Play Some Seconds Of Split/Second

By Jim Rossignol on May 22nd, 2010 at 9:11 am.


There’s a demo out for Black Rock Studios’ fancy-lookin’ scenery-explodin’ racer, Split/Second. It’s 1gb in heft, and there are currently mirrors here and here. Not had a chance to play yet, so I might update with some impressions later. In the meantime if you find some better download links for the demo please post them in comments.

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66 Comments »

  1. Premium User Badge

    abhishek says:

    http://www.bigdownload.com/games/splitsecond/pc/splitsecond-demo/

    This is where I got it from. Pretty fast and it supports resuming, which is strangely rare on file hosting sites these days.

    • Heliosicle says:

      cheers, Worthplaying and fileplanet are usually really slow.

  2. Vinraith says:

    Now that’s timely, I was just looking at this and wondering whether to wishlist it. I’ll check the demo out to put any gameplay questions to rest, I suppose the other issue is DRM. Anyone know what the protection on the retail version is?

    • Premium User Badge

      HermitUK says:

      There is no retail version for the PC, as I understand it. They’re going for all digital distribution. I’m not against that per se, but I shan’t be buying it at the current price of forty quids.

    • Colthor says:

      @Vinraith:
      The DaemonTools copy-protection database says it’s SecuROM with activations. Presumably on the retail version that you can’t get in the UK, but D2D also often use that.

      Seemingly only available digitally in the UK, from hardly any sites, for £40… What on earth are they thinking? Don’t they want people to buy their game?

    • Vinraith says:

      @HermitUK

      Over here in the US they are definitely selling it retail, I was looking at it on Amazon.com.

      @Colthor

      Activations? Damn. Thanks for the heads-up. And yes, that’s extremely strange about the lack of a UK retail release.

  3. Lambchops says:

    I played the demo a week ago on a friends PS3.

    It was good fun once I got the hang of having to fight against drift instead of doing Mario Kart power sliding. During that time though I unfortunately found myself dead last which apparantly gave me the ability to knock down a massive water tower and explode everyone else, zooming straight into first. Awesome!

    so yeah, dodging plane and debris, changing routes, some fun racing, I quite enjoyed it. However I could see it getting old pretty quickly. It’s going to depend greatly on the quality of the other tracks.

  4. Mashakosha says:

    Excuse my language, but FUCKING YES! My friend and I couldn’t understand why they’d taken the PC version down from every single online shop that previously had it up for pre-order. Still don’t know why but I’m glad it’s actually coming.

    • Premium User Badge

      abhishek says:

      I can answer that one. Disney signed an exclusivity agreement with Direct2Drive so that is the only site where you can buy the game digitally.

    • Jimbo says:

      It’s up on Gamesplanet for £2 less than D2D. Still too expensive though, and there’s no retail alternative.

      I guess this is how it’s going to be all the time once we fully embrace digital distribution. More expensive… somehow.

  5. N says:

    KABOOOOOOM!

    I lurve it. If you dig burnout, I think you’ll like this one too. I still have the habit of pushing my adversaries into walls. That doesn’t total them though heh, only power plays do the trick.

    Drift/Draft/Drift/Draft/TripleWreck/Drift/Draft/etc.

  6. Alez says:

    Having played the full criminal version of it, i can say it’s an ok game i guess. The problem is that it only has that power up thing and nothing else. As soon as you get tired of that, it’s all over. The gimmick is that instead of picking up power ups like rockets and stuff, you can activate some triggers on the map when an opponent is in front of you and near those triggers.

    Apart from the normal racing you also have a mode where you try to pass some big ass trucks that throw explosive barrels at you and a mode with a helicopter shooting explosive explosives at you.

    • Premium User Badge

      monkehhh says:

      The worst kind of explosives, the explosive kind! I guess if it’s the same demo as the consoles then you can’t have a go online, which is a bit crap – the NPCs are obviously devoid of personality or bastardly-ness. From playing the demo for this and the beta for Blur, Blur with it’s Mario Kart style power-ups seems like it’ll have a much longer longevity.

    • Bowlby says:

      ” the NPCs are obviously devoid of personality or bastardly-ness”

      No, no, no, no. They really are bastards, I can assure you. ;)

    • Hypocee says:

      Actually, in my experience the AIs are full of personality. I too worry about the gimmick getting old, but the reason I bought it is that underneath the gimmick is a driving model that feels wonderful.

    • Howl says:

      “Does the gimmick get old?” is the question. Burnout’s slo-mo takedowns; putting a crosshair over someone’s head in Bad Company 2 and watching them crumple to the ground; doing a triple somersault with Mario. Some gaming money shots are a joyful bolus of dopamine upside the head. You just want more.

