Split Second Multiplayer Hands On - Survival of the Fastest
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Split/Second has been a game that has appealed to me on some primitive level for quite some time. All it takes is the promise of break-neck speeds and the chance to blow shit up and my senses start tingling like Spider-Man’s do when Christian Bale rolls into town. For me personally though, what was always going to make or break the title was its longevity. We headed into Disney recently to test out its multiplayer and to see whether we had anything to worry about... It looks like we don't.

Throughout the day at Disney's UK HQ last Friday we went toe-to-toe with 7 other players in an extensive hands on with three of the game's multiplayer mode: Race, Elimination and Survival.

The game, for those of you who don't know, is an arcade style racer that allows you to build up power plays through drifting, drafting, air-time and close calls. These power plays can then be unleashed on your opponents at the click of a button, resulting in a cataclysmic environmental attack that can “wreck” their ride, merely slow them down or you can be all sneaky and activate a temporary shortcut to take advantage of. Save up three and you can perform one of the more devastating plays that can change a root and cause many casualties in one fell swoop.

Whilst the hands on did put rest to one of my concerns, it did raise another. Having only seen less than a handful of tracks beforehand and knowing there's only 5 districts, I was a little concerned that it might get a little samey. Thankfully, we managed to sample what must have been 15 plus tracks, all with a number of different types of bombastic power plays that range from toppling a power planet chimney and collapsing a bridge on top of unsuspecting foes, to squishing them with a huge cargo ship and splattering them with a skyscraper.

Therein lies the problem, because once you've played a track a few times, you essentially know which power play does what and thus, how to avoid them. Soon you discover that the initial awe-inspiring explosions are just a novelty. For instance, when on the docks level, you know that if the huge cargo ship is sliding across the track to head right around the back of it. Thankfully, sometimes avoiding the inevitable is just impossible and the game then opens up a new can of worms, and that's tactics. Instead of using the power plays willy-nilly, timing becomes essential and it eventually boils down to using them at the most opportune time, so that your opponent cannot avoid the unavoidable.

The action against human opponents is totally unpredictable in that sense as well. Even with some careful coaching from Black Rock – yeah, that’s how we roll! – I was sometimes unable to avoid the inescapable. "Quick, go left here," the dev told me, moments before I became the victim of a collapsing power plant that decided to make its final resting place on my face!

Part of the game's multiplayer charm actually comes from its intense battles that can drop you from first to eighth in an instant. Hugely frustrating, yes, but it works both ways and going from eighth to first with the use of a careful power play is like winning the lottery... Okay, maybe not the jackpot, but it's like winning a tenner at the very least.

Although it seems like the traditional race mode will offer up most of the fun, it'll be the modes like Survival that will offer the most intense experiences. Elimination? Not so much, and its eliminate-the-last-place-position-until-you-are-the-only-one-left mechanics tend to get old quite quickly.

Survival on the other hand is a completely manic and exhilarating game mode. It is a mode unlike any other, as players have to build points up by passing huge trucks on a circular course. For every three you pass without wrecking your ride, your multiplier increases. Sounds easy, right? Well, take into account that the trucks spew out red and blue barrels like Eyjafjallajökull spews out volcanic ash and then it make things a tad more explosive! Barrels you say? Big woop! Actually, they are, considering that the blue barrels create a small explosion causing you to temporarily lose control and the red barrels are an instant wreckage. That my friends, is how you raise the stakes and as a result, the action is frenetic. It’s also a tactical mode. If you decide to go full out, then chances are you’re going to crash more often than not, thus losing your multiplier. Go too slow and you don’t pass the trucks, ultimately failing to raise your combo. You need to find the perfect balance, oh, that and knock as many as your opponents into the barrels as they fall, which is as satisfying as they come.

With 6 modes, Split/Second’s multiplayer on first impression seems like it may have the legs to grab the arcade racing fan’s attention for a fair few hours. While the tracks and power plays lose their novelty after a few races on the same track, that’s where the tactics aspect of the title starts to excel. The choice of cars in our hands-on was limited and rather disappointing, but hearing the news that achievements change the decal on your vehicle selection means that cars will become instantly recognisable based on skill. Race is where the most fun’s at, but with modes like survival – and more to be announced – it’s looking like the depth will be the title’s saving grace where longevity is concerned. Longevity or no longevity, Split/Second’s multiplayer is an unpredictable and explosive blast. Quite literally.

Split/Second is out May 18th and May 21st in North America and Europe respectively.


User Comments

Forum Posts: 32
Comment #2 by towns
Monday, May 10, 2010 @ 08:28:08 PM
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ehh. i want blur instead

Forum Posts: 58
Comment #3 by nemesis3
Monday, May 10, 2010 @ 09:02:25 PM
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played the demo and i really enjoyed it will defo be getting the full game probably at asda as for blur not too sure i dont like betas because the multiplayer seems to always be laggy

Forum Posts: 30
Comment #4 by awise107
Monday, May 10, 2010 @ 09:31:15 PM
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Split/Second vs. Blur

Who will win?

Forum Posts: 12
Comment #5 by Ronniecw91
Monday, May 10, 2010 @ 09:33:43 PM
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split second is so easy blur needs some kinda skill

Forum Posts: 85
Comment #6 by xino
Monday, May 10, 2010 @ 09:40:42 PM
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"Therein lies the problem, because once you've played a track a few times, you essentially know which power play does what and thus, how to avoid them. "

that's stupid, you speak as if you haven't played these sort of games before. They are all like that, you need to understand the maps to get better.

