FlatOut: Ultimate Carnage

Preview: We take latest preview code for a spin and crash

FlatOut: Ultimate Carnage is a very pretty game. It's not just the hundreds of individual grass blades that tickle our visual fancy, but the thousands of physically-simulated objects that bouncing around the track - often cracking our windshields - that make it one of the best looking racers in town.

Twelve motors tearing through a hillbilly's back garden is an impressive visual feast, and that's really what Ultimate Carnage seems to be offering over previous instalments; the most visceral, high-octane racing experience bearable in the post-pub, post-chicken nuggets state. We'll have some of that.

The latest build, while still clearly under construction, is already sporting a smooth framerate and solid handling. In case you haven't played any FlatOut before, the game sits somewhere in between Ridge Racer and Gran Turismo in the handling department, providing just the right mix of powers drifts and nitro boosts to keep you happily smashing into trees and other cars.

Compared to the last two games the sense of speed in Ultimate Carnage is fantastic and up to 12 opponents on track at once makes a big difference too. If dealing with trackside shopping trolleys and nitro boosts wasn't intense enough, you've now got to contend with 11 pissed off opponents ramming head-first into your driver's door at every opportunity.

The number of deformable objects littered around the track have also been boosted, moving from an already impressive 5000 in FlatOut 2 to a ridiculously messy 8000 pieces of rubbish in Ultimate Carnage.

Thankfully FlatOut isn't the sort of game to punish you for driving fancy-free into the nearest pine tree either, as your nitro boost will subsequently reward you for colliding into roadside gubbins and knocking competing drivers for six.

Possibly the most impressive aspect is the massive diversity of motors. You've got your Street class (finely polished, tuned-up sports cars) for drifting around corners and woo-ing girls, rusty Derby cars for blowing up and the hulking Race class cars ideal for demolition derbies.

In plane-old gameplay terms it's not looking a world apart from its predecessors, but even in this early stage Ultimate Carnage looks to offer break-neck racing and a plethora of content for eager crash-heads, so we don't think anyone will be upset.

We'll have the review for you as soon as final code becomes available.