    • Howl says:

      Never mind, I just played the demo. It looked and ran like a big load of ass on my 5970. On my 16:9 screen it didn’t even seem to be using the correct aspect ratio. It looked like a 3:4 image that had been distorted. It seemed to be low resolution with no AA. The sound quality was awful with missing sounds, tinny effects and music that kept changing volume with the action and was so tentative that it almost seemed to be apologising for distracting you. There didn’t seen to be an option menu to adjust any of this. Looked like a really rushed console port.

      Perhaps it was just a rushed demo but then isn’t the purpose of a demo to get people to buy your game?

  7. Bowlby says:

    I’ve got the full retail version of the game on 360, and it is very good. I could also imagine it being perfect in the arcades, linked up to seven other cabinets, a big red Power Play sponge-button to smack down on when you want to blow fools up. It’s fun, it looks good, and I’m sure it looks even better on the PC with all the higher resolutions and AA.

  8. Ginger Yellow says:

    “The problem is that it only has that power up thing and nothing else. As soon as you get tired of that, it’s all over.”

    Yeah, that’s the impression I got from the 360 demo (and the reviews seem to back it up). The driving model is really simple and forgiving, and there’s only a few tracks for obvious reasons. I can’t imagine this having any longevity outside of multiplayer, and I don’t have any mates who are really into arcade racers.

  9. ZIGS says:

    Why isn’t the boxed version available in the UK? If they expect me to pay £40 for a download, they must be insane. On another note, 30 FPS cap. Let me repeat: THIRTY FRAMES PER FUCKING SECOND CAP!

    • Premium User Badge

      AndrewC says:

      The PC Gamers favourite game remains ‘let’s see how good my PC is’.

    • pkt-zer0 says:

      A 30FPS cap on a racing game? What the hell, surely that can’t be right.

    • Heliocentric says:

      What about the “how badly optimised is this game” game. When a game runs massive explorable vistas at 75fps and then another game crawls showing a boring corridor? Its not the pc you are always testing.

    • ZIGS says:

      @ AndrewC: you DO realize there’s a noticeable difference between 30 and 30+ FPS, right? not to mention that, since the FPS aren’t always constant, no matter how powerful your system is, having a max 30 means any dips will impact the gameplay

    • Premium User Badge

      AndrewC says:

      I’d argue that a consistent frame rate is far more important to a racing game than trying to achieve maximum frame rates, that things like capped fps and v-sync are designed to smooth out that frame rate, and that the one thing guaranteed to cause a fluctuating FPS is freeing the computer to try and pump out as many fps’s as possible.

      Did you honestly miss the extra frames while playing this? Project Gotham and Grid ran very smoothly on consoles at 30fps because they utlilised things like frame blurring to create the smoothness – as does this, as far as I can tell.

      And do you think that the nominal amounts of extra responsiveness you get with 60fps will make a difference to a rough and tumble arcade racer specifically designed for 30fps?

      I remember the hoo-ha made when C&C3 (an RTS, for god’s sake) was capped at 30fps, or the ridiculous amounts of money people spent on getting PCs that could run Crysis at maximum settings at launch – settings specifically designed only for future-proofing the game.

      The guys that did Ratchet & Clank – who always boasted about their 60fps games – did a survey and found that most people only cared about consistent framerates, not the holy grail of 60fps. Incredibly high frame-rates, outside of super twitch fests like Street Fighter or online shooters, is mostly of technical interest.

      So yes, I am arguing that the furore caused by these caps comes mostly becasue a lot of PC gamers use game performance for e-peen measuring and these caps are like an attack on their e-manhood.

    • Miker says:

      I just booted up the demo for the first time, and I gotta agree with ZIGS here. After playing DiRT 2 (and most of my other games) at 60 fps, playing Split/Second at 30 fps is kind of a joke. I can’t even change the resolution options, so I’m stuck playing at (what I think is) 1280×720 on my 1920×1200 monitor, which looks like absolute shit. Fun as the demo may be, it killed any chance of wanting to get the game.

    • pkt-zer0 says:

      Well, it does annoy me, certainly. Always preferred higher framerates over prettier graphics myself. I don’t see why they don’t at least give people the option to go that route – especially when there’s not even that much of a trade-off there nowadays in case of a console-port due to PC hardware pulling ahead.

    • Shalrath says:

      “And do you think that the nominal amounts of extra responsiveness you get with 60fps will make a difference to a rough and tumble arcade racer specifically designed for 30fps?”