And this game is MEANT to be played online with humans, not A.I

Forum Posts: 85
Comment #7 by xino
Monday, May 10, 2010 @ 09:43:19 PM
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split second may be easy in it's own way but takes some skills.
Because you need to build up bars by drifting, jumping, and those can be hard to pull off especially if you are first or last.

in first place, drifting will slow you down, in last place drifting, you'll just fall behind even further.

Though the downside for this game is being 1st. You will always be open to attacks if you are ahead. But it's fine because most racers like this are like that Wip3out HD etc

Forum Posts: 674
Comment #8 by TheUglyCasanova
Monday, May 10, 2010 @ 09:48:12 PM
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Anyway this looks kinda cool, but not a fan of racing enough to want it.

Forum Posts: 0
Comment #9 by xGIBxShell Shock
Monday, May 10, 2010 @ 09:48:48 PM
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Forum Posts: 313
Comment #10 by Kyanite
Monday, May 10, 2010 @ 10:02:55 PM
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@ #7/8

I agree. Unless a game has tracks that are randomly generated every time you start a race, the genre is and always has been about memorization.

Still, it would be nice if the tracks were given several triggers that would or wouldn't occur every time you played the game so that it's not the exact same thing every time. I'm afraid of this game having more style than substance and the multiplayer being dead within two months.

Forum Posts: 14
Comment #11 by mtbdude641
Monday, May 10, 2010 @ 11:03:57 PM
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Sort of makes me think of an updated version of burnout paradise which I put over 500 hours into, can't wait to destroy some of you people online on this game :)

Forum Posts: 0
Comment #12 by asilent boom
Monday, May 10, 2010 @ 11:31:59 PM
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I'm glad Blur and Split Second release this month, bout time we had some new car combat games.

Forum Posts: 272
Comment #13 by weesplash
Tuesday, May 11, 2010 @ 12:10:31 AM
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Definitely getting this game, looks awesome. Still need to clear some space up on my harddrive to download the demo.

Forum Posts: 679
Comment #14 by GreaseMonkeyGB
Tuesday, May 11, 2010 @ 01:16:48 AM
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Both Blur and Split Second are really good so a double buy may have to be in order :)

Forum Posts: 70
Comment #15 by TJP
Tuesday, May 11, 2010 @ 02:02:00 AM
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"more devastating plays that can change a root" - sounds like the most pleasurable thing a person can do while game playing!

I think the word you're after is route.

Forum Posts: 802
Comment #16 by DarkCreations
Tuesday, May 11, 2010 @ 02:51:45 AM
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Looking to be a great game in my opinion. The samey comments are understandable and common in most games sooner or later, you can't have something new every time you race really whether it be car or track. But that's my opinion.

Forum Posts: 6
Comment #17 by Rewave Acid
Tuesday, May 11, 2010 @ 04:09:08 AM
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@15 LOL beat me to the spellcheck... we truly are nerdy.

Forum Posts: 264
Comment #18 by Penn
Tuesday, May 11, 2010 @ 05:16:26 AM
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Such a bad game and possibly the worst demo ever put onto xbox live.

Blur gets my vote as the monotonous full throttle driving of split second bored me to tears.

Forum Posts: 1003
Comment #19 by Dr Popodopolus
Tuesday, May 11, 2010 @ 05:56:38 AM
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@11 Thanks for reminding me I picked up Burnout Paradise TUB a few months back and haven't even put it in my disc tray yet haha. Must do that.

As for the debate, I still haven't played the Split Second demo but I think it's looking better than Blur to be honest.

Forum Posts: 0
Comment #20 by xJOHNOx
Tuesday, May 11, 2010 @ 06:14:36 AM
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this game looks so much better than blur i think blur will only be good online with a lot of friends where as split/second can be fun to play by yourself plus online will be nuts

Forum Posts: 0
Comment #21 by E.M
Tuesday, May 11, 2010 @ 06:54:41 AM
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I liked this better then Blur. Find Blur gets a little to old fast....

Forum Posts: 221
Comment #22 by MADxMONK3Y NL
Tuesday, May 11, 2010 @ 08:13:31 AM
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Eyjafjallajökull is a volcano in Iceland. Don't know? Whole Europe is hit by it's ash.

Forum Posts: 39
Comment #23 by OnlyRinaldo
Tuesday, May 11, 2010 @ 08:59:10 AM
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I hope the game is more fun than the demo. Probably buy both Blur and Split Second.

Forum Posts: 292
Comment #24 by ViNyLek
Tuesday, May 11, 2010 @ 09:18:49 AM
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Just as I thought this sounds like fun for a week or two. Blur is gonna be so much better^^

Forum Posts: 5
Comment #25 by piratepegleg95
Tuesday, May 11, 2010 @ 11:41:21 AM
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rent anyone?

Forum Posts: 0
Comment #26 by sonicdevron
Tuesday, May 11, 2010 @ 12:06:26 PM
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#19, what are you waiting for?! Paradise is the best game in the Burnout series and in my opinion the best racer there is.

Forum Posts: 111
Comment #27 by lildevilbmxer
Tuesday, May 11, 2010 @ 02:10:29 PM
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probably pick it up when it drops in price but very nice game from what i gathered from the demo

Forum Posts: 4
Comment #28 by Fata1Stryke
Tuesday, May 11, 2010 @ 07:10:52 PM
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Not a big fan of racing games, but something arcadey like this might be worth a shot. Not sure where I stand between this and Blur though, I was leaning towards Blur because of the repetitive nature of the Power Plays but Survival Mode sounds fantastic.

Forum Posts: 561
Comment #29 by MakoBallistic
Tuesday, May 11, 2010 @ 10:28:14 PM
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ill be getting red dead on the 21st, but this will be bought eventually.

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Game Info


US May 18, 2010
Europe May 21, 2010

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