I'm Not Here to Make Friends: Split/Second Multiplayer Hands-On

Posted by Ryan (1263 posts) -
 Made-for-TV mayhem!
After spending an hour and change earlier this week playing some eight-player Split/Second, I think the best way I can describe Black Rock Studio's gleefully over-the-top action racer is "Burnout in reverse." The Burnout series has always placed a premium on the fine art of the car crash, fetishizing every crinkled fender and every pebble of safety glass as your imaginary insurance premiums head skyward. While chassis will get plenty gnarled in Split/Second, it's far more interested in how. 

That how is facilitated by Split/Second's cheeky reality-TV premise, which treats the matchstick city you're racing around like a giant soundstage rigged with explosives. Triggering these explosives is the crux of Split/Second. By drifting, drafting, and catching air, you fill a meter that lets you trigger "power plays"--destructive events bound to specific sections of the track--the idea being that a well-timed power play will monkey up an opposing racer ahead of you. You'll find there are several tiers of power plays, ranging from an explosive barrel being dropped from a helicopter hovering over the track to the botched landing of a 747... directly on top of your car. Fill your meter up enough, and in many cases you'll even be able to change the track itself.

The more incredible power plays are unlike anything I've seen in a racing game before, and even when they just end up resulting in an unreasonable amount of chaos, they can be a spectacular thing to witness. The folks at Black Rock haven't been afraid to namedrop Jerry Bruckheimer and Michael Bay's names when talking about Split/Second, which seems fully justified based on the kind of ornately choreographed mayhem I've seen in the game so far. It certainly didn't hurt my impression of the game that I was thoroughly trouncing my competition at the event. We mostly played straight races, which were overwhelmingly chaotic. The experience was occasionally mixed up with a mode where tanker trucks tossed explosive barrels out the back. During these races, your performance is gauged by how many of these moving caravans of destruction you could overtake without getting blown to smithereens.

Despite my near-sterling race record, I was still occasionally met with frustration playing Split/Second.There were a few races where one driver would break out far enough ahead of the pack early on, making them untouchable for the rest of the race, leaving everyone else to scrabble for second. Not to play armchair game designer here, but when such a situation cropped up, I felt like I should've been able to sacrifice some portion of my power play meter for a little boost.

My time with Split/Second left me acutely aware of some of the game's outstanding issues--specifically with regards to the consistency of the frame rate--but I'm more excited than ever for its May 18th release.     
 
  
#1 Posted by Ryan (1263 posts) -
 Made-for-TV mayhem!
After spending an hour and change earlier this week playing some eight-player Split/Second, I think the best way I can describe Black Rock Studio's gleefully over-the-top action racer is "Burnout in reverse." The Burnout series has always placed a premium on the fine art of the car crash, fetishizing every crinkled fender and every pebble of safety glass as your imaginary insurance premiums head skyward. While chassis will get plenty gnarled in Split/Second, it's far more interested in how. 

That how is facilitated by Split/Second's cheeky reality-TV premise, which treats the matchstick city you're racing around like a giant soundstage rigged with explosives. Triggering these explosives is the crux of Split/Second. By drifting, drafting, and catching air, you fill a meter that lets you trigger "power plays"--destructive events bound to specific sections of the track--the idea being that a well-timed power play will monkey up an opposing racer ahead of you. You'll find there are several tiers of power plays, ranging from an explosive barrel being dropped from a helicopter hovering over the track to the botched landing of a 747... directly on top of your car. Fill your meter up enough, and in many cases you'll even be able to change the track itself.

The more incredible power plays are unlike anything I've seen in a racing game before, and even when they just end up resulting in an unreasonable amount of chaos, they can be a spectacular thing to witness. The folks at Black Rock haven't been afraid to namedrop Jerry Bruckheimer and Michael Bay's names when talking about Split/Second, which seems fully justified based on the kind of ornately choreographed mayhem I've seen in the game so far. It certainly didn't hurt my impression of the game that I was thoroughly trouncing my competition at the event. We mostly played straight races, which were overwhelmingly chaotic. The experience was occasionally mixed up with a mode where tanker trucks tossed explosive barrels out the back. During these races, your performance is gauged by how many of these moving caravans of destruction you could overtake without getting blown to smithereens.