      Actually, yes. If your monitor runs at 60hz, you WILL notice the difference. Console games are capped at 30 because that’s what (most) TV’s run at.

      Believe me, when you test a PC game that has no cap, or a cap at 60+, you notice it right away. Hell, even console games running at 720 or 1050 have a noticeable boost to ‘feel’ at 60. We always get sad when we make a PS3 version locked to 30 and a 360 one locked to 60, because testing the PS3 one just feels off.

    • Premium User Badge

      AndrewC says:

      I’ll go for smoothness over fidelity everytime if I have to make a choice, but I really didn’t feel any lack of smoothness in the demo at all. For this reason the cries of 30 FPS WOE! feel very knee-jerk to me.

      But, if we have some real developer knowledge here, it’ll help to get some True Facts into the equation. What are, or what tend to be, the reasons for a 30FPS cap on a PC version?

    • Miker says:

      I think the controls were okay, and weren’t terribly unresponsive. Not quite as responsive as a 60fps racer (grid, dirt 2), but passable. The actual smoothness of the video/image/game was pretty bad. The last game I played at 30 fps was PC version of the Force Unleashed, and it was clearly not as smooth as say, Devil May Cry 4 on the PC.

      To illustrate the difference between 30 fps and 60 fps, boot up Bioshock (and its sequel, probs) — running at 60 fps, ideally. Mess around with some physics objects, which are locked at 30 fps for some reason, and you’ll see that their movement looks /terribly/ out of place when everything else moves at 60 fps. It’s most prominent when looking at security drones that follow you around.

    • Urthman says:

      AndrewC, I really would love for you to be right, I would love to crank the graphics up on all my games and live with 30 fps instead of keeping the settings modest so that I can get 40 or 60, but the difference is very real, and much more important than the high graphics settings in most games I play.

      GTA: Vice City and San Andreas are perfect examples of this. They are extremely buggy if you turn off the frame limiter, but the difference in smoothness between 30 and 60 (using video card vsync) is enormous. They feel like completely different games. The frame-limited 30 fps feels like I’m playing the game in a buggy emulator and the 60 fps feels like I’m playing a native PC game.

      The GTA:VC example also illustrates that the frame limits feel really stupid when you come back to a game 5-6 years later with a machine that could easily run the game at 100 fps.

    • Tei says:

      Maybe consoles can render at low resolution and low refresh, because are using TV’s, that are designed in a way that low quality images look good. But on a good monitor, such low quality has to look really bad. Nowdays 60 FPS is pretty standard. I suppose consoles will get there, once get enough hardware to produce that quality.

  10. Antlia says:

    Fallout^2?

  11. SpinalJack says:

    My colleague worked on that game, it’s loads of fun

  12. XM says:

    This is one of the most fun games of the year. Racing is only a small part of the show, it’s like fair ground ride you know what going to happen but when. It’s slick and runs well even on my ageing 5200+ CPU.

    Don’t let this one slip under your radar try the demo now. :)

  13. clippa says:

    30fps and 40 quid. I’ll get this one in the sales :s

  14. Turin Turambar says:

    Impressions:

    Good stuff:

    -It’s spectacular: very good graphics and intense, explosive action.
    -Fast loading, unlike their previous game, Pure.
    -Multiple online modes in pc: internet, lan, and splitscreen.

    Bad stuff:

    -Very based in a unique feature, the special actions you can activate in the scenario. It’s pretty gimmicky and with time, repetitive. In fact it’s literally the most vanilla racing arcade game you can play, just with that feature added, the enviroment destruction/shortcuts. All pre-scripted, of course.
    -Most of the small debris that goes flying with an explosion doesn’t need to be evaded, it doesn’t have collision model.
    -As racing game itself, it’s not a very good one. Control and racing style is very very basic, without any interesting nuance. 95% of time with the gas pedal in the floor, using the walls to take the corners as they barely substract speed.
    -For a racing game about destruction and crashes, it does have a bad collision model, you can’t hit other cars so they lose control, if you hit a big truck it barely affects you, etc.
    -Vehicle destruction detail is also far away from the other games, like Grid or Dirt 2.
    -Rubber banding AI.
    -Sound mix/5.1 system with problems, sometimes it seems as if the game wouldn’t play all the sounds it should have. The ones which play are spectacular (Explosions, doppler effect in interiors) but sometimes you can’t hear other cars around you, or there is a lot of stuff going on in screen and you can’t hear it. Weird.
    -High requisites in pc version.
    -Without customizable graphical options.
    -Framerate capped to 30fps, a sin in a fast racing game as this game.
    -It’s short, 12 episodes with 6 usually short races each one.
    -You can’t see the layout of the race before racing it, so you don’t know which car will be the best for that race. In fact you can’t see the map in race also, as there isn’t minimap.
    -It also lacks time indicators, speed indicator, rear-view mirror..
    -Only two cameras: 1 external, 1 in bumper.
    -No replay after the race.
    -No difficulty selector.
    -Poor balance in the two actions, the big one is three times more “expensive” but few times it’s three times as good.

