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Gaming Evolution
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Gaming Evolution
Gaming Evolution
Published By: Disney Interactive
Developed By: Black Rock Studios
Genre: Racing
Players: 1-8
Rated: T (Teen)
Release Date: May 18, 2010
Screenshots: Link
Amazon: Buy Now!
Written By: Matthew Prunty

May 28, 2010 – When it comes to racing games, the genre has always been divided between simulation and arcade style racing. While each individual has their preference, nothing could sway the attention and satisfaction games like Ridge Racer, Burnout or even Pure were getting within the gaming community. While Burnout has been tearing up the tracks as the best arcade-style racing game out there, Disney Interactive with the help of Black Rock Studios have slowly been honing their craft, which has resulted in the adrenaline-rushed racer known as Split/Second. The excitement you get when you watch your favorite movie or TV show and have the pleasure of seeing a car barely escaping the terror of falling building or an upcoming wall at high speeds; will be experienced with Split/Second. Fans of racers like Burnout and Project Gotham Racing get prepared for the thrill ride of your lives.

While Split/Second features elements eerie similar to games like Burnout and Project Gotham Racing, it has a style and presentation all its own. It combines the stylings of a hit TV series with Hollywood style explosions to create an experience like no other. Each race is broken down into an episode of one of your favorite shows. Upon finishing the race and starting a new race, you will hear phrases like “next time on…” and “previously on…”. Being someone who watches a lot of TV when time allows for it, I like this concept that Black Rock Studios has brought to the game. I will say though that it will wear there after awhile, but it doesn’t do anything to damper your spirits about your next thrilling race.

Split/Second’s gameplay design is very unique and interesting when it comes to racing games. With the implementation of the Power Play mechanic, no two races are every really the same. How this mechanic works is by building you meter gauge through drafting, drifting and jumps. This meter has three different levels of destruction it can bring to a race. You can bomb your fellow drivers from a hovering helicopter, or go all out and level a lighthouse only to have it falling all over the road in front of you. These power play techniques can be both a blessing and a curse while on the battlefield that is the race track. Unlike some games, the computer-controlled opponents in Split/Second know how to dish out the pain, frustration and total destruction that these power plays bring about. I found myself on several receive ends of buildings being leveled in front of me, often enough costing me a couple of places in the race… that is until I learned their pattern and how they like to attack one another.

While you will definitely have to worry about last minute power plays coming from the A.I. drivers which can result in you not finishing the race in 1st place, you can advance through the game without even finishing in 1st place in a race. Throughout the single-player campaign, as long as you place at least 3rd in each race, you can and will earn enough points to unlock to tracks and new vehicles for you to race with. This is certainly a good thing, though there will those gamers out there that will still replay the race just to claim that elusive 1st place finish. No matter if you are trying to acquire 1st place, 3rd place or simply trying to hang on for deal life; every time you pick up the controller you can expect a fight on your hands.

Frustrating A.I. opponents won’t keep you from enjoying the diversity which Split/Second brings to the table in a big way. While you can certainly get you fills with this game if there was only one race type, however Back Rock Studios has opted to include several different ones which you will partake in during the single-player campaign. You will have races where you must place in top spot, while there are ones where you must avoid exploding barrels which are tossed off the side of a truck in front of you. The most intense race for me is where you are the only vehicle on the track and you must avoid missiles being fired at your by a lunatic ad the controls of a helicopter. This diversity keeps each and every racing encounter interesting and entertaining from beginning to end.

Whether driving a super car, muscle car or a truck, drifting and drafting take center-stage within each race. By utilizing these techniques, they allow you to catch up a car out in front of you, allowing your power plays to be more effective, unless of course you simply want to pass the driver without using one. The bigger the vehicle, the less affected it because when an explosion goes off near your vehicle. Though this bit of information I knew ahead of time, I wanted to test it out, so most of the time I drove the super cars, before switching to the muscle cars and then trucks. Once I made the switch from vehicle class to the next, explosions that went off near me had little effect on my driving beyond the occasional spin-out trying to avoid said explosion. I have to say that the developers were right on the money with the feature, though I just had to test it out to see for myself.

Split/Second’s visual presentation is very solid for the most. The decision to place the HUD of the game on the backside of the vehicle you’re driving is genius as it allows you to stay immersed in the race, which ties into the whole TV series presentation the game gives off. At first it feels a bit awkward because a majority of racing games gave you a HUD that wrapped around the screen. The environments are well designed and visually pleasing on the eyes. The shear amount of special effects from explosions, buildings crumbling before your eyes and new routes opening up because of said destruction is a testament to the dedication of Black Rock Studios. Another nice touch to the game is that when you acquire trophies within the game, a sticker decal for said trophy is placed on the body of your vehicle.

Replay – Though the single-player campaign is more than enough action to satisfy a person, there is also an engaging multiplayer mode, which offers up to 8-player mayhem via your local internet provider. A downer for the online multiplayer is the fact that if you didn’t play through the single-player campaign first, you won’t have any cars to race with. With every car you unlock in the campaign, said car becomes available within the multiplayer mode. The multiplayer mode is pretty barebones; however you are given the future of adding in A.I. drivers if you don’t have enough drivers to fill a race. The game also includes local split-screen for up to two players, which will appeal to those who don’t have a taste for the online world.

Though the online multiplayer is not as engaging as other racing titles, Split/Second still provides an immersive experience full of close calls, last minute deal breakers and destruction not seen in any other racing game to date. With solid visuals, sever different racing modes to choose from and the feeling of not being safe anywhere on the track, Split/Seconds keeps the player on his toes and hands gripped tightly to the controller in hopes of simply surviving the race. If you haven’t picked up this game, I suggest you do so now. If you lover the burnout series, you owe it to yourself to be immersive within this game.


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