Posted 2 years ago By - Nelson Hum
At first glance, it can be easy to have a lot of preconceived notions of Split/Second. Are the spectacular crashes going to be similar to the Burnout series? Is the weapon-based combat going to pale in comparison to Wipeout of Super Mario Kart? Take those pre-conceived notions out of your head: Split/Second is a unique, innovative, and aggressive experience that is not like any other racer out there. Sure, it borrows many familiar elements from the various racing genres, but to use some vehicle vernacular: it’s a spectacular hybrid of a game.
What sets Split/Second apart from other titles is the wonderfully unique Power Play mechanic. You build up a meter buy drifting, drafting, and doing jumps. Once you have built enough energy, you can unleash devastating environmental attacks. Instead of shooting missiles or other explosives at your opponents, you’re causing landslides or dropping airplane fuselages onto the track. The attacks are spectacular and you even have to avoid the chaos yourself. The environmental attacks create fun and unpredictable gameplay that holds a surprising amount of strategy. Should you trigger smaller hazards to gain an early lead or save enough meter to unleash a super attack that can not only wipe out a slew of competitors, but physically alter the course as well? Combine that with shortcuts and the need to time your attacks (the moves are not fire and forget) and you get a very kinetic chess match that constantly has you weighing your options.
The racing is smooth and the controls are very tight. The drifting can take a little bit time to get use to and is not very friendly for racing novices. Often times, you’ll be turning almost sideways before you’re able to adjust yourself. The AI is pretty solid and will race fairly intelligently. While the game manages to be somewhat fair and not have them attack you at the most inconvenient of times, there does always seem to be an opposing car right on your butt no matter how well you’re doing. It can be annoying, especially when you make one critical mistake, but the game doesn’t seem to go overboard with the weapons.
Split/Second also features some excellent game modes that make it more than your standard arcade-style racer. You do have the regular racing mode, but the aforementioned Power Plays make the gameplay absolutely thrilling. Other options include Survival (try to lap a big rig while it drops explosive barrels), Detonator (an ingenious take on the standard time-attack mode where you not only try to beat the clock, but avoid the all of the track’s Power Plays) and Air Attack (you race around the track while avoiding missiles from a helicopter. More modes are unlocked as you go through the campaign and having quick access to them through the quickplay is fantastic.
The single-player campaign is divided into different races and once you get enough points, you have a race off against elite racers. The build up to each “elite” race is a nice challenge and scoring points becomes wildly addictive because it lets you unlock better cars.
Graphics and Sound
The game looks fantastic in HD and the colors are very bold. It really gives you a great sense of speed as you move along at an impressive clip when you get to floor the accelerator. There is very little pop-up and the frame rate remains steady even with the spectacular Power Plays dominating the screen. Again, the Power Plays are definitely a highlight – radar towers crumble, 747’s start to careen down your path, and mountains implode. It’s such a wonderful spectacle. The campaign mode is presented as a reality TV show and the on-screen graphics and promos are fantastic. Special mention needs to go the on-screen layouts. In a brilliant move, your Power Play meter, pole position, and lap display is tucked neatly behind your car. This really opens up the on-screen real estate and lets you soak in the visuals. It’s an ingenious design that every other racer should copy/steal/imitate.
The music is great too. It fits the mood wonderfully as it has a Jerry Bruckheimer summer blockbuster soundtrack flavor. Grandiose and testosterone filled.
The game modes are fun and while they are unique, are few more would have been better. Once you’re done with the campaign mode, you’ll probably just stick to the quickplay. Online is simple and effective as connections are solid and the lobby system is a snap. However, you only get 3 modes when playing online: Race, Elimination, and Survival. It’s a thin offering as but the Power Plays make each race a cerebral and exciting affair.
Split/Second is a unique experience that not only takes the best parts of each racing genre (arcade racer, kart combat) and spins them on their head but refreshes it in a kinetic and exciting way. The game is a frantic yet cerebral offering – a perfect hybrid of a game.
+ Fast and exciting racing
+ Original race modes
+ Deep and challenging gameplay
+ Supurb presentation
+ Graphics and music fit extremely well
+ Solid and challenging online play
- Online race modes are also lacking
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Release Date : 2010/05/18
System : Xbox 360
Publisher : Disney Interactive
Developer : Black Rock Studio
Category : Racing
ESRB : RP
7.0 / 10
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