May 31, 2010

Review – Split/Second

Filed under: Reviews — Tags: , , , , , , , — Jamie Love @ 11:28 am

Racing around the track while a helicopter launches waves of missiles, which toss the car into a constant series of emergency drifts, I finally put a name to what Split/Second had first reminded me of when I’d tried an earlier build last year.

The arcade flavor of the game – that’s the part requiring players to dodge a near endless chain of explosions while trying to stick to the track – took me back to the first time I played the 2001 revamp of Spy Hunter – a game where the mission action often played second fiddle to controls that made whipping around levels more enjoyable than using the spy toys strapped to the frame.

The Michael Bay minded challenge modes are merely extras that Split/Second adds to break up the pacing of its televised Death Race sans the skulls and inmate motif. Every stage within the game feeds on the central premise of a track wired to explode at every turn like a starving man, and what this creates is a game where even something as simple as a time trial engages the player with a racing experience where survival is a victory in itself.

Mind you, crossing the finish line first is still high on the to-do list.


April 27, 2010

Demo Report – Split / Second

Filed under: Editorial Rants — Tags: , , , , , — Jamie Love @ 9:27 am

Split/Second Demo
So I was more than a little disappointed that the demo for Split/Second only offers up a single-player track – three laps around the airport is all I’ve got to work with here. And let me state the obvious – this makes absolutely no sense, specifically with the goal of “selling the game” via the demo. I’m not handing anything over to Activision’s Blur, but I know plenty of people switched their interest off in the absence of a comparative multiplayer glimpse into Split/Second.

Split/Second is scheduled to release on May 18, only one week ahead of Blur on May 25 – which has had a multiplayer demo hit the press and gamers weeks ago. It’s not impossible to imagine some racing fanatics buying both, but economics makes it one or the other in my world – where the x-factor in making that decision involves how much fun it becomes wrecking my friends online and reveling in that jerk factor. A little bit of mystery is the spice of life, but I can’t help feeling that Split/Second threw in the towel in the fight for more attention.

Again, I’m not handing anything over to Blur just yet. I still prefer what Split/Second has to offer in its approach, a game focused entirely on racing across exploding tracks, with players earning power-play attacks by drifting, drafting, and jumping, rather than tedious item management. The trick often becomes using power-plays without destroying yourself, and there’s plenty of “oh-so-satisfying” moments in wrecking an opponent and watching their auto corpse spin in the air and over your head.

And while I only have that one track to work with, a few dozen laps last night has helped shape some talking points for how the game feels so far.


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