Recently, I have been playing a lot of slow-paced RPG’s or action adventure games like Mario and Luigi: Bowser’s Inside Story and Okamiden. While I love me some RPG’s like you all know, I was getting kind of tired of the slow-paced nature of some of these games. Sure, they may offer something to make turn-based battles more fast paced, but it still had a slow nature and I was just a little overdone by these slow-paced games. I love them with all my heart, but I needed something fast, like a shooter, action, or a racing game. I put up a lot of shooters for the future to review and I put up a couple of racing games that people have recommended to me. After a week or so of waiting for Gamefly to get my game and to get a new one out for me, I was looking to see what games were fast-paced in my list of games to rent, and a week later got a racing game from 2010 that was liked by a lot of people from a company called Black Rock Studios. This studio is famous for a few games like the MotoGP series, the PS2 and Gamecube version of the Italian Job, and Hot Wheels World Race. The game I rented from that company was Split/Second. The name might mean some fast paced action, but I know a lot of racing games have been out like the fun Mario Kart series, ModNation Racers, and Blur, so I decided to get this one due to it reminding me of those Stunmen games or the Burnout series. Let’s get started.
The setting of the game is a racing game show called Split/Second where you take control of different kinds of cars from 3 different classes and participate in multiple events to win more cars and become number 1. Think Deathrace combined with a group of drunk workers who toss stuff like airplane engines, iron beams, and bombs everywhere. This would be a huge hit if this was a real show, but there are some moral issues that would keep this show from being made. I mean, you could actually die, and screw your car up in this kind of game show! Where is the possible danger in that? Oh, wait, moving on, there really isn’t much story, which is nice.
Split/Second’s gameplay is course, a racing game, but with a few twists. It isn’t all about getting into first place. I mean, yeah, most of the situations in this game require you to get in front of everyone else, but due to this being a crazy over-the-top racing game show, expect some “what the heck?!” moments while driving at fast paced speeds. You participate in a number of “episodes” that have about 5-6 challenges that you must pass to get more points to unlock cars and qualify for the next episode. The challenges are just OMG -worthy. I will name a few of the challenges just in case some of you haven’t touched this game yet. One challenge has the normal racing where you try to get in first by causing massive chaos, like huge explosions or buildings toppling down on top of the racer to delay them and get them further back in the ranks. Another one has you deal with a helicopter that is shooting missiles at you and you need to dodge them. Other challenges include staying up front and not being the last one or else in a number of seconds, you will be destroyed, dodging trucks that drop barrels that could make you crash, and just racing against time to be in first place or else the longer you take to finish the level, the lower in ranks you will be in if you don’t cross the finish line. The main gimmicks in a lot of the challenges are the “Power Plays”. Since this game uses drifting as another mechanic, the more you drift or do something fun, you fill up a bar that acts like your “weapon” to cause the racers in front of you to crash or get wrecked. If you fill the bar up enough, you will get to cause a level 2 Power Play and can make stuff really hit the fan. There are a decent amount of levels, but a lot of the times, sections of the tracks will change and give the game a decent amount of variety due to there only being 11 tracks in all. There is split screen offline and online multiplayer where the Power Plays can cause some really chaotic and fun game nights if you play with other people. It is an overall high intensity racing game that always had me gripping my controller tightly
While it isn’t the “most graphically impressive game of all time” like Gran Turismo 5 or again, Uncharted 3, the graphics look wonderful, with a great amount of detail put into the tracks themselves, and you kind of wish you could slow down to see all the little details and all of the power plays that happen frame per frame. The music is also nice, but nothing memorable. It just gives you something to feel intense and extreme about as you barrel past racers that got wrecked by a wrecking ball flying across the road or trapping them within a gas station and making it explode. Once again, this show could never happen in real life.
This game, as fun as it is, has some glaring issues. Let’s start with the glaring issue of the glare of the sunlight! I can’t count how many times I crashed because some glare from the light got in my way and I ended up ramming my fast car into a dang wall! That is another issue, the game seems to be set to evening time ALL THE TIME! I mean, this is like Blur that is stuck in nighttime all the time. This leads to all the levels looking the same. I mean, there are differences, but due to the constant evening time that the Split/Second universe seems to be cursed under, everything looks the same. Since there are only three kinds of cars, you think they would all be useful, but the trucks or the bigger cars are pointless and useless unless you yourself are asking to be set up in a Power Play if you drive one of them. Since most of the challenges require you to get first place to win, there is no way to counterattack against Power Plays that the AI or other players activate. This means there is no Power Play to unleash a bunch of barrels to screw with the racers behind you or anything to protect yourself. I also don’t like how the brake and drift button are the same button. For the first few hours of playing this game, I had an issue of braking by accident when I need to drift and the racers drove past me. This leads to my final complaint, drivers getting in front of you are asking to be killed. This isn’t something like the rubber banding in Mario Kart. If they get in front of you, they are asking to be killed by a Power Play you unlock. It’s like in a shooter when an enemy running out in the open is just begging to be shot in the head by a sniper rifle. This makes the AI racers either good, since they can actually get in,front of you, or they are incredibly stupid when they get set up for a Power Play.
Overall, Split/Second is a very over-the-top and fun racing game that I could recommend for a party night, but can’t fully recommend investing into a full price purchase. It just has a few flaws that weren’t fully thought out that I could see being fixed in a sequel, if Disney Interactive Studios allows this developer to make a sequel because it’s over-the-top, fun, and a blast to race with friends. Hopefully, I can find some more racing games that can be like this one in the future.
This game gets a 6 out of 10