Split/Second Demo Impressions
First off, Split/Second is not bad. The problem is its proximity to the recent Blur demo in release date. This invites comparison. It does not go in Split/Second's favor.
Split/Second is designed around the idea of a destructable race track. Every spot on the track is rigged with explosives that can be triggered if you have enough power. This is the only form of offense available to the player. When you manage to save up a lot of power you can also trigger larger explosions.
Power is gained by drafting behind cars, jumping through the air, and drifting around corners.
I liked the Split/Second demo for the big explosions. The game looked very pretty on screen. I had some "oh shit!" moments when huge set pieces are triggered and destroyed mid-race. At one point a plane tried to land on my car, which was fucking sweet when I managed to dodge it. The game sets out to have a destructable environment and create action movie looking races. In this it succeeds.
The problem I had was that I couldn't stop comparing the game to Blur. In Blur I have to manage a stock of three power-ups at any given time and the way I use them completely affects the race. I have to be strategic. I need tactics to win. I have to think about what I'm doing. I need skill to lay mines, shoot shunts, trigger barges, activate shields, aim bolts, engage turbo, and repair my vehicle. Each of these is a specific action that requires a different skill set. It is extremely fun juggling which power up to use and when to use it.
In Split/Second there is no strategy. Save power... hit the A button when you see a little icon or hit the B button when you see a big icon. That's all there is to it. I could write an entire post on when to use each power-up in Blur, but I have nothing more to say about the power in Split/Second than what I just said.
Maybe I would have loved this game if Blur weren't so close to it in the release schedule. I guess I'll never know. For now I'm going to play some more of the Blur beta.