I played Split/Second at PAX East

#1 Posted by Ethereal (102 posts) -

On the show floor for PAX East there was a number of demo units showing off Split Second.... here are some impressions that I wrote.
 
What follows is an excerpt followed by a link to my wordpress that contains some video
 

One of the games that I was fortunate enough to get some time with at PAX East in Boston this past weekend was Split/Second.  Developed by UK based Black Rock Studios, which is itself a division of Disney Interactive.  Black Rock previously developed and released the ATV stunt racer Pure in 2008.  Split/Second is an upcoming arcade-style racer set for release on May 18th, 2010.  I got to play through the single race, single track demo that was on display twice.  With the game releasing in just over a month and a half I feel pretty confident in saying that we were being shown close to final code for the game.

Those of you that follow this blog may recall that I also gave some beta impressions for another soon-to-be-released arcade racing game called Blur which is set to release on May 25th.  For those that remember the third person character action game throwdown between Prototype and Infamous in 2009, you may already be asking yourself what differentiates Split/Second from other arcade style racers such as Blur, especially considering their close proximity of release.  While Blur can easily be boiled down to Mario Kart, but with real cars, Split/Second offers us something different.
 
Click here for my full write up.

 For my full write up and the video please check out my blog, welcome any thoughts you guys could provide
#2 Posted by sarahsdad (1087 posts) -
@Ethereal:
I'm curious about a few things, if you have the time: 
 
Was there any split screen multiplayer going on, or mentioned by anyone showing the game? 
When triggering the explosions, etc. do you automatically always use the whole power bar, or could you choose to do a couple of smaller explosions instead? 
 
Maybe the hardest: From your time with them, do you get the feeling that either Blur or Split/Second is an overall better game, or are they just different? I got a very Wipeout vibe from Blur while you mentioned feelings of Burnout while playing Split/Second
I wouldn't normally have asked, but your comparison to Prototype and Infamous made me wonder if you feel that these games are competing for almost the same space, or if there's enough difference for them to stand out.
#3 Posted by Ethereal (102 posts) -

These are all great questions 
 
1) No split screen multiplayer was demoed, but it has been stated that local and online split screen co-op will be in the game when it releases and I do believe that you can do 4 player split screen on or offline. 
 
2) The powerplay meter is broken into three segments.  Normal level 1 power plays use 1/3 of the bar whereas the track altering power plays such as the destruction of the skyscraper in the demo course require the bar be totally filled and then uses all of it. 
 
3) I personally think that both games, despite their similarities, are trying to cater to different segments of the racing game space.  I would say that your Burnout/Wipeout analogy is an apt one.  I think that Split/Second is a pretty fresh take on the combat racing formula, the fact that you have no weapons at all and no boost presents interesting tactical situations regarding how and when you use your powerplays.  Knowing the powerplay zones on each track intimately is going to pay dividends in the long term.  Also Split/Second rewards precision driving and style in a way that Blur doesn't.  At the end of the day success or failure in Blur is going to come more from smart weapons management than pure driving skill.  The ability to use various weapons defensively as well as offensively  adds another interesting layer of tactics.  For the most part every powerplay in Split Second is used in an offensive capacity.  The only time a car behind you is going to get taken out is if they aren't paying attention and end up hitting the smoldering wreck of a car you took out ahead of you.  I think that Blur has a greater pickup and play component since there is very little to explain gameplay wise if the person is familiar with cart racers.  Basically ask "have you ever played Mario Kart?" and if the answer is yes then they know how to play.
#4 Posted by sarahsdad (1087 posts) -
@Ethereal: cool. thanks for the info. Also, I added your outside blog to my rss. looking forward to some of the planned pieces, especially Crackdown 2 impressions.
#5 Posted by Skald (4367 posts) -

Great write-up. 
 
I've been interested in this game for a while now, and I hope it lives up to expectations.

#6 Posted by Ethereal (102 posts) -
@sarahsdad:
Thanks for the rss add, I appreciate it, I'm hoping to get some good writing in this evening.  We've had nice weather here in Ohio of late so I've been struggling to dedicate time to staying inside to write rather than enjoying the sunshine, but those articles will get done eventually

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