FLASHOUT 3 (PC) Review

Almost a flash in a pan
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FLASHOUT 3 is, unsurprisingly, the third instalment of the Flashout series from developer and publisher, Jujubee S.A. It’s been over 8 years since its predecessor was released so FLASHOUT 3 seeks to breathe new life into the formula and bring it up to modern standards. With that in mind, is it 3 worth picking up on PC?

All flash and no substance?

In FLASHOUT 3, players take on the role of either Bea or Silas. Both characters have their own backstory and special weapon – but that’s about it. There isn’t much in the way of a campaign here – just a succession of increasingly tough tournaments – and while this might be a missed opportunity, the gameplay itself makes up for this somewhat.

Racing on the gameplay then, you head straight into a series of races after picking your character. These can be standard races with 8 competitors, or more complex elimination and time trial events. To keep things interesting, the standard races let you use weaponry and you’ll be able to fire away at your opponents throughout the race to slow them down or respawn them behind you. Regardless of the mode, your weapons overheat quickly so you have to be careful about using them too frequently.

When it comes to the racetracks themselves, you’ll spot the familiar boost pads that significantly increase your speed and trying to hit all of these is essential to winning Standard races in FLASHOUT 3 – though you’ll also have to master braking and air-braking to control your ship during sharp turns. Elimination races are by far the most intense, forcing you to stay near the front as a timer counts down, periodically eliminating the last player until only one remains.

If you’re a fan of shooting things, there’s a chaotic “Destruction” race mode where you accumulate points for every racer you destroy with your weapons – destroy the most opponents while racing and you’ll be crowned the victor. Lastly, and most simplistic, are the Time Trial races with set times you have to beat.

No need to fix what isn’t broken

By this point, you might have realised FLASHOUT 3 doesn’t reinvent the wheel. It follows a tried-and-trusted formula that has been established by the iconic progenitor of the anti-gravity racing genre, Wipeout. In fact, if you’ve played Wipeout, chances are you’ll find FLASHOUT 3 adequate enough to scratch that anti-gravity racing itch. The downside is that Wipeout is just too good a series of games when compared to Flashout. FLASHOUT 3 just feels extremely watered down in comparison and has a distinct “budget” look and feel to it. It’s quite noticeable from the get-go when you can immediately spot bland and flat textures, while the victory podium cinematic looks incredibly janky.

Another issue is that while the controls in FLASHOUT 3 are fine, there’s just something about it that feels quite stiff and not as fluid as it could be. If you’ve played Wipeout recently, you’ll notice it immediately.

Graphically, many racetracks and visual effects can look great but there’s a ton of inconsistency and some tracks definitely look a lot more visually appealing than others. Weapon sound effects are decent and the explosions sound powerful – especially when you’re blowing up opponents on the track. The one consistently good element is the soundtrack, which is filled with catchy techno music that fits the game perfectly. Other than that, there’s little I’d consider memorable about the presentation.

Final Verdict

Overall, FLASHOUT 3 is an indie anti-gravity racing title that might be worth playing given its rather cheap price point. Having played quite a few anti-gravity race games out there, FLASHOUT 3 is serviceable but isn’t going to be stealing you away from the greats such as Wipeout or, if you want a more recent indie title for comparison – Redout. It needs a lot more to it if it were to do that and that isn’t the case here. That said, there are plenty of hours of enjoyment to be had here and while it anywhere as refined as its peers, it is still fun. The game also supports split-screen co-op and has VR support which is a plus point to consider. There’s a demo on Steam too, so you can give it a try for yourself and see if you like it or not before committing to a full purchase.

A review code for FLASHOUT 3 was provided to gameblur by the publisher.

FLASHOUT 3 (PC) Review

FLASHOUT 3 (PC) Review
6 10 0 1
6/10
Total Score
  • Gameplay
    6/10 Normal
  • Design
    6/10 Normal
  • Visuals
    6/10 Normal
  • Audio
    7/10 Good

The Good

  • The techno soundtrack
  • Some tracks look great
  • Low price on PC

The Bad

  • No real story mode here
  • Can look and feel quite lacklustre at times
  • There are better anti-gravity racers out there
Total
8
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