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FLASHOUT 3 Review

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A confession – never have I ever played any of the games in the FLASHOUT series. So obviously it makes sense to start with the third game in the franchise, right? Of course it does. 

Developed and published by Jujubee, FLASHOUT 3 wears its inspirations on its sleeve – If somebody crossed out the word “Flash” and wrote “Wipe” in crayon, I’d have no trouble believing it. So, I guess the question this review seeks to answer is this – is FLASHOUT 3 fit to wipe Wipeout’s boots, or is it best forgotten? Well, with a recipe that includes weapons, electronic music and hoverships, let’s strap ourselves in and take to the track. 

flashout 3 review 1
Strap yourself in to FLASHOUT 3

We’ll start by taking a look at the story of the game first, and this really won’t be a long paragraph, as there isn’t one. The sum total of the narrative seems to be that we are a racer and we are, unsurprisingly, going racing. That’s it – there is no delving into why we are racing, no Days of Thunder style redemption arc, just strap in and go. 

What builds FLASHOUT 3 is the presentation and it is pretty good. The tracks themselves are suitably swoopy and twisty affairs, and while it isn’t always easy to see which way to go (especially in the dark fiery tracks), they do move at a good pace. Everything looks suitably futuristic, with neon edged tracks and racing vehicles that bear a passing resemblance to Anakin’s Podracer, as well as generic pointy rocket sleds. The graphics are all very nice to look at. 

Sound is another area where the developers appear to have gone to town, as the pumping “choons” drown out all other noises; from engines to gunfire. You’ll soon be reaching for the volume control before your ears start to bleed. The tunes are fast and match the action very well, but – on a personal level – they are just too damn loud for a 50 year old bloke. Perhaps I’m not the target demographic though. 

So, we’ve looked at the story, and we’ve looked at the way FLASHOUT 3 presents itself. But what about the most important question of all – how does it play? Well, the answer is very much okay. 

flashout 3 review 2
The neon glow of FLASHOUT 3

The controls are not too bad, but the airbrake is absolutely hysterical. Imagine you are playing Forza Horizon 5 and you come up to a bend, thinking “I’d best slow down a little, I’ll just touch the brake” and this then immediately pulls the handbrake and turns you 90 degrees into a wall. You’d be somewhat miffed, yeah? Well, that is the airbrake button here in FLASHOUT 3; either left or right. I have learned to avoid using it, finding it faster to bounce off the banking on the side of the track and recover than it is to use the air brakes. Other than this, steering and accelerating all work as they should – you hold the RT down to go faster and move the left stick to turn the craft. 

The camera is also best left in the “above and behind” default view, as the in-cockpit view is way too distracting – the sheer amount of steering inputs you use to try and fly in a straight line makes your pilot look like they are having some kind of epileptic fit in the driver’s seat. It put me off quite frankly. I also don’t know why, but in the inside view, our driver appears to be wearing washing up gloves…

Luckily, it isn’t just about racing in FLASHOUT 3; there are weapons to utilise as well. Each craft can carry up to three weapons systems, and in a clever touch, each of these has a point cost. Various different ships can carry different amounts of points. So, as an example the first ship can have five points worth of weapons. If a gun system is one point, and a rocket system is two points, you could have two rockets and a gun, or two guns and a rocket, or three guns – whatever works for you. As you progress through the game, more ships and weapons become available, and this bit of customisation is actually pretty cool. 

When you are racing, the three weapons are mapped to different face buttons, and once used, they need to have a bit of time to recharge. If you had visions of driving round the track with a constant stream of gunfire coming from the front of your ship (and yes, I did too) then you will be disappointed. Still, shooting other ships to pieces is pretty good fun, and even if the enemy ships are all being piloted by the futuristic equivalent of the Red Baron (seriously, they never miss!) the combat is pretty good fun. 

flashout 3 review 3
Cockpit view in FLASHOUT 3

There are a few different race types to have a go at through the campaign as well, with straight up racing where the first to the line wins, Time Trials in which you need to nail your best solo lap and Elimination – the person in last place is knocked out every few seconds. Finally is a mode where the person who gets the most kills wins; so far this has proved impossible for me to win. The AI racers are not only crack shots, they are also very good drivers, so this is a brutally hard game where you have to be on your A-game to even finish half the time. 

If you fancy a bit of an escape from the pressure of the AI, there is a split screen, couch versus mode built in as well, which is nice to see. This works very well but one question does remain – why no online multiplayer? It is okay checking your performance on the leaderboards, but sometimes only going head to head will scratch the itch needed for you to prove who is the greatest. 

In a word, FLASHOUT 3 is alright. It isn’t blindly great, nor is it awful; very much middle of the road, except for the stupid air brake. If you fancy an anti-grav racer that isn’t going to break the bank, you’ll find it in FLASHOUT 3.

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