Split/Second Preview (Xbox360)

With some truly impressive big-hitters ready to play at this yearís Eurogamer Expo, many will have overlooked Split/Secondís potential. On the surface, itís just another racing game trying to puff itís chest out in a market dominated by the Forzaís, Gran Turismoís and Burnoutís of our time. Give it a try however, and youíll witness a driving game that loves to make a scene. Itís loud, explosive, and will have you gaping at the screen in awe- just like the crowd around us was when we got hands on with this beauty.

Thatís what Split/Second is all about. Only a few playable screens were set up for this title, but the gameís appeal inflicted a nagging urge to give it a try after walking past it one time too many. Itís sense of speed and graphical prowess could be spotted a mile off, but that isnít enough to set it apart from the rest, not in a month that saw Forza 3 turn up looking gorgeous on the asphalt. Itís once you get a controller in your hands and the starting lights shine that you realise this could be the sleeper hit of the year.

It's explosive, it's dangerous, it's fun too!
Expect anything and everything to destruct just in time for you to blaze through it.

Split/Secondís premise is simple: players race in a fictional reality television show, and are tasked with winning races by any means necessary (think Madworld with greater speed and less of the stylish gore). What we have here is a title that doesnít care for the craft of driving; its throttle to the floor, sit back in your seat kind of stuff, as it becomes apparent that not all racers need to be realistic to be entertaining. Environments are what make Split/Second so thrilling; youíll learn to love them, fear them, and certainly dodge the hazards they throw up within minutes of taking control.

Although Split/Second wonít have you worrying about which suspension you have fitted, or if the air pressure in your tyres is correct, there is a decent amount of strategy here. From what we played, being in pole position early on doesnít necessarily mean youíre clear to get away from the chasing pack. In fact, we felt most dominant in second or third place until the final lap, as you get the option to trigger an array of opponent-crushing events that leave each track in tatters. By hitting the correct button youíll witness buildings blowing up to your side, windows being smashed all around, and even the crashing of a plane; a phenomenal sequence that forces you to tackle it head on.

With only one track ready to play, itís apparent that Split/Second may fall short of greatness due to an obvious problem: repetition. Itís great fun to drive round such obstacles, which all offer a genuine threat, but after replaying it a few times, youíll know what to expect. Itís a title that very much suffers from the Stuntman syndrome- once youíve driven through a level a few times, its sequence of epic events will eventually ware thin. With that said, there is room here for great innovation, and it is difficult to judge the titleís depth at such an early stage.

Just hit the throttle and go; Split/Second is a no brainer.
Hazards can open new paths and quicker ways to make it to the finish.

Luckily, Split/Second looks like it can be enjoyed by all. You neednít worry about braking at the correct time, just simply accelerate until bonnet meets wall. We were all over the place and followed the racing line of George Michael on a night out, but that didnít stop us from claiming victory. After weeks of Forza 3, itís refreshing to crush the competition- quite literally- by smashing into the barriers. Split/Second throws realistic driving out of the window in favour of creating carnage, and is sure to be immensely popular in the online world. We canít wait to get our hands on the final build and belt up for what is surely going to be the fastest, most intense multiplayer experience in a long time.

After a solid showing with Pure, Black Rock Studioís Split/Second is looking to take everything to another level. Graphically superior, faster, and spectacularly over-the-top, thereís no surprise that we left the Eurogamer Expo feeling most impressed by its nerve. Definitely one to watch out for, Split/Second will leave you blown away by itís unsubtle formula of high-octane racing and tremendous event sequences.

Top Game Moment:
Driving under an aeroplane that is crashing to the ground- this game loves to provide thrills.

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By Jake_SI (SI Elite) on Jun 30, 2009
Now THIS is my kind of racing game haha.. absolute chaos. I might actually get back into racing games now or at least when this comes out, looks like a blast!
By melzerith (SI Core) on Jun 30, 2009
IF they have the EVO and the Skyline I'll play it
By Jake_SI (SI Elite) on Nov 10, 2009
I just want a mustang :)