FlatOut for PSP is an exciting prospect. We liked FlatOut Ultimate Carnage on Xbox 360, because it drove without a licence, drank too much, and encouraged reckless behaviour. Its arrival on powerful hardware allowed four extra cars per race, thousands of added objects to smash, crisper and more detailed visuals, and more realistic physics. FlatOut: Head On, inevitably, strips out the extra cars, halves the object count, dips in visual quality and loses the performance grunt, but even at that it should have enough left to power through to your wallet. Should.
The content in Head On is split into two main modes: Carnage and FlatOut. The former is extra-curricular activities based around points and achieving bronze, silver or gold cups. The latter is proper tournament racing. Both were sandwiched together in Ultimate Carnage, which meant the monotony of jostling for grid positions was broken up, helping alleviate frustration. The segregated approach in Head On brings problems into sharper focus.
First is the unforgiving difficulty. Finishing last as a newcomer is understandable, but after hours behind the wheel it seems ludicrous. Part of the problem is the elastic AI, which won't let you get too far ahead but makes no bones about leaving you far behind. And falling behind is ever so easy. Just clipping a competitor is enough to send them or you spinning off into the scenery, which is particularly frustrating if you've been leading for the majority of the race.