People From Disney coming over to Towers to show us stuff is a rare occurrence. After all, being a grizzled team of cynics we're not known for our kindly attitude to cute cartoon characters. However, it's unkind to peg Disney's games division as being all about Mickey Mouse. It's also about racing a bit too. After all, they released Pure to a relatively mixed reception, but it was OK. Loading times were rubbish, but the game was reasonable enough.
This time, with Split/Second, Disney and Black Rock Studios are going in for the kill, attempting to skewer us on a gaming kebab that features exciting action, televisual presentation and trains falling onto cars. Plus explosions. Many explosions. There's even going to be online stuff, including the game itself, which will only be available on the PC by digital distribution.
The right way to go or a step in the wrong direction? You be the judge of that.
The Bigger Picture
Those of who aren't fans of aggressive AI drivers in their racing games might want to turn away now. These guys are going to learn your style and react to how you race. If you like smashing up opponents and running their bumpers, maybe they'll counter your tactics. A lot of developers have claimed their racer has this feature before, so it'll be interesting to see if Black Rock can nail it.
The major thing about Split/Second is the power play, a user-activated event that can screw up an opponent or even change the layout of the track. For example, fill up the power bar until the end goes red and, at certain locations, you can cause a train to derail obliterating opponents (and even yourself, if you're not careful), and forcing a change in the route you need to take to complete the race.
Although there's a blend of settings and art styles in the game, the main one we picked up on was how much the setting looked like LA. Black Rock say it's going to be very much influenced by the movies and iconic representations of certain locations, but we'd like to see a race in San Francisco's hills. The opportunities for chaos in such a location would be substantial, we'd say.
Power plays are enabled by doing exciting things in the racd, like slipstreaming behind opponents, power-sliding around long bends and causing havoc. You can then either use small events to derail your opponents or go for the full-on course changing event. Black Rock say racing in the game will be a strategic experience, but that won't compromise its arcade sensibilities.
Fight For Life
There are a few modes that haven't yet been revealed to us, mainly the multiplayer racing. There's going to be the basic championship, which will be the meat of the game, but there's also a Survival mode where you end up, as an example, behind a big truck with explosive barrels flying off the back. Your task in this situation would be to make sure you didn't get whacked in the windshield.
The concept of the game is The Running Man meets that old game MegaRace. You're a participant in a TV show and there's even a commentator building up the next race. Sadly, it's not going to be a Lance Boyle-a-like doing the presenting, which is something we'd like to see. Just not as annoying as he was, of course.
- PC compatible
- Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP