Final Glimpse: Fast cars and... big exploding buildings?
You're in the final stretch of a race with your opponent cheerfully coasting along thanks to a seemingly insurmountable lead. But instead of glumly accepting the loss, you do what any red-blooded racer would do: drop a flaming building on top of him.
Or maybe you prefer toppling a giant tanker ship, knocking over a bridge, derailing a train, having a helicopter drop explosives, or even making a massive C-5 Galaxy cargo jet perform a kamikaze dive into the road. All this crazy, over-the-top destruction will be available for your driving pleasure in Black Rock Studio's upcoming game Split/Second.
Hot on the heels of their hit ATV racer Pure, the UK developer is cranking the combat racer genre to 11. By performing slick moves on the track like drifts, jumps, drafting and so on, you can fill your Power Play meter. When it hits blue, you can activate a ?normal? Power Play that will slow or knock an opponent off course ? typically by something small blowing up or falling onto the road. But if you save up and max out the meter to red, you can trigger the mother of all Power Plays, which will explode buildings, bridges and cause all sorts of massive destruction guaranteed to ruin your opponents' day.
Not only will this destruction crush your competition (literally), it will also alter the course. For example, while racing around a shipyard you will normally drive under a tanker in dry dock. Trigger a red Power Play and the supports holding the ship collapse, causing the ship to slam to the ground and block the regular route. This forces you to drive into a hole blown out of the ship, through the flaming interior and jump off the deck. Activate another red Power Play and the ship will fall into the water, opening up yet another route.
In another city map, you can demolish an elevated freeway and then cause a train to derail in a huge fireball. Sweet! According to the developers, about 80% of the course can be destroyed.
When players approach areas where Power Plays are waiting to pounce, an icon will appear over their cars, allowing you to plan your attacks accordingly. And Power Plays aren't just for blowing things up ? they can also open up invaluable shortcuts. Hey, this is
a race, after all.
The cars in Split/Second aren't licensed but still look mighty slick. There will be three categories to choose from: the light and speedy Supercars, the powerful and more durable Trucks, and Muscle cars in the middle.
The single player campaign will have you competing in the Split/Second reality TV show, where you race against other drivers through deadly environments. Multiplayer supports up to eight players online, with two game modes announced so far: Standard racing (if you can call blowing the crap out of the track ?standard?) and Survival. The latter is a timed mode where you earn points by passing semi-trailers. Sounds easy, right? Well, not when exploding barrels are frantically tumbling out the back of each trailer. One hit and you're pretty much done for but your car will reset on the track if you die. At the end of three minutes the game goes into sudden death mode for 30 seconds so you can try and scrape out a few more precious points ? but the catch is you only have one life during this time. D'oh!
One really cool feature worth mentioning is how your Achievements will automatically appear as decals on your car. Nice!