Despite my near-sterling race record, I was still occasionally met with frustration playing Split/Second.There were a few races where one driver would break out far enough ahead of the pack early on, making them untouchable for the rest of the race, leaving everyone else to scrabble for second. Not to play armchair game designer here, but when such a situation cropped up, I felt like I should've been able to sacrifice some portion of my power play meter for a little boost.

My time with Split/Second left me acutely aware of some of the game's outstanding issues--specifically with regards to the consistency of the frame rate--but I'm more excited than ever for its May 18th release.     
 
  
#2 Posted by GleasonRyan (244 posts) -

you are not here to make friends, you are here to kick ass and chew bubble gum. And you are all out of bubble gum.

#3 Edited by cuzintheboss (97 posts) -

sounds cool. 1st

#4 Posted by Smokay (526 posts) -

Still think blur looks better

#5 Posted by Brackynews (4094 posts) -

I'm looking forward to see how one can reasonably hope to dodge these disasters.  What's it like on the next lap, etc.

#6 Posted by Atomasist (2818 posts) -
@cuzintheboss said:
" sounds cool. 1st "
Nope too slow.
#7 Posted by Colin (707 posts) -

I want to see the choas more than actually playing the game.

#8 Posted by Chubbaluphigous (571 posts) -

That AI thing could be real sticking point. Motorstorm had that problem for the late game races.  However I am still planning on buying it.  It has more promise to me than Blur. 

#9 Posted by Milkman (17202 posts) -

I don't know, this isn't exactly the most overwhelmingly positive preview. We'll see.

#10 Posted by Greendomo (2 posts) -

Red Dead and Split/Second in one week? Decisions decisions...

#11 Posted by SeriouslyNow (8534 posts) -

Glad to see Sydney being totally fucked up.  :)

#12 Posted by Crono (2698 posts) -

Well this just got on my radar :)

#13 Posted by Capum15 (4966 posts) -

That trailer was pretty cool.
 
Looks pretty interesting. Hope a demo comes out.

#14 Posted by OllyOxenFree (4981 posts) -
@cuzintheboss said:
" sounds cool. 1st "
Not this time, looooooooser.
#15 Posted by Redbullet685 (6068 posts) -

Cant wait to play this

#16 Posted by chaosquack (10 posts) -

So this game is all about driver created terrorism, I LIKE IT!

#17 Posted by DannyJ (445 posts) -

Saw it on JTV, kind of looks like burnout

#18 Posted by get2sammyb (6412 posts) -

If the frame-rate's fucked though it's going to be rubbish? What fun are amazing explosions if they run in jittery slow-mo?

#19 Posted by OmegaPirate (5522 posts) -

if the frame rate is solid then this is a day 1 for me 
 
if the frame rate sucks then im not too sure - but i like real big explosions and i like driving cars fast into big explosions <3

#20 Posted by random_guy23 (256 posts) -

I hope this game is a winner, as I really enjoyed Pure. The only possible let down for this game is the frame rate. I hope that they somehow find a way to keep it smooth.

#21 Posted by masterpaperlink (1869 posts) -

Burnout without constant map checking... and explosions? Perfect

#22 Posted by Bayne (42 posts) -

This looks all right but it kinda seems a lot like a Michael Bay film. All action no substance.

#23 Posted by Edin899 (629 posts) -

who is gonna buy this when red dead redemption is out around the same time..

#24 Posted by Curufinwe (1267 posts) -
@Edin8999 said:
" who is gonna buy this when red dead redemption is out around the same time.. "
People who like racing games, not open-word action games.  What a stupid question.
#25 Posted by rpratts (76 posts) -

Hmmm I'm not to sure about this one.

