Developer: Bizzarre Creations
Out Now for XBOX360, PS3 & PC.
Reviewed by Razor.
If you’ve ever played a racing game and wished you could suddenly unleash a powerful energy bolt to destroy the car ahead of you, or even if you’ve driven through the C.B.D. during peak hour and wished you could unleash an energy bolt to destroy the car ahead of you, then you will definitely enjoy BLUR.
The main event is “powered-up” racing. You and your opponents race as usual, but at select points around the course you will find different powerups that give you access to various offensive and defensive abilities that you can unleash at will. Sound familiar? Yep, it’s pretty much just like Mario Kart, except instead of Mario and friends racing around tracks like mushroom circuit, it’s Renaults, Dodges, Fords and Volkswagens racing in real-life inspired locations like Hollywood and London.
Now, did I say that this was a bad thing? Hello no! Finally we have a racing game that fills the void between Project Gotham Racing and Mario Kart. I’ve never been a huge racing game fan (though I do like games like Burnout where the emphasis is on fun rather than realism) but some of my most beloved gaming memories have been of dominating my friends at Mario Kart. BLUR gives me the tools to dominate them further.
The real fun is in multiplayer mode. You can play online or LAN against up to 19 opponents, or you can play offline with up to four players on a split screen. However, I found the 20 player races to be more chaotic than I could handle, and I much prefered the smaller races of 10 players.
Powered up racing is the default, but there is also a racing only mode, for people who like to race without the destruction; and an arena deathmatch mode for people who like destruction without the racing. Personally I found the powered up racing to be the most enjoyable of the three modes.
Single player mode is great too. It plays out like a career where you are competing against other computer controlled characters. Each stage sees you completing a certain amount of challenges set by a champion driver who you have to eventually beat to progess. Winning the races is only one aspect of it; you also have to win fans by performing crazy stunts and pulling of mini-challenges within the race. Like most other racing games you have to perform well to unlock all of the courses and cars available.
The selection of cars is surprisingly varied. It’s rare to see such a damage-intensive game with a license to use real car models.
Car brands featured include Dodge, Lotus, Ford, Vokswagen and Toyota; and even more surprisingly: all car models feature realistic damage. So yes, you will see Renaults and Nissans hurtling airborne sideways down the course, leaving shattered glass and twisted metal in their wake. There are also a range of four wheel drive and off road vehicles that fit this style of game perfectly.
Powerups that you can use are slightly more balanced carbon-copies of their Mario Kart equivalent. There’s the bolt which is three unguided shots; Shunt is a homing blast that targets the car ahead (think red shell); Mines are like an exploding banana peel; Shock places energy vortexes on the track ahead of the leading player to slow them down; Barge blasts cars in your immediate vicinity away from you; Nitro is your standard temporary speed boost; shield offers you protection from other powerups and there is also a Repair powerup that you will need A LOT.
Something to be aware of is that the game is pretty hard. Like most driving games, there is definitely a steep learning curve and you may find yourself coming nineteenth or twentieth for the first hour or so. The fact that your opponents are all trying to blow you up doesn’t make it any easier.
So, once again I found myself swallowing my pride and switching the difficulty to Easy while I got used to the car handling.
As expected there are heaps of achievements and trophies to aim for, although BLUR rewards you for non-gaming achievements like posting your results to Twitter and Facebook.
Overall, BLUR is an intense and action packed racer that shines in multiplayer mode. A word of warning: you may want to reaffirm your friendships at regular intervals while playing this game, because you will be trading insults regularly.
We reviewed the XBOX360 version; Blur is also available for the PS3 and PC.