...Is all that it takes to win or lose a race in this high action racing game. You, yes you, are a contestant in a reality series called Split/Second. Your job is to race your way to the top of the podium during all 12 episodes in the games career mode, and you've got your work cut out for you.
Each episode has 6 races of varying types; Race, your standard race (with explosions!), Eliminator, Detonator, Survival, Air Strike, and Air Revenge. Eliminator is like king-of-the-hill/elimination races... With explosions, and Detonator is time-attack except for someone who holds a giant red button (I want his job) blowing up everything around you as you drive. These three are your standard race modes with explosive spins added for excitement. There are also more unique modes like Survival, which has you trying to drive by as many trucks as possible without getting your car destroyed by exploding barrels, Air Strike where you're dodging missiles from an attack helicopter, and Air Revenge where you fire back missiles while still dodging missiles being shot at you.
You get access to 4 races per episode right from the beginning, while unlocking the Elite Race after getting enough credits and the bonus round after wrecking enough rivals. You move on to the next episode by qualifying (placing 3rd or better) in the Elite Race. This is no easy task, because the producers are pitting you against the most skilled drivers they could scrounge up, making your task as difficult as possible.
Thankfully, the difficulty curve in this game helps ease you into the games various mechanics and concepts before kicking things up a notch by around the 6th episode. You gain power as you drive and can either do minor “power plays” or much more potent power plays if you max out your gauge based on how you drive (drifting, jumps, dodging power plays, etc.). Though once things got going I found it hard to keep getting in first, so I lowered my expectations a bit to sticking to the top three and had a much more enjoyable time.
That's not to say that the game is hard, it's just that there are certain aspects to the game (both good and bad) that can make it more challenging for others. For example, there are quite a few cars in the game to choose from, all with various speed, drift (ability to drift), strength (cars ability to handle power play shock-waves), and acceleration. Unfortunately for me, a good portion of my time spent with the game was trying to figure out what car was best for me to drive, cause in most cases the car would get into an uncontrollable drift with the slightest turn, then add on the fact your opponents are using power plays in order to cause you to crash and it can make driving even more difficult. Thankfully once I found a decent car I had little to no trouble keeping pace, except for the occasional mess up on my part.
The tracks are not only very well constructed for the purpose of deconstruction, but the overall look of the game looks amazing, I also had not trouble running this game on my 2-3 year old rig on close to max settings (couldn't run on 1080p sadly). I was a tad bummed that the game was frame-locked to 30fps, but don't let that take away from the beautiful cars and wonderfully colored environments.
The multiplayer is good too, though limited. Online play is limited to just Race mode whereas LAN and split-screen play allows for Race, Elimination, and Survival modes. So you don't get to go head-to-head for Air Strike or Air Revenge. You are also forced to unlock the games modes and tracks in single player before you can access them in multiplayer. It's amazingly fun though, the satisfaction (and frustration) when a friend/rival pulls a sudden power play giving you little to no chance of surviving helps to keep you on your toes and give you the feeling that your position is never safe.
Overall, this game is great, both career and multiplayer run smoothly, and the game is just all-round enjoyable. Though this games replay value lies in its multiplayer with no signs of DLC.
If I had to fault this game for anything, it's that the career needs to either be shortened, or have more varied tracks/modes; you eventually start to race on the same tracks from previous episodes, which is when the game slowly becomes stale.
Overall I give this game an 8/10.
Wonderful game modes
Handling is unrefined
Not enough tracks/career too long
Wishing these cars were real