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Split/Second (Xbox 360)
Topic Started: Feb 10 2018, 06:11 PM (34 Views)
Maniakkid25
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This is a game I’ve been meaning to get for a long time, ever since I played the demo. It’s also one of the strangest flops ever, managing to only sell 86,000 in its first 12 days. Considering this is a damn Disney game, how is that even possible?! Well, maybe we can shed some light with this…

Graphics:

As you might expect, the game looks great. Each of the cars has a distinct look and feel to them, and the environments are beautiful when you actually decide to take a look. And the way things blow up never gets old. OH YEAH, the explosions! This game has explosions like it’s Michael Bay’s wet dream! The game even highlights them sometimes with a friggin’ replay button. But, I suppose I should save that for the gameplay, shouldn’t I? If I had one complaint, it would be that the cars wreck like they’re made out of paper mache. Not mechanically, just visually; they’ll crash into a wall, and suddenly the front and rear disintegrates. It kinda looks dumb.

Score: 8/10

Gameplay:

You ever play Ridge Racer? What about Burnout? Imagine that, but with enough explosions to satisfy Mister Torgue. That’s this game.

So, the game plays like an arcade-style racing game (and you have NO IDEA how refreshing it is to play a game that isn’t trying to be a hardcore racing sim). You hammer down the gas, you tap the brake to drift, and you actually are faster in a turn drifting than taking it normal. Drive fast, drive hard, win. It’s not trying to simulate driving; it is just trying to be fun.

The game’s HUD is VERY unobtrusive. Your HUD displays 3 things: your place, your power, and what lap you’re on. If you’re doing a time attack, it displays your current time and the time you want to beat. If you play in third-person, like me, then the HUD wraps around the car, staying nice and tucked out of the way. If you play in first person, then it’s at the very bottom of the screen, making sure to be as far away as possible from where you need to drive.

And then, the explosions. Oh, the glorious explosions. So, as you drift, draft, and jump, you gain power. Gain enough power, and you get a bar of power, maxing out at three. With this, you can activate “power plays”, which means usually means something on the track blows up to try and wreck the other drivers. The AI will break from so much as a stiff breeze, but any players are actually very resilient, meaning it takes good timing and placement to take them out. There are two levels of power plays; level 1 takes a single bar, and level 2 requires all three. This is denoted by blue and red icons that will appear when a racer is near a power play and currently ahead of you.

On top of just wrecking other players, you can activate shortcuts with a level 1 power play, creating a temporary passage that bypasses a more complicated segment of the race. If you time this right, you can get other players to crash into it as it’s closing (and the game will tell you that you wrecked someone this way). With a level 2 play, however, you can cause a route change. This means that a MASSIVE section of the track is completely rewritten by causing what can only be described as chaos. Depending on the track, something humongous with be destroyed to cause a new section. If you play the demo, then you know the airport can have its route changed by destroying the air traffic tower. I’ve seen aircraft carriers blown up, ships in a dry dock destroyed, trains derailed, even a Space Needle analog dropped in the middle of a city! And if your timing is good, you can wreck players ahead of you by the route change. And you always activate this at a place to get an amazing view as the destruction occurs.

If I had one complaint, it’s this: the game is hard. Like, legit hard! There’s rubber band AI, often meaning the same car is magically faster than you, but the AI knows about the power plays, and they WILL activate it given the chance, whether it be other AI or you. And the AI has its own power it keeps track off, making a route change area a nerve-racking part of the track to drive through, because you don’t know if the AI will activate the route change to wreck you.

But here’s the thing: even with the rubber band AI, the game is only hard because it’s designed that way. The racers are faster than you, but this can be overcome by correct timing of drifts and power plays. Simply put, the game rewards mastery of your vehicle, the physics engine, and your knowledge of the track hazards. It can be frustrating at times, but it’s never something that can’t be overcome by luck alone. Simply put, the game is hard, but it’s for the right reasons.

Oh, and there’s also two modes where an attack helicopter is constantly firing missiles at you, and you have to dodge them. And one of them lets you reflect those missiles right back. IT’S SO MUCH FUN!

Score: 10/10

Sounds (of) Music:

If you’re expecting the cars to sound like cars, you’ll be sorely disappointed. Outside of that, the sound effects are great, and the explosions sound like they have actual force behind them. There’s audio cues abound to let you know when you have power ready and when you activate a power play, and the music reflects the tension and thrill that you get while racing. There’s very little VA, but what VA there is PERFECTLY fits the game. I just wish that the car noises didn’t constantly drown out the music, though you can actually hear the rest of the game drop out in sound when a level 2 power play is activated, ensuring that you know that something wicked comes that way and better highlight the destruction noises that happen.

Score: 8/10

Story:

I’m actually not going to count this towards the game, because there isn’t really a story. The whole concept of the game is that this is a TV show, and so it sets itself up like that. The only time you hear VA after the tutorial is the Voice Over previewing the “episodes”, and the game even has a little icon in the top right while you play branding the TV station and the show. And because it’s not really trying to tell a story, it doesn’t have to bog itself down with any drama other than the dramatic previews (you know the ones; the ones where they say “This time, on Split/Second, X is gonna happen” alongside preview shots to make you want to keep watching). The game is about the race, so it’s not really fair to call it a story.

Score: N/A

Overall: 26/30, or 8.67/10

The fact that this game flopped is one of the biggest slaps in the face I’ve seen for a long time. In a time where Burnout and Midnight Club had killed themselves, Ridge Racer had faded out of the limelight, and Need for Speed was basically all we had if we didn’t want to play Forza, Gran Turismo, or Dirt/Grid, this game could have had its place as the arcade-y racing game that was just about having fun! It was basically the video game equivalent of the summer blockbuster: fast, loud, and having more explosions than Michael Bay can dream of. But no, Disney apparently didn’t give a crap, and this is the game that killed Black Rock studios, ensuring that this game will fade into obscurity. It’s a goddamn shame.
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Moonface
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Dafuq u doin?

Maniakkid25
Feb 10 2018, 06:11 PM
If I had one complaint, it would be that the cars wreck like they’re made out of paper mache. Not mechanically, just visually; they’ll crash into a wall, and suddenly the front and rear disintegrates. It kinda looks dumb.
The first thing that came to mind when I read this was how the cars crumple in BeamNG. Would you say the way the cars crumple in the two games are similar, or is this particular game worse/better in that respect?
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Maniakkid25
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Unless the front and rear ends literally shred itself from the main body from the slightest crash out, no. They literally disintegrate, and go flying from the body, the body then rolling about 5 or 6 times before coming to a stop. Though I did forget to mention, unlike burnout, it's not obnoxious with its crash outs; if you crash, you are back in the race in at most 3 seconds.
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Mr EliteL
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I take it this was a XBOX 360 only, since I have never heard of this, or remember seeing anything related to it. Does sound like a fun game, worth something to watch a gameplay video of. Good review, didn't expect the final score from hearing how much of a flop it was at the start.
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Moonface
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Dafuq u doin?

Mr EliteL
Feb 14 2018, 11:47 AM
I take it this was a XBOX 360 only, since I have never heard of this, or remember seeing anything related to it.
It did come to PS3 too, but in Europe the game is known as Split/Second: Velocity for some stupid reason.
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