#26 Posted by thealexray (66 posts) -

I recognized Frisco and Seattle. So "fuck up your hometown" is a selling point for this game?

#27 Posted by 234r2we232 (3181 posts) -
@Edin8999 said:
" who is gonna buy this when red dead redemption is out around the same time.. "
What's this? Didn't they already release GTA like 2 years ago?
#28 Posted by MjHealy (1867 posts) -

If it comes down to Red Dead and this in this same week I am going for some Red Dead.

#29 Posted by andrewf87462 (569 posts) -

Nice little preview their, and after watching the video, the game looks pretty sweet! i've downloaded the multiplayer demo so will have to go and try this out.

#30 Posted by Vinchenzo (6192 posts) -
@andrewf87462 said:
" Nice little preview their, and after watching the video, the game looks pretty sweet! i've downloaded the multiplayer demo so will have to go and try this out. "
That's the sad part... the multiplayer demo is of Blur, but this game is Split/Second. Both games look disgustingly alike, at least to me anyway.
#31 Posted by Edin899 (629 posts) -
@Curufinwe said:
" @Edin8999 said:
" who is gonna buy this when red dead redemption is out around the same time.. "
People who like racing games, not open-word action games.  What a stupid question. "

There are still plenty of people who like both and when red dead gets 9's and 10's across the board and  this game 8's and maybe a 9. They know what to get.
#32 Posted by Edin899 (629 posts) -
@sofacitysweetheart said:
" @Edin8999 said:
" who is gonna buy this when red dead redemption is out around the same time.. "
What's this? Didn't they already release GTA like 2 years ago? "

Really...your a idiot if you don't think red dead looks good or amazing.
#33 Posted by Baconation (2 posts) -

One of a few interesting racing games this year.

#34 Posted by S0ndor (2716 posts) -
@cuzintheboss said:
" sounds cool. 1st "
Quoted so we can all bask in your failure.
#35 Posted by nail1080 (1975 posts) -
@Vinchenzo said:
" @andrewf87462 said:
" Nice little preview their, and after watching the video, the game looks pretty sweet! i've downloaded the multiplayer demo so will have to go and try this out. "
That's the sad part... the multiplayer demo is of Blur, but this game is Split/Second. Both games look disgustingly alike, at least to me anyway. "
I played the Blur demo...damn that game is dull..
#36 Posted by JustinHopewell (44 posts) -
@Bayne: @Bayne said:
" This looks all right but it kinda seems a lot like a Michael Bay film. All action no substance. "
As opposed to all those other racers with a deep story and meaningful moral lessons?
#37 Posted by Zaapp1 (660 posts) -

I can see how the early lead would be a game breaker... Maybe they should implement some kind of window that shows the 1st place car's point of view so you can activate stuff in front of him even when you're towards the back.  Just an idea.

#38 Posted by angryjedi (2 posts) -

I played Split/Second at PAX East (only in single-player, though) and thoroughly enjoyed it. It's different enough from Blur to make it a unique experience, and the reality TV concept is a clever way of putting in a ton of variety to the different events. Blur is great, too, but I feel its primary focus will be multiplayer. Split/Second, I feel, will be predominantly a single-player game. I do stand ready to be corrected, though.

#39 Posted by Ulquiorra (64 posts) -

I think this looks a bit more promising than Blur but here's hoping that a new Burnout gets announced at E3 2010.

#40 Posted by Meltac (2006 posts) -

SPLIIIIIIIIIIIIIT SECOOND

#41 Posted by ShaunassNZ (2128 posts) -

Cool

#42 Posted by cximran (52 posts) -

I played some of this at PAX - I'm a little worried about the frame rate, I'm not sure if I enjoy racing games that aren't at 60 frames per second (aka the only racing game I enjoy apparently is burnout).

#43 Posted by krechit (1 posts) -

Sounds rad... but still framerate issues? Racing with frame rate issues is a major no-no.

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