The Week In Games

The Week In Games

Split/Second is a spectacular feast for the eyes. But it’s also an arcade racer with cunning depth.

Racing games are at their core all about learning the track. Split/Second demands you learn the track because the track itself is your weapon.

Smart driving – and by that I mean crazy, reckless, skin-of-your-teeth drafting and drifting – earns your “powerplays” which are triggered at numerous points around the track. You can trigger anything from a clutch of barrels rolling across the road all the way up to a 747 crashlanding on the back straight. Many of them even change the circuits, adding shortcuts and alternate routes.

Until you learn the track, these powerplays will take you out as often as they take out your opponents. It’s vital you know what’s going to happen, so you can time each powerplay to maximise its impact and also ensure you’re well clear of its danger zone.

Many arcade racers are simply about who hits with their powerups or who best manages their turbo, while the track itself plays second fiddle. There’s little to learn or master, you just react. Here, in addition to proving yourself behind the wheel, you’ve got to master the environment as well. It’s refreshing take on the genre and one I highly recommend.

Elsewhere, it’s a bit of a quiet week. Are you picking up anything?

New releases for the w/c May 31:

Backbreaker (360, PS3)
What Is It? American football sim that lacks the NFL license but boasts procedurla animation system Euphoria, as seen in Red Dead Redemption and GTA IV.
Should You Care? I’m not sure if you do, but regular Kotaku commenter FatShady certainly does.

Fantasy Petz (DS)
What Is It? Another in Ubisoft’s relentless line of pet owning and training sims.
Should You Care? This one’s got dragons and unicorns. But sadly no robot unicorns.

Project Runway (Wii)
What Is It? Based on the TV show, “players will be presented with a range of theme challenges as they create designs and adorn models with hair, make-up, and accessories.”
Should You Care? I’d normally say no, but it uses the Wii Balance Board as a catwalk. Genius!

The Sims: Ambitions (PC)
What Is It? Sims 3 expansion pack that introduces a bunch of zany new careers including ghost hunter, inventor, private investigator or… sculptor.
Should You Care? Also out this week is a fancy Sims 3 “commemorative edition” featuring a hardback book, artwork sketches and a poster.

Split/Second: Velocity (360, PS3, PC)
What Is It? Arcade racing action where you can destroy the environment, taking out opponents and opening up new routes.
Should You Care? For those who demand some spectacle with their powersliding.

Coming up in the next few weeks, you can look forward to Transformers: War for Cybertron, Naughty Bear, Singularity, new Shrek and Toy Story titles, and the long-awaited local release of Demon’s Souls.


    • According to the AIE release schedule dated May 24, Backbreaker is out June 3. I’ve asked them to confirm.

      Update: Definitely this week. Might not be in stores until Friday though.

      • Yeah David, the AIE order site had it listed as coming out last Thursday and when Wednesday night came around they shifted the date back again to the 3rd of June.

        They also pushed Demon’s Soul’s back to the 1st of July.

      • I hope you are right (have you ever not been?)

        3 years of waiting has come down to daily treks to JB hifi and I am just so keen on this game. I even looked online last night to see iof it has been released in ANY other PAL country. no luck. I will update as soon as I see it guys.

        And please send FR to GT:FatShady Live. I really want to have local online games and have been speaking to a Kiwi today and the both of us will make some NRL and state of origin teams in this game. Now imagine Blue v Maroon (Moron) in gridiron. I can’t wait.

  • I think if I was more into NFL I’d probably pump for Backbreaker. It certainly seems interesting, and it makes me wonder if an AFL game could ever implement awesome physics based collisions. I’d love to see Barry Hall go flying.

  • Might check out Split/Second if it is at a good price other wise i am REALLY looking forward to the new Transformers: War for Cybertron. Of course i am going to wait for the reviews but this really does look like it can do for the Transformers franchise, what Arkham Asylum did for Batman.

  • Really keen to play Backbreaker and Split Seconds demo wasn’t too bad at all – alas i’ll most likely be waiting for the end of year price drop for those.

    I’m super keen to get Transformers War for Cybertron in the coming weeks though. Seriously can not wait. Have you had any hands on time with this title yet goose? Any chance of a competition for it? hehe

    Also Naughty Bear does look like a fun little frollick so i’ll keep my eyes on that one in the next few weeks too.

    • Yup. War for Cybertron brings out the child in me, who happens to be annoyed that I stopped watching Transformers all those years ago. Let’s hope the game can appease him…

    • I too cannot wait for Transformers, something about it just looks so great, the multiplayer looks to have legs, and hopefully lies somewhere between the perfectly simple balance of Halo:CE and the depth of customisation seen in Call of Duty.

  • Been looking forward to Split/Second for a while now. Was quite disappointed it didn’t make it’s original release date, but I’ve had Red Dead Redemption, so can’t really complain…

    I’ve always been a lover of Arcade racing games, so this one is right up my alley, I really enjoyed the demo, and am hanging out for the full game. Unfortunately, my missus has also been hanging out for this one, so I’m going to have to share with her! haha. But I think it’s got 2 player split screen…

  • When is Back-BREAKA!!!!!! released? I think I may buy it not because I want it, but just to remember “The Sports Anomaly” – a former 1-up RADIO NETWORK!!!!!! podcast hosted by Todd “The Wild Yakker” Zuniga.

    RIP – Anomaly.

    But seriously – when is Backbreaker’s official release date?

  • I thought the Split Second demo was horrible so I am not buying it. Im also not interested in sport games or shovel ware so it looks like my wallet can rest easy this week. Oh wait I still haven’t picked up Skate 3 -.-‘

  • So is it a complete coincidence two arcade racers- split/second and blur- are coming out around the same time? Rather suspicious, reminds me of how EA crammed Need for Speed Shift out the front door to beat Forza 3 by a few weeks (and paid for it with bugs galore)…

  • My QVPBIB of this week is split second. It looks to be a fun time waster.
    I managed to get Skate 3 this weekend though. So thats been keeping me busy.
    Yay for Naughty Bear approaching!

  • Project runway sounds…. interesting.

    Now for Naughty Bear, I am really interested to see how this goes next week. If I was a betting man I would say that the game is going to be very disappointing.

    I won’t be picking anything up this week though. Nothing really stands out for me. So I will continue playing with RDR and then pick up Modnation racers.

  • Money has been saved this week… and it’s pay week, so even more saved! the EB Games sale is taunting me though…

    must stay strong!

  • I thought the Split/Second demo on PS3 was a bit slow, not really as extreme as I was expecting, but maybe that’s because I figured it to be a new Burnout game. I need a casual game so I’ll wait until I read some Blur reviews and make a choice as to which one to source for cheap $’s at some point.

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