Ubisoft managed to build Rome in a year

This Week’s Games Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood has gone from being a game quietly announced with very little fanfare to being the highest rated game this winter. It currently has an average review score of 92%, which is higher than even Call of Duty: Black Ops (currently at 88%). Eurogamer gave it 10/10: “Never before have …

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Split/Second the second

A sequel to Split/Second has yet to be announced (even though the ending to the first one hints at one), but we won’t have to go without any Split/Second goodness for too long – a PSP version has been announced. The online multiplayer of the console versions is sadly going to be absent but to …

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Four wheels – better than two

UK Charts Despite very few games being released last week there has been a slight shuffle in the top 10 chart. The Sims 3: Ambitions is the sole new entry at #5 while both Prince of Persia: The Forgotten Sands and Split/Second: Velocity have left the top 10 already. They were at #8 and #6 …

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Split/Second: Velocity

When Disney purchased Brighton-based developer Black Rock Studios I honestly thought that they would have them working on a Mario Kart-style racer featuring Mickey Mouse, Porky Pig, The Wombles and other renowned Disney characters. Fortunately not only has Disney left Black Rock alone to do what they do best – which is make ruddy good racing games – but they let them delay Split/Second to add more polish. So, well done Disney. This almost makes up for the farce that was Lady and The Tramp 2.

In most racing games it’s the cars that are the stars but not here – it’s all about the tracks. Or rather, the ability to blow stuff up that’s cleverly strewn around and on the tracks. Drifting around corners builds up a ‘Power Play’ bar – filling it up half way gives the chance to take out rival racers by blowing up petrol tankers, buildings and dropping explosives out of helicopters flying overhead. Fill the power bar to the brim though, which requires some proficient drifting, and you can summon airplanes to crash land, detonate power station cooling towers and derail trains. Short-cuts and events that will change the layout of the track can also be triggered, like bringing down a tower so that the race can continue on top of it.

Because the literally explosive set-pieces always appear in the same place, recognition starts setting in and you’ll find yourself saving up Power Plays for certain places. For instance, one track has explosives rigged near the finishing line which is handy for nabbing the 1st position in the last few seconds. Timing plays a big part too – trigger an event too soon and it won’t even leave a mark on the opposition; do it too late and they’ll be watching those glorious explosions from their rear-view mirror.

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Red Dead Redemption rides the chart high

UK Charts My, my, my – there’s four new entries in the top 10 chart this week. It’s almost as if it’s the Christmas new release rush has come six months early. The apparently amazing Red Dead Redemption goes straight to #1, pushing 2010 FIFA World Cup to #2. Split/Second skids in at #5, Price …

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