    • ZIGS says:

      You forgot the lack of handbrake. I know this is an arcade racer but COME ON!

    • John Peat says:

      Couple of points in reply to Turin

      Walls DO slow you down – try beating a timed event using the walls :)

      There is a difficulty slider for Quick Play – the difficulty obvious ramps up as you go through the Season too.

      You can pick a car based on the event type – Detonation needs a fast car, Eliminator a Drift Car, Races a fast car, Survival/Air Attack a strong/highly manoeverable car and so on.

      Graphics options can be customised but only to 4 levels (low, med, high, vhigh) and you need a decent GPU (8800 or equiv) and CPU (decent Dual Core) as well as 2GB+ memory for this to work well (it’s a hungry monster!!)

      Rear View is right stick and there’s allsorts of clues as to what’s going on around you if you look for them.

      Replay is back/escape on the scores screen – it’s even labelled FFS

      Did you actually play this? :)

    • John Peat says:

      p.s. no handbrake because it’s a Mario-Kart style lift-off and hammer-down drift system – and it works pretty well.

      I didn’t miss the handbrake once – sometimes you have to play the game which is being presented to you and not the game you had in your head…

    • XM says:

      You forgot the plus point of the strategy to trigger the power plays. You have to time it right or you’ll miss your targets. It’s more of a strategy game than a racing game and this has never been done before.

      Just hitting the power play as soon as you see the icon is not going to win you any races. You also have to time it right not to take yourself out too.

      Then you have the rubber band AI as a negative but this is what make the game fun. If you are miles out in front where’s the fun in that? It’s just a normal arcade racer if you don’t have the AI around you all the time.

    • Turin Turambar says:

      -Yeah, there is no handbrake or nitro/turbo. So strange…

      -I was referring to the “campaign”, when i spoke about the lack of difficulty selector. Yeah, the difficultye ramps up. that’s the problem.

      -Strategy? Heh, i wouldn’t call it strategy, it’sthe other way, it’s about reflexes: the special actions are activated by you when you press a button, so you have to press it when an opponent happens to be close to the stuff blowing up. It’s something so clear in how it works i didn’t feel the need to explain it.

    • XM says:

      Um.. have you even played the game? You can’t see that when you trigger the power plays you can miss the target completely or just get them to spin out instead of wrecking them. It’s all to do with timing and strategy. Do you save up the power meter or wait till the last few corners and win using multiple power plays or even change the route.

      The strategies are endless and plays a major part of the game.

    • Arca says:

      XM: Don’t forget if you time it wrong or just plain mess up, you can wreck YOURSELF with your own Power Plays.

      On the other hand, wiping out half of the entire competition with a single power play is good times.

    • Alez says:

      it’s a little late but regarding STRATEGY in applying the explosions is just bullshit. You have about 2 seconds most of the time when that trigger is active. I ALWAYS press it as soon as i see it on screen and have a 85% success rate.
      Choosing second 1 or 1.5 MIGHT be a little strategic if you actually know what the damn trigger does. You have to learn the map yourself and know what everything does…which by that point, you’ve wasted your youth and innocence.

      Cute game but let’s not over do it with big words like “strategy”.

    • XM says:

      It depends on the object how long you get to use the power play before it’s too late. If you don’t need strategy in this game to win I don’t know what the word is then we should to use.

  15. John Peat says:

    This game is a bit of a grow-er in that the tracks get more complex and the AI ramps up quite nicely – the 30fps thing on PC is a bit shit tho (it’s not just a n fps pissing-contest, racing games look/work so much better at higher framerates).

    Anyway – it’s a racing game with shit blowing up and planes crashing and allsorts – once upon a time that would have been enough for people, not sure when it stopped being enough, in fact…

    The digital distro/no competition thing is retarded tho – no way would I pay £40 for it, it’s a GOOD £20 game which I might pay £29 for if pushed.

