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Trail Out

I’m a big fan of racing games, especially the games from the Xbox/Xbox 360 generation. Burnout Revenge, Flatout 2, Test Drive Eve of Destruction are just a few of my favorite racing games that combine fun arcade racing with dramatic crashes and a hint of redneck chaos. A modern successor of this type of gameplay would be Wreckfest, which was created by BugBear, the developers of Flatout.

Sadly, outside of Wreckfest, you don’t see these types of games being made often. I’ve wasted quite a bit of money over the years chasing that Burnout high with the likes of Dangerous Driving and some forgettable others, but nothing has really scratched that itch. Until now.

Out came out on Steam two years ago but has made an appearance on Xbox recently. With a $29.99 price tag, I was happy to give a game that looked a lot like Flatout (maybe a little too much like Flatout at times) a chance. Last weekend, I spent some time with the game, and I’ve been enjoying it quite a bit.

The game is made by a small team of developers and while it’s clearly not an AAA game, it still looks pretty good and plays well. The driving is fun, chaotic, and on the edge of out of control, which is what I’m always looking for in these type of games. I’m especially fond of the destructible buildings and clutter on the racetracks. I always thoughtFlatout did a great job incorporating those sorts of obstacles into races and Trail Out does an equally good job.

storyline is cheesy, as are the cut scenes. Basically, you are a down on your luck stunt driver who’s decided to take on this team of racers by starting from the bottom and slowly working your way up. I don’t play these games for the storyline, and I honestly haven’t been paying that close attention to it.

The game has all your typical racing game setups such as starting with a junkyard car and slowly upgrading before buying newer and better cars. Besides winning money from races, you gain fans and can supplement those fans (and money) by doing things like live streaming on the in-game app, accepting in-game social media challenges, and causing damage while racing.

Since I haven’t finished the game yet, I know I haven’t seen all that it has to offer but besides regular races, there are time trial races, eliminator races (where the eliminator cars are shot with a missile from a helicopter and blown up), destruction derbys, a police training simulator (reminds me of Need for Speed Hot Pursuit) and even a weird in-game zombie mode. If you wreck really hard, odds are you are going to fly out the windshield in all its rag doll glory and clearly the game does not take itself too seriously. I wouldn’t go as far to say it’s a Flatout clone, but it’s pretty darn close and of all the other racing games from over the years, it shares more in common with Flatoutthan any of the others.

I have found at least one game breaking glitch. There is an option to buy a new look for your driver and there is one called The Dude that is well… The Dude. Sadly, whenever I try to buy it the game freezes and I have to close it out and reopen to continue.

Trail Out is not perfect. It doesn’t drive as well as Wreckfest and doesn’t look anything like Forza or Gran Turismo, but Trail Out is FUN. It’s off-the-wall, goofy fun, and that’s what I miss the most about video games at times. It’s well worth $30 for fans of classic Burnout/Flatout.

Update April 27th, 2024:
I’m still enjoying Trail Out and recommend it. I’ve encountered an actual game that is straight out Flatout, where you drive your car to a barrier, throw your drivers from it and try to knock down bowling pins.

I also thought it’s worth mentioning, that while I like the game and am having fun, the homages at times are straight rip offs. The game I mentioned before is so close to Flatout I’m surprised they haven’t been sued. There is also a character who looks like he’s from Grand Theft Auto San Andreas, and I managed to finally upgrade my costume to be The Dude.

Most shocking was when I started a race of Batmobiles… if this was a bigger release, I’m pretty sure they’d need a team of lawyers to navigate these waters.

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