Every now and again a game comes along that you may have low expectations of, but delivers BIG. Pure UK-based Black Rock Studios was one of those titles. It’s an ATV game, Its published by Disney Interactive, it shouldn’t work! It does! However, like most new IPs it failed to set the retail world on fire. So while MX Vs ATV can be found PREOWNED for £35, Pure is only £10. Make no mistake Pure is the better game, and showed amazing promise for the Devs next project… Split/Second, the explosive action packed racer that is certain to perform in ways that Pure could only dream of!
The premise is entirely new to the racing genre. During the race as you power slide and battle your way through the pack you build a power bar. The power bar in turn allows you to activate explosives around the track causing headaches for your opponents as they get caught in the blast. Save up your bar though, and once full you can unleash amazing explosions that devastate the scenery, toppling buildings and changing the route of the race.
It may come as no surprise then, that this aint no Gran Turismo. The handling at this stage feels more “floaty” than say Burnout, and i found myself spinning out more often than i’d like. Though this may have more to do with me sucking at racers. Despite this i found myself returning time and time again to Split/Second. There is such a thrill of driving top speed into a fireball that used to be an Airport Terminal. It’s an “ohshitohshitohshit” moment thats difficult to beat. With only weaving through traffic in Burnout Paradise by the skin of your teeth coming close. On the subject of Criterion, with those guys working on next years Need For Speed title, 2010 could be the PERFECT time for a racer like this, especially after months of Forza.
Graphically, the game is beautiful. The explosions and destruction are breathtaking at times. Watch the video below and you will see what i mean. The trend for a minimalist HUD rears its head again to tremendous effect. By moving all the screen furniture to behind the car, the rest of the screen is free from clutter to really emphasise the action on and off the track. On the subject of that HUD, it really is a thing of beauty and something i expect to see repeated in other racers in the future. It keeps all the relevant information in your line of sight meaning you never need to take your eyes off the road to check your lap time.
Due for release this Spring on 360,PS3 and PC, Split/Second can be the racer for fans of the genre and non fans alike.