Review by boyscout1025
"Only one flaw is preventing this game from being absolutely perfect."
So, have you heard of Split/Second? Well, you must have, because you are reading this review. Well, I'd better get this review going, before I forget.
Split/Second is a racing game made by the people over at Disney Interactive, the masterminds behind many famous games. The premise of Split/Second is a reality television show that consists of racing (duh.) Well, you may think that this is just another Need for Speed or NASCAR clone, but this isn't. It has explosions. You heard it right, explosions. Now, onto the review.
The gameplay here is pretty solid. It is what you would expect from a racing game. However, there are two aspects that makes this game stand out from the crowd; the HUD and the environmental mayhem. The HUD is cleverly built into the car's rear end, which is only seen by the player who is driving the vehicle. This prevents too much wandering of the eyes from the vehicle, except for a few indicators (position indicators, Power Plays, the timer, and the elimination indicator.) The destruction of the environment is not just for show; these events, called Power Plays, consist of four categories; Level 1 Power Plays, Level 2 Power Plays, Shortcuts, and Route Changes. Level 1 Power Plays are the basic ones of the bunch. These include vehicles exploding, small structures (such as outhouses) exploding, etc. These are kinda fun to look at, and they can be useful, but these can only be used against the weaker vehicles. Level 2 Power Plays are much more visually spectacular. These consist of multi-story buildings being destroyed, sides of mountains going ka-boom, and more. These can be more spectacular to look at, and they can be more devastating than the weaker Level 1 Power Plays. I am pretty sure you know what Shortcuts are; alternate routes that can be utilized to save time in a lap. However, there is a catch; the shortcut will be opened for a few seconds (three to five seconds, roughly) before closing again. The short time before closing adds a strategic element to the race. Route Changes are the (probably) best of the bunch; these Power Plays can change the way a map plays out. These Power Plays can range from the track being cut off, and a new route forming, to large dams being demolished, revealing the insides of the dam. These Power Plays are spectacular and menacing to look at, because they are spectacular and menacing.
There are six game modes in this game; Race, Elimination, Demolition, Air Strike, Air Revenge, and Survival. I think you know what Race and Elimination is, so I will elaborate on the other four. Demolition is a race-against-the-clock gameplay type that is just what you think it is, but slightly different. All of the Power Plays in the track will go off when you get to them, so a layer of strategy is required for this event, making it a fun to play game type. Survival is where you drive past semi trucks in order to score points to get a high score. You think it is that simple, but it's not. The semi trucks shoot out two types of explosive barrels; a blue barrel that makes you spin out of control, and a red, flaming barrel that makes you wreck if you hit it. Despite sounding simple, it is actually fun. Then, there's Air Strike. You avoid a helicopter's missiles to earn points. If you avoid all of the missiles in a wave, you get bonus points. However, if you avoid more waves, there are more missiles that are spewed onto the track. This is a heart-pounding game type that you will enjoy. Air Revenge is a different story, however. The premise is similar to Air Strike, but instead of getting points, you earn power to reflect the incoming missiles. The "quick-run-for-your-lives" premise is not as relevant, but a new feeling emerges. That feeling is the feeling you get when you think that you have to constantly drift and jump to milk the points to fire back the missiles. This is not as fun as Air Strike, sadly. So, in my opinion, this is somewhat of a waste of gameplay.
Then, there's the AI. The AI here is infuriating. It is like the AI here is screen peeking at you. This is not as relevant in the earlier levels of the game, but when you get on to playing this at the later stages, you will have to pay extreme attention to the environment and the hazards around you. And by paying extreme attention, I mean focus all of your attention onto the opponents and the environment around you. It just gets tedious after some hours of gameplay.
Don't forget about the frames per second here. The frames per second here is around 30, kind of like what the television shows like 24 and CSI have. This adds the effect that you are actually watching a television show.
I haven't gotten the chance to play online multiplayer or split screen, so I don't have any grounds to review that. From what I have heard, cars you have unlocked in Career can be played in multiplayer. That means that in order to get a decent position in multiplayer, you have to get a better car in Career. That means no jumping into the multiplayer right from the start. You can take out of that what you want, but I won't include multiplayer in my review.
The story here is very irrelevant. You are a race car driver in a reality television show called Split/Second. You are racing in order to win against the Split/Second Elite Racers. There is nothing else to the plot. The reality TV concept makes room for the TV station icon to appear in the upper-right corner of the screen, followed by the name of the show to appear in the same place, and the reality TV-like intros and exits, which tease the next episode or the events of the current episode. This really makes the concept realistic
Let's look at the graphics (pun intended.) The graphics here are pretty solid. They aren't the best out there, but they are still attractive enough to have an illusion of realism. You can tell that the team at Disney Interactive has put a lot of effort into the game, because of the fact that a few of the cars have retracting spoilers that go out at a certain speed, and that adds a lot of realism to the game. Also, the Power Plays are kind of realistic. Some of the stunts are very over the top and I doubt that about half of them cannot be reenacted in real life. But still, the Power Plays are very attractive. Just look at them, and try not to drool at them. Yes, they are that beautiful.
The audio is music to my ears. Whenever I hear the explosions, I duck for cover every time, they are that good. Plus, the roar of the engines of each of the cars sound like they should. Muscle cars have that distinctive roar, the F1 race cars have that race car-like sound, etc. The music, however, isn't the best in the world, but it is still good. It adds to the atmosphere of the game (which is fast paced), which is a good thing. The tunes are very catchy after a few times listening to them.
The play time on Career Mode is fairly short. It only takes a few hours to complete. Once you complete the game, you can replay previous episodes to improve your position in an event. If you complete all of the events in first place, you can either play them again, play some quick play races, or play local or online multiplayer. That can expand your gameplay experience by a long time, or until you get bored of it. So, the replayability here is great.
My final say for this is to get it if you are interested in buying this. If you just want to check this out to make a recommendation to a friend, rent it and make your decision from there. If you know someone who is into the racing genre and want to give it as a gift, ask if the person wants it first, then give it. In my experience, I loved it, and maybe, you will love/like it too.
Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 06/30/10
Game Release: Split/Second (US, 05/18/10)
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