Faster than you'll ever be !
adit942 wrote this review on .
While this game, other than the destruction, seems like any other racing game, there's just a little more to it. It's different from most other games because, while all this seems crazy, it wouldn't be completely far fetched to say it can be pretty realistic. How is that, you say? Black Rock thought of that, and gave us this; Split/Second is a TV show. That's right, **** they can do whatever the **** they want! That means that they can throw ****ing airplanes, cooling towers, trains, bridges and skyscrapers at you at least once every race! Similar in style to Criterion's excellent racer Burnout 3: Takedown but with added 'oomph', SS 's premise is made possible through each driver's use of the so-called "powerplay" action. To get these power plays, you usually have to drift around corners or get a "close call", where you barely make it out of another driver's power play. Split into three sections, the meter slowly fills through drifting, drafting and jumping and, depending on how much is filled, will also allow you to trigger one of two powerplay events.. level one and level two are basically the same; level two is just another way of saying that you have two level ones. These do things such as drop explosive barrels, blow up walls, drop beams on you, and helpful things such as opening up shortcuts for a short period of time. Level three is the real damage dealer that does all that you fear. They are usually very epic and the crazy part is that there's some way out of it, creating some awesome action-movie moments like pre-scripted explosions on-track to blast their way into the game's racing carnage with aplomb- a mixture of extraordinary graphical fidelity (some of the best explosions ever witnessed) to brilliant audio cues (a lull of silence before a huge eruption resounds from speakers)- in filling up the "powerplay meter". I'll leave that for you to experience yourself. The non-sensical fun of it all is really what makes this game so appealing. However, Split/Second would not be worth your 60 dollars if they didn't have more than just single player racing. Along with the typical, first one to get here wins event, they have another game type that is not unfamiliar to the racing genre called Elimination. It gets a little crazy from there. They also have detonator, in which you are by yourself and the game makes bad things happen. You just have to go around once to complete it. After that, there's survival. In this, an endless line of big rigs throw explosive barrels at you. A bunch of dummy AIs are also trying to play, but they're really just another set of obstacles. You just have to stay alive until you've gotten more points that the AI holding the top spot. They're a lot more fun than I make them sound, I promise you that. The last one involves another adversary Helicopters. Yes, they make an appearance, and they want you ****ing dead. At first, you just have to dodge them for a while, just like survival with the big rigs. However, after a short amount of time, you are given the power to give them a taste of their own medicine, and that medicine hurts like a **** Hurts so good. As you're driving through and earning your level 3 power play, the targets where the missles will land will turn red, signaling you to press the circle button. When that happens, the missle are turned right back at the helicopter and 1/4 of it's health is gone. You can earn level 1 power plays and take 1/12 of his life which feels faster in the short run, but in the end, you'll want to hit him hard and fast, and 4 rockets is how you do it. The no-holds-barred setting of Split/Second gives the game some pretty awesome levels as well. In order to pull off such amazing power plays, these races need to be placed in certain settings. Airports, power plants, dams, canyons, anything that can be blown up and be put back together to be blown up again.
The graphics, along with the levels, makes Split/Second a pretty good looking game. Motion blur and other such slight touches help make the game even more intense than it already is. The sound of metal and rock exploding from all sides, and other small, but important, details really tie this game together. Along with all this, there's a split screen mode (suprisingly not called split/screen), and a multiplayer that, from what I've played, has been tons of fun. The power plays even the score, no matter where you are, unless you're somewhere around 6 seconds ahead of everyone. This makes the multiplayer unpredictable, which is different from other racing games I've played where if someone is ahead, they're going to win unless they royally screw up; with all these power plays and shortcuts, the playing field is nearly even, creating a fun experience for everyone. I do stress however that it might be best to play through the campaign first to get the best cars for multiplayer, but hey, it's not impossible to win with a car you unlocked during episode six.
To tell you the truth, I couldn't find a whole lot wrong with this game. There can be times when you crash when you weren't supposed to crash, such as getting demolished while driving 200 miles per hour into a huge chunk of air next to the wall, but those moments are few and far between. Some may not like that, after a while, the leader in a race is untouchable, but you're given power plays to stop that from happening. If the leader's farther than even the power plays can go, then the problem's not with the game.Split/Second ultimately punishes those in first with the inability to use powerplays at all (only short cuts can be activated), meaning action at the front of the pack is often the more dull, strange considering the 'racing' aspect of the game. I'd like to have seen some way in which opponent's can still be, maybe indirectly even, given a harder route to your rear bumper (rubber banding accounting for such instances), perhaps incorporating the excellent slow-mo replays to what is happening elsewhere as a result of your actions.
In the end Split/Second is a joy to play. In concentrating on the explosive set pieces, Black Rock have engorged us on an arcade racer that deserves its place alongside the greats of Burnout.
Sometimes, you just want to feel like a badass. Split/Second delivers.