Split/Second – Demo Impressions (PS3)


We appear to have another ‘Infamous/Prototype’ style battle on the horizon – this time in the driving genre as Disney’s ‘Split/Second’ takes on Bizarre’s ‘Blur.’

Both games feature over the top arcade racing action with a power up system but the main difference appears to be that Blur uses car power ups (ala Modnation Racers/Mario Kart etc), whereas Split/Second uses the course to give players the chance to take each other out.

I haven’t had a chance to try out Blur but having played through the Split/Second demo I have to say I’m more impressed than I thought I would be.

Although it is only one car/track to play with there are plenty of options once you fill your power bar.

The best way to fill the bar is essentially to drive well – it will fill as you slipstream the car in front (‘drafting’), drift around corners or overtake other cars.

The bar has three sections and you can then trigger events such as explosions or shortcuts. Smaller events such as an exploding barrel or activating a shortcut usually require 1 section of your bar.

Bigger events, ranging from causing a landslide onto the track to actually blowing the course away to ‘switch routes’ take up 2 sections.

This really does lead to some tactical racing as you decide whether to use the 1 bit of bar you have or hold off and wait for a more race changing event.

One thing I found really cool was ‘switching routes’ by blowing the road away so we jumped down off and into the underground car park below. On the next lap I switched routes again at the same point and another explosion saw the route change again. So effectively you may be able to change the layout of the track twice at the various route changing parts.

It’s been fun trying to clock up fast times and generally having a laugh with the demo. One of the few complaints I had was that your own car doesn’t seem as vulnerable to attacks as everyone else – hopefully that is just to ease people into the demo.

I’m still not 100% sold on the game despite it’s appeal – I already have Dirt2 and Motorstorm Pacific Rift for my online driving needs – with Modnation Racers also arriving soon will there be room for Split/Second? I guess we’ll have to wait and see.

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Games – Winter 2009 Preview


So, following on from the Winter 2009 Film preview last week – here’s the gaming edition of things to look out for…



The Saboteur

Release Date: 8th December

Developer: Pandemic Games

Publisher: EA

The more I see of this War era game the more I like the look of it.

You play as one man resistance Sean Devlin as he tries to destroy the Nazis. We’ve been told there is a personal revenge story in there as well.

My favourite thing about this game is the way that the occupied parts of Paris are black & white and the parts you’ve liberated have the colour come back to them. Looks cool.




Release Date: 10th November

Developer: Infinity Ward

Publisher: Activision

Don’t really need to say much about this one I suspect. 😆 This has to be one of the most hyped games of recent years.

I’m looking forward to playing this but I’m not as excited about the multiplayer as everyone else seems to be 😕

The clips I’ve seen look good but not amazing – hopefully it will be as great as everyone else thinks!



GTA Chinatown

Release Date: 23rd October

Developer: Rockstar

Publisher: Rockstar

After success on the Nintendo DS Rockstar is bringing Chinatown Wars to the PSP.

A cell shaded and fairly stylised game with an aerial viewpoint, Chinatown Wars is set in the same Liberty City we know from GTA IV.

As well as performing standard missions you have the chance to boost your income by peddling one of six kinds of drugs. Nice 😮

However I’m reliably informed this isn’t as sinister as it sounds and it is actually a deep and tactical part of the game.

Rockstar always comes up trumps and this scored high ciritically on the DS so there’s no reason to think it won’t be as good on PSP.



Uncharted 2

Release Date: TBC October

Developer: Naughty Dog

Publisher: Sony

After the visually stunning and superbly written first game there is no doubt that for me personally, Uncharted 2 is the most anticipated game of 2009.

Continuing Nathan Drake’s story with new allies and enemies, among the old favourites of course, Uncharted 2 will have you travelling all over the world as the story unfolds.

Added to all this is a new multiplayer mode that will take the Uncharted universe online for the first time! 😎 Check out my initial impressions of that here.

Geoff Keighley, the well respected host of GameTrailers.com has recently tweeted that Unchated 2 is ‘one of the best games of this generation.’ I expect nothing less.



Brutal Legend

Release Date: 15th October

Developer: Double Fine Productions

Publisher: EA

In Brutal Legend you control Eddie Riggs, a roadie who ends up transported to a world inspired by Heavy Metal album covers. Do I need to continue? 🙂

Well if you need more then the idea of the game is to help the people of this world break free of the tyranny of a bunch of supernatural overlords.

Not 100% sold on the multiplayer but this is still a game I’m defintely looking forward to.

The soundtrack looks great with over 100 tracks personally selected by Tim Scafer, the games creator. Jack Black voices Eddie Riggs and there are roles for Ozzy Osbourne and Lemmy among others.

Only downer for me on this that they have ditched Dio (& his tracks) and got Tim Curry to voice his character instead. No Dio? 😦




Release Date: 6th November

Developer: Bizarre Creations

Publisher: Activision

I’ve included Blur in this list as lots of people are hyped about it and the game itself looks, graphically, great.

For me Split/Second, Disney’s racing offering, looks the better option for vehicular combat – however after the whole Prototype/Infamous debacle left me with egg on my face, I’m not ruling Blur out.

Essentially a hybrid of Mario Kart and Twisted Metal, Blur gives you powerful cars with powerful weapons.

You can win races by speed or by taking out the opposition – there is nothing new here but it looks like it could be fun.



Assassins Creed II

Release Date: 20th November

Developer: Ubisoft

Publisher: Ubisoft

The first Assassin’s Creed took me a while to get into but once I did I was immersed fully.

Yes it was limited in places but the engaging storyline, great graphics and cool features were enough for me.

Ubisoft are upping their game for the second installment, this time featuring lots of new gadgets and more ways of getting information on targets (rather than just the three methods of the first game).

We take on the role of role of Ezio Auditore da Firenze, an assassin who is presumably another decendant of Desmond Miles.

Set in Venice in the 15th Century, the game features some beautiful locales for us to cause mischief in.

Can’t wait for this one.



Dragon Age Origins

Release Date: 11th November

Developer: Bioware

Publisher: EA

I’ve never been a massive fan of fantasy RPG’s like Baldur’s Gate or Dungeons & Dragons (which is surprising considering my obsession with the Fighting Fantasy series of books and games like Hero Quest when I was a kid).

I have seen my wife play Baldur’s Gate and some of Oblivion: Elder Scrolls so I kind of know the ‘standards’ of these games.

Dragon Age: Origins caught my eye with a few great trailers and having looked at it a bit more I’m quite intrigued.

They have the (almost obligitaory) karma system but I like the idea of the origins part – where you’ll control the character early on in their life and shape their outlook.

Kind of like an extended version of the great Vault sequence in Fallout 3.

Might be worth a try.


So there you go. One of the games I was really excited about was the spy based RPG ‘Alpha Protocol’ (Sega) but that has now been pushed back to June 2010 so a longer wait ensues.

However, judging by the games above we haveplenty to get through in the meantime! 😎

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