There’s a gaping, smouldering hole in the market right now where Burnout Paradise tore through our consoles for months on end with a glorious reckless abandon. The Criterion team are heading up the next Need for Speed which gives the new kid Split/Second: Velocity a clear road ahead. And the first thing it’s going to do is smash an airport terminal right across it. Why have rockets or guns when you can make an aeroplane land on your opponents?
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You might be racing in three lap events, but the game is designed so that each lap will be different as the destruction has more and more of an effect on the track, namely huge chunks of rubble and the odd building suddenly falling across it.
Most of this destruction will be initiated by the racers though who can earn Power Plays by drifting, drafting and jumping. When they activate Power Plays an explosion will burst across the track in front of them, hopefully swallowing up other racers. Or it might, for example, drop a huge cargo container on one side of the track, effectively putting a point-blank wall up in front of the front-runners.
Super Power Plays are where the real carnage is though. Stock up on the normal ones and you’ll upgrade to one of these bastards that’ll bring down freeways and whole terminal buildings. Be careful though, you’ll just as easily bring that hell down on your own TNT obsessed self if you don’t watch were you’re going.
The game is the creation of Black Rock Studio the makers of the quality ATV racer, Pure, which is still one of the best looking racers on modern systems. So even though recent footage has been a bit scarce on the ground it’s a safe bet it’ll look the business. I played an early model back in October and it looked pretty damn hot then.
Handling felt very weighty and you really had to make an effort to make the back-end slide out, but not in an annoying way, it really added to the awesome factor when you’d nail a long drift as you felt like your were taming a savage behemoth. Don’t expect to be able to smash other cars off the track as easily as in the Burnout games, a well-timed swipe might be the trick to sending them straight into a pile of rubble though!
Cause enough destruction and you’ll open up new routes for the track, over a capsized oil tanker for example. Black Rock Studio are giving the finger to realism and clearly aiming for a blockbuster-style spectacular.
The game will feature online support too, which will be an incredible feat if they can match the carnage of the single-player game. In the face of all the serious racers we’re surrounded by at the moment in GT5, Grid and Forza 3, we can’t wait for this bomb-happy lunatic.