    What a way to encourage piracy – “PAY MORE THAN ANY OTHER GAME OR ELSE!!” – well done there…

    p.s. Their previous title, Pure, had little-or-no support once released. It remains shonky on Vista/W7 with long-ass loadtimes and freezes on loading pages (alt-tabbing out fixes this) so I’d expect no better here and I don’t think that’s good enough anymore either…

  16. jozga says:

    The demo is decent, but really easy – and the game is pretty boring if you are just in first for each lap as you can’t explode anyone. Plus, what’s the point of the red level explosions, they just cost you all your power and open an alternative route that doesn’t benefit you more than anyone else.

    You can get Burnout Paradise for £6.

    • Bowlby says:

      The full game is much more challenging. The whole point of the rubber-banding is to make sure you don’t get complacent up front; keeps you on your toes.

    • jozga says:

      I do like this sort of game, but this does seem a very limited concept – the demo has 2 red level track changes only? And one blue one? It seems like you could exhaust these pretty quickly. Why can’t someone make a new version of San Francisco Rush (2049), with graphics like the Speed Racer movie, that’s what I want to know. Cars need more wings.

  17. +--JAK--+ says:

    Agreed the 30fps is totally stupid, it looks sluggish when it should be silky smooth, try racing along and then hitting 4 on the numpad to swing to the side-on view and look how jerky the panning is, ewww. Also LOL at the bioshock 30fps physics those ruined the game for me, every time i saw the jerky bots i thought my pc had suddenly been crippled and was going to die, then i ran it with fraps and saw my framerate wasnt dropping at all, just the physics are capped at and the rest of the game isn’t! Developers, end this crime to PC gamers now!!!

  18. neems says:

    Apparently the pc version is a bit of a dodgy port – anybody having performance issues should drop down from very high, as apparently it forces on AA at insane levels. I’ve got this on PS3 though, and I absolutely love it. It’s the ultimate ‘fuck yeah!’ game.

    If the demo is the same as the console version ie the Airport Terminal track, there are 3 red route changers (you can do the start / finish line twice), 3 red ‘weapons’ (I think), 1 blue shortcut, and any number of blue explosions / traps. In the full game you get variations on maps, along with different game modes, and the AI quickly takes a dislike to you.

    For my money, the Airport Terminal is the least interesting track.

  19. Vinraith says:

    It looks a bit rough and the sense of speed in the demo is rather slow. I’m hoping that latter point is just because this is a beginner race, can anyone confirm that? Still, all in all there’s a lot of potential here.

    • neems says:

      Later cars are much faster, although the sense of speed also seems to depend on the course you’re playing – the city based ones seem much faster, for example. Personally I play in bumper cam as well, which tends to give a greater sensation of speed.

      It makes a big difference when you are up against more aggressive AI – the demo has a tendency towards being a simple processional, with the player setting off explosions every now and then, whereas in the full game once you progress a bit the AI frequently detonate the entire world around you.

  20. XM says:

    I’ll just say one part on a later track is worth the £40 if you time it right. I got a 7 way wreak in slow mo 360° of destruction showing one wreak straight after the other awesome.

  21. Grey! says:

    Is it good? Are they using a real branded car in Split Second? Or is it like Burnout which using ‘imitative’ car?

    • ShineDog says:

      Kind of imitative, theres a car thats clearly derived from a lamborgini, for instance, and some of the musclecars look a little bit like mustang/viper hybrids, with weird almost porche sportcars too.

      The thing to note is that the cars are frigging gorgeous and stylised enough that they would make some of the greatest cars ever in real life.

  22. Javaguy says:

    I think GTA:SA was limited to 25fps. People weren’t very pleased :p

  23. Brendan says:

    It’s the perfect racing game for me. If it had rockets, oil slicks and a boost button I would be in heaven.

  24. MaLDo says:

    Smart people don’t play 30 fps racing games. XD

  25. Frankie The Patrician[PF] says:

    What a coincidence, I just read the review of it in Games Aktuell (nur 2,5 EURO!1111) and it sounded fantastic…and like 20 replays of the demo, I must say it is! Not a single race is same, it’s rather playful (I don’t really care about winning, it’s fun to alter the track, let them overtake and then send them flying etc. etc.) and the graphics are quite smooth and pretty stylish.

    Me liek. I feel like buying it, but..NO RETAIL in Europe until June, D2D is UK and selected countries only (and the downloader is ass anyway) and gamesplanet for 38 quids? The 90s called..they want their bloody pricing back! Hell no.
    This is a no-go…and gamers shouldn’t succumb to it.

  26. Stealth owl says:

    correct is: 30 FPS Smart people don’t play 30 fps EVERY game.