZ also points out:


"I can plow through a water tower without batting an eye, but a small pylon will throw my car into a flying spin." - So you cannot logically/skilfully discriminate between dangerous or harmless wreckage and even once you have learnt the different types of wreckage, they may behave in unrealistic and/or wildly different ways.


"Or having wreckage that gets stuck on your vehicle. In a derby race I went around a good half a lap with a tire stuck to my roof. Apparently someone decided to lace it with crazy glue so that the poor fool who ran into the tire would be unable to get rid of it." - I should add that a much more common and critical flaw than the "sticky tire/object" is the "sticky opponent" which happens all too often when you collide, especially in the many pile-ups that occur. The AI even behaves maliciously to create this kind of situation, driving solely for your inconvenience rather than your own benefit - i.e. they drive around the front of you to get stuck on your bonnet, then slowly and deliberately drive directly into a tree, dragging you with them.


I believe that problems such as these (or "the plague") are created and sustained by insufficient or inadequate playtesting, developers who don't know how to make a game difficult/challenging without making it unfair, and by a gaming community that cannot tell the difference or doesn't care about the difference. The people who don't care are either genuine elitist gamers who are in the top 0.1% and can contend with anything, or more likely they are people who don't mind wasting their own time with unnecessary retries/learning curves, perhaps because it's all they've ever known and they acept it as an inherent part of gaming - it isn't! The genuine elitist gamers must be prone to ignorance if they expect that it's ok for mainstream games such as Flatout to be that hard, but in truth (being the ridiculously small percentage that they are) their vote shouldn't really count. Instead it's the "Bluffer's" votes that make the worst difference. A bluffer being someone who finds games too hard but in an effort to disguise that fact, they get on Youtube, watch some genuine pro's video, and make comments about how easy it is to do that or how they can do better. Many of these types are likely to use cheats, and so will never care about the genuine difficulty of a game. Their number is so great, that their voices must be heard, and so serious flaws in games continually go unanswered.


Matty Cheetham, I'm not suggesting that you are an ignorant elitist, nor am I suggesting that you are a boastful bluffer. I am simply suggesting that you reconsider both what PZ is actually getting at, and also what you actually want from your games. If you want:


1. Opponents that cheat in various ways to make up for inadequate AI. e.g. break game rules/exceed possibilities/try to make you lose rather than them win - unless that matches the personality of a specific character/scenario

2. Things that you cannot (humanly or otherwise) react to, leading to many restarts and enforced memorisation

3. A great big dollop of luck required to succeed = more restarts


And if you consider those things acceptable properties to increase a game's difficulty, then I cannot criticise you, but I can only disagree with you on a fundamental level and hope that there are few people who feel the same. If however you don't like what you see there, then please don't tell people like Pedle Zelnip to stop complaining, and please instead join him and try to help turn the global gaming community's (apparent) feelings on such matters around in the common interest of better, fairer, more playable games!

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I blogged my thoughts on this game:


I would be prepared to pay £100 towards a hitman contract.


Whilst the developers were busy masturbating themselves into a coma over the '8000 physics objects in every level' they failed to notice that each of those 'physics objects' is actually a Result Randomiser. It is quite frankly impossible to avoid all of them, so you just have to play with fingers crossed as some you can drive straight through as if they're not even there, whilst some will send you cartwheeling through the air in such an unrealistic - not to mention irritatingly game-breaking - manner that even using the word 'physics' in the same sentence as this game seems ridiculous.


Please note - £100 is what the death of the developers is worth to me. It would be doing the world a great favour, and looking at their website (www.bugbear.fi) they are still developing and even have the audacity to advertise a need for "exceptional people for exciting projects". What could those be? A stab yourself in the eye simulator? A divorce-em-up?


I have got 1000, so am now qualified to write my review, which I will present without exaggeration, in bullet-point form.


- I have played over 1000 videogames in my life.

- Flatout: Ultimate Carnage is the worst videogame I've ever played.

- Success requires more luck than roulette or poker.

- The best player in the world will lose when Flatout hits them with its worst luck.

- The worst player in the world will win when Flatout graces them with its best.

- Winning, therefore, is a simple numbers game. Perseverance x time = success.

- I will never play another driving game again.

- Do not, under any circumstances, play this game.

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daninthemix it's great to see that there others that lament such qualities in games, and your analysis is very accurate. However I think that were it not for those qualities (many of which might be easily adjusted) Flatout would be a pretty great and surprisingly orginal game. It has a lot of great ideas, it's just a shame they were implemented with varying degrees of success and fairness.


chrismjuk, just to clarify, I'm not online, and I've got an (otherwise) perfect 800 in Flatout. I don't want easy points. I don't care if it's easy or difficult, as long as it's (mostly) enjoyable and skill-based. Flatout usually felt like neither, and as such, though it is something that not many gamers are likely to achieve, it isn't something I'm paticularly proud of. It's just that I would've felt even LESS satisfied if I didn't manage to do it.


