Finished the latest Forza? Bored of Burnout? Given up waiting for the new Gran Turismo? Well, there’s a glut of upcoming new racers in the next few months that will be fighting for pole position in the gaming charts… and I reckon Split/Second: Velocity from Black Rock Studio – part of Disney Interactive – has a good chance of coming out on top.
It’s a refreshing change for a racer on the current crop of consoles to not be overly concerned about realism and physics; for those of us who don’t care whether we’re using the correct tyres, have suitable suspension or sufficient understeer, a solid arcade racer is much more fun. Certainly this takes the tried and tested genre by the scruff of the neck and gives it a good, much-needed, shake – focusing on the far more important issue of making it through a race in one piece!
Set under the guise of a fictional reality TV show, winning and survival is all important. Split/Second is fast and furious, gorgeously detailed and more than a little reminiscent of some of the more popular driving games from yesteryear such as Destruction Derby and Carmageddon. In fact, if you cross the scenery smashing elements of Flatout Ultimate Carnage with the adrenaline-fuelled carnage of the Burnout series, you’re pretty close to imagining Disney’s latest offering.
Players don’t just race around the track but trigger explosive events that alter the course, wiping out opponents or creating timesaving short cuts.
It’s scheduled for a May 21 release on the Sony Playstation 3, Xbox 360 and PC – and here are five reasons why it’s likely to race to the top of the charts.
- No game is ever the same. The key selling point of this game is destruction – and there’s plenty of that to be had; players’ interaction with the environment plays a major role. Whereas most racers feature certain elements that can be driven into or knocked down, in Split/Second most of the track can be destroyed or manipulated to improve your chances of winning and beating your opponents. That means that each and every playthrough is completely unique. Fill your powermeter by drifting or jumping about the track and then detonate a tower block so it falls into the path of one of your foes, make a crane collapse, blow up a road… it’s every boy’s dream. Alternatively, for the less vengeful out there, why not leave your opponents alone and simply blow open up a shortcut to get ahead in the race?
- It looks lovely. We all like nice graphics, eh? And these are bright, brash and beautiful. The discreet HUD at the rear of your car ensures nothing distracts from the scenery whizzing past you – shame you won’t get much chance to admire it all as you avoid all the explosions and debris!
- Varied maps and cars. Race around an airport, dockyard or cityscape – and wreck just about everything. Besides a plethora of maps to get to grips with, you also get to choose whether you race round in a supercar, good old fashioned musclecar or a racing truck. Each looks suitably different and boasts its own attributes.
- Multiplayer. Be a shame if all this havoc and speeeeeeeed were restricted to playing on your lonesome, wouldn’t it? Well, those nice guys at Black Rock have ensured you won’t be lonely racing round that track. Why not get your friends over and take them on with the splitscreen mode? Haven’t got any mates? Then play online with other people’s friends in eight player races! Multiplayer is certainly not a new concept for racers but the promise of mass destruction and a few uber-competitive friends sounds like a winning formula.
- The critics already love it. Split/Second has already picked up the award for Best Racing Game in the Games Critics Awards: Best of E3 2009. If they’re impressed, what more reason do you need to part with your hard-earned cash in May???
(Picture credits: Disney Interactive Studios)
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