As racing games go, they all follow the same basic concept of drive fast and win. Very few actually differ in levels of realism and skill they strive to achieve with a passion. Luckily, Split Second takes the task of start to finish and makes it revitalizing, new, and an overall decent title to play that provides a sense of experience and realism. Split Second pushes for an added new dimension to the basic structure by allowing players to affect the racing environment by blowing up boats, cars, trains, and basically anything that litters the side of the course, allowing for more tactics to come into play. The game can turn from boring, to unexpected and for everything that goes right on a track, things can go wrong. This aspect can both be beneficial and a hindrance when it comes to enjoyment and frustration and it lets the game down to a point. Regardless, the title is some fun as long as it lasts through core gameplay in singleplay and finally the multiplayer aspect that transitions this into the real world scenario.
Blackrock Studios has tried to add as much of a story as they can to a genre of game which is notorious for having worthless stories, but unfortunately the idea of being in a reality TV show where cars race to move onto bigger, more elite events seems to lack any plausibility and reminds us of Jason Statham’s Death Race, but nonetheless it was a worthy attempt to try and crowbar a story in no matter how ridiculous or implausible.
The gameplay for Split Second is where the meat of the game is and as far as arcade racers go, it is up there with the best in terms of simplicity. The driving itself feels realistic giving leeway for slight crashes into barriers and other obstacles, while also being generous for cornering walls. The game adds the challenge further to the total damage system as your car does total if it hits any solid object with too much force, which evens out the playing field with even more tactics coming into play. The A.I. directly affects the experience and the action with opponent cars both blocking you and applying the same destructive options that the player can apply to them. There is no infamous car-rubberbanding as seen on such titles as Need for Speed: Undercover, a similar game that lacked in everything excluding boredom. While Split Second is different in terms of gameplay to some levels, it is just a pity that there are limited tracks to compete on and once you have seen all the explosions and track changes that can be activated on each course, the game becomes a bit stale and boredom soon sets in when the game is reaching its peak.Another annoyance comes in the form of opponents activating an obstacle to wreck your car just as you are near the finishing line and ends up with you placing second or third which, although part of the game, really frustrates the player as it shows that luck is more of a fact than skill.
Playing with friends or strangers is where Split Second shines and although the single player is decent it needs the audacity and guile of human players to really make it worthwhile. The split screen option where you can play alongside one of your friends has all the necessary options needed to make a couch rivalry really build up and the gameplay allows this excellently. As with the split screen, online is played out beautifully with the gameplay in place and lets even novice drivers compete with more experienced ones and gives them a chance both with driving ability and status of their car. Unfortunately, this is a major let down by the fact that the player has to unlock the better cars through the less intense season mode or pay a premium to unlock every vehicle, an unrealistic aspect of the game that leads to major disappointment considering the better cars should be able to be unlocked through skill online aswell. This is the only thing that lets down an otherwise strong online game but it is a big downside and should definitely be looked at for consumer considerations.
As an arcade-racing game with a twist, Split Second: Velocity has all the bits and pieces needed to make it a quality title with decent single player and excellent online capabilities but certain features like frustrating outcomes after being wrecked and the need to unlock better cars through single player need to be adjusted to make it a proper standout title. Blackrock Studios has definitely done a good job trying to think up a change to a stale genre of game but major tweaks were needed to make it thrilling to a point beyond the simlistic racing style and the dreams to try something different.