I suppose though chrismjuk we just fundamentally disagree on this matter, though I will never even understand your side of the argument; where you consider restarting many times due to luck acceptable. There's a lot of games I want to play, and to me that's a waste of gaming time, and I'm becoming less tolerant of such things, and hence less inclined to bother playing such games through to the end.


Who knows, perhaps it's just that I resent such things because I seem to get a lot of bad luck, and others accept them because they get a lot of good luck? But surely such a contest doesn't prove anything about ability?

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Right. Pedle Zelnip (PZ if you don't mind!), I agree pretty much completely. Matty Cheetham and those of


<much beautiful text deleted for brevity>


such matters around in the common interest of better, fairer, more playable games!


That might be the single greatest critique of a game I've ever seen posted in a public forum. Well said.


As an addition to my original comments: I've now played a fair bit more of the game. One of the things I did was got together with a buddy to boost a couple of the achievements which can be done in player matches. What I found was that that was actually an insane amount of fun. Why? Because instead of worrying about the AI screwing you over, I could just simply enjoy the game for being full of crazy, over-the-top crashes. Try getting together with a friend and do a race with both of you in flatmobiles is really fun because it gets so over-the-top with it's craziness (and more importantly because it doesn't matter who wins so the luck aspects don't matter anymore).


After playing with the friend I then sat down with a renewed enthusiasm for playing through Flatout mode. I managed to get through the Derby class and into the race class before getting to the "throw my controller across the room in frustration" point once again. The single-player game is simply not fun (for all the reasons mentioned in azamon's critique), it is purely an exercise in agonizing frustration as you simply have to persevere through it. I've lost count on how many times I've had an absolutely incredible lap, but made up no ground on the computer, or had a lap where I had to reset half a dozen times, yet ended up in first place by the end of it. When you have a situation like that the resulting frustration completely overshadows any appreciation of the spectacle that is the car crashes. The fact that 90% of the time if you're involved in any kind of crash you'll drop half a dozen places means that you spend most of the single player game avoiding crashes, which in a game like this seems contradictory to the purpose of the game.

Edited by Pedle Zelnip
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"The fact that 90% of the time if you're involved in any kind of crash you'll drop half a dozen places means that you spend most of the single player game avoiding crashes, which in a game like this seems contradictory to the purpose of the game." <-- Yes PZ, that is an absolutely VITAL part of any critique of Flatout (which I omitted, along with possibly hundreds of other flaws). That contradiction is something that only the insane could consider to be harmless.


To be fai to Flatout in that sense, I think its own ambition is to blame in some ways, and ambition is usually a good thing. It tries to be too many things at once though, and the attempt at some sense of realism does not mete well with the Burnout school of racing to which its heart and soul belongs.


I imagined Flatout would have an excellent online mode, that (for the reasons you mentioned) would be simply fun and far more enjoyable than single player. It's a shame I'm not on live yet, but I'll give you a game if/when I am.


In fact as an exception to my own stated wish for all arcade games to be 99% skill-based, multiplayer often doesn't have to be. Chaotic random elements can always be fun in many multiplayer games. So much so that skill might not be a required element whatsoever! That situation only becomes (slightly) annoying when some weak-minded, boastful, and/or jammy git type wins several games and considers himself to be superior in ability. Usually however, the feeling of frustration at their unjustified boasting is surpassed by a feeling of sympathy for their lack of intelligence and modesty :)

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  • 2 weeks later...

i also think the game is not an easy 1000, ive got 930 for it or something like tht....thing which i was annoyed about was tht i done all the hard work to get those achievements and thn the online ones fu**** me over cuz actuly NO1 was online and i think u needed 4 to start a game VERY ANNOYING.....oh yeah...i can still remember when u had to do a time trial in thr flatmobile...OMG tht was hard, if ur car hit a bin u would do several backflips and rotations haha....cool carnage though

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  • 2 years later...

It's tough, but some other racing games are harder, like Dirt on Pro, or the final races in MotorStorm on the PS3.


After finishing this game over two years after I bought it, I still think it's the best racing game on Xbox 360. PGR4 is great, and Burnout 3 had the crash events that were ridiculously fun (removing these killed the series for me and my friends), but the amount of stuff and how much this game tries to do with all the physics and graphics and play modes..


It's just the best of what's available, if you ask me.

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