Split/Second is a TV show all about cars, destruction and explosions and they are always looking for new participants. For the twelve episodes of the new season, they hire the player to be one of the eighth drivers and perhaps even become the next champion. It is an arcade-focused racing game with fake-named sport cars inspired by real-world cars. But instead of just racing around the tracks and trying to be first just by driving better, everyone has access to a power play bar. By doing drifts, drafting (driving in the slipstream of another car), jumping or avoiding an activated power play, the three sections of the bar fill up. While the first two are used to activate two level one power plays, filling up the third gives the player access to a level two power play.
If a section of the bar is filled, the player will see an icon above the cars ahead once they are in range of a power play. These power plays are for example a helicopter who drops exploding barrels or a parked car rigged to explode, but also larger events like a train bridge that goes up in flames or a whole ship sliding to the side. While the first two are level one power plays, the second two are level two power plays. Activating a level two power play also results in a change of the track. Once the ship has been blown up the normal route is blocked by fire so the drivers have to use the deck of the ship as an alternate route. There are also often shortcuts on the track which are opened up by spending a level one power play and close a few seconds afterwards, crushing anyone who was foolish enough to follow the player (or whoever opened it up). The reason to use these power plays is simple: wrecking the opponent, either by letting him crash into things or shaking him up so much that he looses control of his car and crashes himself. Of course the player has to be careful. He too can be caught up in his own power play, losing his advantage and more often then not even the entire race. Much of the driving is centered around drifting through corners and carefully throttling to keep the drift going. Long drifts are also the fastest way to fill up the power play bar.
Besides the normal races the game features several other game modes like Destruction in which the player has to get to the finish line as fast as possible while every power play on the track is automatically triggered. Air Strike on the other hand requires the player to dodge missiles shot by a helicopter flying ahead. The mode Air Revenge takes this even further, allowing the player to return those missiles to their origin. There are also Time Trial events where are all power play are triggered automatically and Elimination where the last driver of the pack is eliminated from the race after set time intervals.
During the course of the campaign the player earns credits depending on which place he finished an event. By earning credits, the player automatically unlocks access to the final event of each episode, an elite race, and new cars. In addition the player unlocks special decals by doing crazy stuff like winning a race by a split-second. Each episode also features a bonus event which needs to be unlocked first by wrecking a certain amount of cars in the other events.
On all platforms the game features a split-screen-mode for two players as well as online multiplayer for up to eight players with three different game modes available.