If the E3 show floor is any indication, there are a lot of racing games hitting home consoles. While this means racing fans should have no problem finding games for their wish lists, it also means that developers need to toss in something extra to make their games stand out from the pack. Some developers, such as Bizarre Creations, are going the combat route, but Black Rock Studios and Disney arenít limiting destruction to cars, theyíre taking out the entire track.
Split/ Second is Burnout if Michael Bay was in charge of development. While the game doesnít attempt to recreate moments from action movies, it draws a lot of inspiration from them. The game is set around a reality TV show where competitors race around specially-built courses. As you race through each track, youíll earn the ability to trigger Power Plays, which make life tough for opponents and can even alter the course.
The floor demo featured an airport level that looked a lot like Los Angelesí LAX Airport, but wasnít LAX. Aside from the stunning visuals, the first element to really jump out was the HUD. Rather than placing HUD elements in the corners, everything is under your carís rear bumper. The read-out is stylish and makes a lot of sense; your eyes are already focused on your car, so why not allow you to remain focused on racing?
The most important element of the HUD is the Power Play meter. Once filled, icons will appear at strategic points on the track. When the icons appear, you have a split second (okay, more like a few seconds) to trigger the Power Play. These include everything from collapsing overpasses on opponents or, in the case of the airport track, pulling down the entire air traffic control tower. The catch is that you can trip yourself up in a Power Play, making timing a key part of any racing strategy.
In addition to normal Power Plays, you can also trigger special super Power Plays. These will drastically alter the course, opening up shortcuts or causing large-scale disasters. In the airport track, this involved a giant cargo plane dropping from the sky.
Black Rock Studios, the team behind last yearís Pure, has already proven it can develop a top-notch racing sim. With Split/ Second, the team is showing they can do the same with an arcade racer.