For instance: modeled after the Bad Boys II scene (amongst other films), Survival mode has you racing past rigs while explosive barrels tumble carelessly off the back. Each rig you pass will boost your time limit, but you'll have to avoid the red barrels if you don't want to crash. Airstrike and Air Revenge pit you against a chopper that attempts to aim missiles at you. Air Revenge will let you trigger a command to send missiles flying back if you can avoid enough of the targets. More akin to traditional races but with an added feeling of pressure, Elimination mode will have you scrambling for first place from the start. Whereas you may not feel discouraged from a sloppy turn or even a crash in Race mode, the clock is ticking in Elimination making every second really count. Detonator shows off the goods of the power plays. Every power play that can be triggered (minus the few small and unimpressive ones) is triggered as you approach them on the track racing against the time. You'll be confined to use a specific car, which functions dually as a motivator to unlocking them later in the game.
In terms of multiplayer, you can play Elimination, Survival and Race modes. Completing the Single Player campaign first is preferable so that you can unlock the faster, more efficient cars before taking on other players and increasing your online rank. From my experience the multiplayer is just as amusing, if not more so given the general higher levels of aggression (read: slamming into your car instead of just passing you) that real players have to the competitive, yet slightly docile AI players.
Because of all this variety in game play, you'd probably assume that there would need to be some heavy customization involved in terms of your vehicles. While it may be disappointing to some racer fanatics, I think ultimately the decision to scratch that customization in favor of a set vehicle roster is more suited to a game of this nature. Split/Second comes stocked with vehicles of literally all shapes, sizes and specializations. You can choose between the much more grounded and heavy vehicles that sustain damage, or the cars that are lighter on the feet but swift on turns and optimal for drifting. If I'm trying to avoid barrels or missiles, a swifter car will help me swerve in between them. Detonator might call for a heavier car given the amount of explosions that will be going off around you.
The same goes for differences in tracks. If I'm racing on the open Canyons and know that a wider drift might send me flying off a cliff, I might choose to go with a larger vehicle that can stick to the ground. Black Rock has done a good job of covering their angles, and ensuring that they all compliment each other.
Each car handles specifically to a driving style they cater to. There are cars suited for strength that can handle the force of a shockwave after an explosion goes off. Or, if you prefer, cars with faster acceleration will get back on their feet more efficiently than others after a crash. Whatever your car of choice may be, the physics of the distinct vehicles handles impressively. Every minor swivel of the joystick makes an impression, and you have a solid control over your handbraking and drifting.
Aesthetics are another shining quality of Split/Second. The cars themselves are shiny and sleek as you'd imagine, but Black Rock has even visually incorporated your achievements/trophies into your game. Noted by decals all around your car are the icons for each achievement/trophy you've received. Since gamer score seems to be greatly valued to many gamers, this is yet another way to show off your credentials.
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