Split/Second: Velocity Reader Review
I think this might be the most enjoyable racing game I have ever played. It is exciting, thrilling and visually stunning. Most importantly it is very addictive in that 'just one more go' sort of way. There are a good variety of races to take part in. These encompass straightforward races, two types of score attack survival modes, 'detonator' time trials and eliminator races.
The game is quite generous with its achievement points early on which give it a good sense of progression. For the most part the difficulty curve is beautifully judged - there is no choice about the difficulty settings. Some sections require some perseverance, luck or experimentation with different vehicles before success can be achieved. Progress is rewarded with new cars which are fun to use for a few races until the next shiny model comes along. Sometimes however the profile of the cars seem to correlate poorly with on-track performance. For example - some of the trucks have a high speed rating but they never felt anything other than slow to me.
One area that could have done with tweaking was the 'detonator' races. These are time trial races around one lap whilst avoiding the environmental hazards. In the latter stages of the game these become impossibly hard with even perfect run-throughs seemingly falling seconds short of the mark. I had to give up on these as I was too far off the pace to get close enough to achieve them. The absence of any 'ghost' cars makes it difficult to see where you can pick up time as well. This was disappointing as I would have liked to have fully completed all the races.
The last air revenge event was overly difficult as well with an unrealistic victory target. The necessity to chain together carefully controlled drifts whilst randomly generated explosions are going off around you was an exercise in frustration. This was a shame as that game mode was usually fun. The final race was suitably challenging, if perhaps a little cheap. Your rivals' cars suddenly became rocket powered and the only way to win that level was by adopting a specific strategy.
Along with 'ghost' cars, some features worth considering for a sequel would be some sort of game mode that rewards drifting and flamboyant driving - similar to PGR4's star collection mode. The ability to have instant restarts would also be welcome in a game of this nature. I don't need to see the footage of the truck or the helicopter for the thousandth time. Just let me get back on with game! Some additional finessing of the lobby options would be useful too.
The game is an absolute riot online when played with friends. There is currently no way to balance the matches other than by gentleman's agreement and that is putting people off playing it online until they have completed the 'season' mode and unlocked the best cars. Unfortunately this game was released on the same day as Red Dead Redemption and was therefore overlooked by the majority. The release of 'Blur' the following week is likely to dilute its opportunity still further which is a huge shame.