The lights are on
What new ideas the game brings to the table and how well old ideas are presented.
How good a game looks, taking into account any flaws such as bad collision or pop-up.
Does the game’s music and sound effects get you involved or do they make you resolve to always play with the volume down?
Basically, the controller to human interface. The less you think about the hunk of plastic in your hands, the better the playability.
Flat out, just how fun the game is to play. The most important factor in rating a game.
The fantastic moments in Split Second make you feel like you can move
heaven and earth to your will. Sending an avalanche on top of the pack
racing ahead of you or causing a train on a suspension bridge to derail
and crash on the city below are powers worthy of mighty superheroes. The
game puts these spectacular moments at your fingertips, but also
produces enough spontaneous moments to blow your hair back and keep you
guessing. This is a good thing, because when you’ve seen Split Second’s
big moments several times after revisiting the same tracks, you need
reasons to keep you coming back.
The perfect lap in Split Second
isn’t necessarily the one that’s the fastest. It’s the one where you
cause a nuclear reactor to explode at just the right time to take out as
many competitors as you can. It’s the one where you’ve drifted, jumped,
and drafted enough times throughout the lap to constantly replenish
your Power Play meter so you always have a way to trigger the various
explosions and traps on the track to take out the other racers.
you want to use your meter as soon as you can or save it for the big
moments is up to you, but I was usually uneasy with triggering Power
Plays and Route Changes in the game, which was unfortunate. When I spent
my power to drop a bomb on someone from a helicopter overhead, I always
wondered if there was a cool Route Change that I’d be missing out,
because I couldn’t refill my meter up fast enough. But there were also
times when I saved it to no avail because that track’s big Route Change
had already been triggered. In general, I often found myself going out
of my way to drift corners to fill my power meter simply because I
wasn’t sure which strategy to employ. It might not sound like a big
deal, but I often lost track position because of it, and that’s not good
There’s no right or wrong way to use your power meter,
and if you ever get the feeling that you’ve missed something at a track,
don’t worry, because you’ll be racing there again soon. Developer Black
Rock doles out the thrills over repeated visits to a handful of
locations. While I understand the work that goes into the game’s
large-scale moments, and the tracks do offer different experiences as
you re-visit them, going back to these same tracks can get old.
Repetition also spoils some of Split Second’s grand moments.
the game still has the capacity to surprise because of the various
regular Power Plays the competition triggers against you and others.
Moreover, the physics in the game produces varied results. When a car
ahead of you explodes in a heap because a truck on the side of the road
was detonated, there’s always that moment before you drive through a
wall of smoke, debris, and fire where you’re never sure what’s on the
other side. These kinds of moments kept me coming back to the game more
than the giant set pieces.
I also love the different racing modes
sprinkled within the game. Air Survival is like a boss battle against a
missile-shooting helicopter. Survival is an exercise in faith as you try
and dodge explosive kegs spilling off trucks running rampant. I even
liked Elimination (where whoever’s in last place after a certain amount
of time is booted), a mode I normally don’t like in racing games. It
forced me to use my Power Plays differently than in the normal races.
Second achieves a rarity in racing games, because it can make every lap
feel different. This game has plenty of edge-of-your-seat racing and
thrilling moments. Some of the repetition, however, slows it down.
Email the author Matthew Kato, or follow on Twitter, and Game Informer.