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Disney Interactive released a demo version of its upcoming Split-Second title and, I have to say, somebody may have taken Burnout's groove. Split-Second threads heavily on Burnouts past by awarding bonuses for catching drafts, drifting on harrowing highways, and even adds a bit of barrel-rolling explosion fun to the mix. All without the annoying, bewildering open-world mess of Burnout Paradise.
While it derives most of its inspiration from the Burnout series, it's most direct competition will be Blur when it releases next month. Blur is going for those of us who've been wishing for a grown-up Mario Kart but, from playing the beta, it's mostly derivative of other racers with a few quirks here and there.
Don't let Blur's neon glows and glitter distract you, Split-Second, to me, has the upper hand. Attacks on your opponents are timing-based and generally have a bigger, visible impact on the race. Especially considering it has a two-tiered attack system where the more you build up your combos, the more destruction you cause — usually changing the landscape of the race next lap around.
Other than that, the HUD (heads-up display) is placed on the car's rear bumper; a super-slick design allowing for a clear view of impeding doom and wide drift opportunities. You'll even forget that there's no speedometer tracking your speed!
Positives aside, the Split-Second demo could have done with some multiplayer options. Online or, even, split-screen would have really shown how the game performs when you have a human target/assailant to contend with. As is, it provides a nice preview of what's possible but in a mode that will — most likely — be swept aside quickly to take on challengers. Regardless, I know I've decided which racing game I'll be putting on my Gamefly game queue when Split-Second and Blur release next month.