Split/Second: Velocity

Split/Second: Velocity Review for PS3

On: PS3Xbox 360PCPSP

An intense action racing game set within the world of a hyper-competitive reality television show.

Review Verdict Read Review
7Out of 10
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Split/Second: Velocity screenshot
Split/Second: Velocity screenshot

Fast cars and explosions are, for many people, a match made in heaven. Hollywood directors with cash to burn seem required to film at least one high-speed sequence on a busy motorway, complete with cars flipping out of control and crashing into each other. This essentially is Split/Second Velocity, although Black Rock Studio's game adds out of control cruise liners, crashing airliners, collapsing towers and a whole lot more.

As far as racing games go, Split/Second is one of the simplest in recent memory. You take part in a series of events which make up episodes in a fake TV show. Success in these races, survival challenges, missile evasions and more results in credits, which unlock new vehicles. The goal in each episode is to unlock the final Elite race, with a podium finish here opening up another episode. There's no car tweaking, no stat upgrades, no open world cities to drive around - just good old-fashioned racing. Oh, and all that explosive stuff I mentioned at the start.

Drifting your car, getting air time from ramps or drafting behind rivals fills a meter that enables you to pull off powerplays, Split/Second's big gimmick. Each filled part of the meter lets you trigger one of the game's many explosive track-on-car attacks, in which objects from the environment do their best to ram the race cars into oblivion. All you need to do is hit the powerplay button when you see a big icon appear above an opponent's car, or better still above numerous cars. It's not quite as easy as it sounds, as powerplays generally need to be well timed and activated when cars are on the correct side of the track, but they're always destructive.

Even if you fail to take out a car completely, the shockwave will often throw them off their racing line, giving you the opportunity to overtake. Powerplays can even disrupt your car's handling, or, rather embarrassingly, wipe you out if you time their use really badly. On top of this, if you fill the powerplay meter completely you can activate the really spectacular stuff, such as the aforementioned cruise ship that crashes and creates a new path, and an air traffic control tower which crumbles right in front of your eyes. It's incredibly cool, with the new paths adding variety to what would be fairly standard multi-lap races, and impressively, doesn't get old as quickly as you might think.

Split/Second: Velocity screenshot

Car handling, in particular the drift system, makes for a game that is never as straightforward as it seems. In order to fill your powerplay meter you generally have to drift, but it's easy to mess up and in turn slow you down too much. There's a balance to find between going all out for the powerplays and just driving each track as well as possible. Powersliding feels very Project Gotham Racing to me, which is a good thing, although there's certainly an argument to be made for a more corner-hugging model like what's been used down the years in Ridge Racer.

What Split/Second really excels at is creating a constant sense of peril, meaning you've got to have your wits about you at all times. You can seem fine one second, but in reality are just feet from a complete wipe-out moments later. Last second swerves to avoid flaming trucks and swear-filled tirades aimed squarely at the "bloody game" will be common occurrences. Even Burnout, with its supreme crashes, can't compete with Split/Second's dynamically changing gameplay.

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6 Comments

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TJP75's Avatar

TJP75

Good to read a more level headed review for a change. Will buy or just rent for a weekend - the game can be finished in 6 hours & 100% completed in 8 according to Gamerzines.
Posted 21:47 on 20 May 2010
scaz2244's Avatar

scaz2244

stil not got into the whole arcade style racer! much prefer a new PGR or forza than something like this
Posted 15:54 on 20 May 2010
SexyJams's Avatar

SexyJams

Nice review Tom,
I'm not as good at racing games as you, don't like them as much either
(probably for that reason)
Still, I took the time to read your amazing review,
well done man :D
Posted 14:47 on 20 May 2010
guyderman's Avatar

guyderman

I'll get this when it's dropped in price too.
Posted 12:08 on 20 May 2010
pblive's Avatar

pblive

In a way this is good as hopefully it translates into the game coming down in price very quickly, which means I'll wait to pick it up.
Posted 12:03 on 20 May 2010
renegade's Avatar

renegade

Do want, sadly will wait :(. Im still miffed about this game an its Pc release I mean wtf. its out but no big retailer has it :S, Some sites say its out on Pc others don't etc.

Very weird
Posted 11:53 on 20 May 2010

Game Stats

Split/Second: Velocity
7
Out of 10
Split/Second: Velocity
  • Thrilling powerplays
  • Glorious visuals
  • Feels too simple
  • Not enough cars on track
Agree? Disagree? Get Involved!
Release Date: 21/05/2010
Platforms: PS3 , Xbox 360 , PC , PSP
Developer: Black Rock Studio
Publisher: Disney Interactive Studios
Genre: Racing
Rating: PEGI 7+
Site Rank: 5,479 194
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