My friends have probably tired of my promotion of “Pure.”
The Disney Interactive Studios and Black Rock Studio game hit retail shelves in 2008, and I have been telling anyone who would listen that it’s the most underrated game ever released for this current generation of consoles. The off-road racing game was one of the top 10 games to come out that year.
So I have eagerly anticipated the Disney/Black Rock follow up to “Pure” for quite some time. When I finally saw the trailer for said game, “Split/Second,” my excitement grew.
Now, having played “Split/Second,” I can say the anticipation was warranted.
“Split/Second” is also a racing game, but it’s anything but a conventional game in the genre.
Rather than just competing in a straightforward race to the finish, players gain access to destructible environments on each course.
The driver builds up a power meter through achieving in-race goals such as sustained drifting or drafting behind another car. After the meter reaches a certain level, the player can trigger destructible elements on the track in an attempt to wipe out the competitors.
Some events are basic, like an explosive fuel truck. Others are larger, like entire buildings collapsing on the track or an airplane crash landing during the race. The best example I can think of is “Mario Kart” meets “Mad Max.”
Providing “weapons” in a racing game isn’t a new idea, but never have they been available with this size and scope. Surviving the always-present mayhem requires quick reaction time.
The story is framed as episodes of a reality television show. As you progress through the story mode, you unlock new episodes, new cars and new racing modes.
The goals are simple. Win the race or survive the longest to advance.
The television broadcast aspect reminded me of the remake of the movie “Death Race,” but without the terrible.
“Pure” didn’t waste much time with fluff. It was a straight-up racing game that made sure it got the most important part of the game right: the racing.
“Split/Second” achieves the same goal, and it seems more stripped down than “Pure.” That’s not a bad thing.
When racing, the entire screen is clear because the heads-up display is located on the bumper of your car. Not since “Dead Space” has a game used a HUD so effectively.
This game — much like “Pure” — might not be for everybody, but it provides the same level of enjoyment its predecessor did, and I’d find it hard to believe that any fan of the racing genre wouldn’t enjoy it.