Bizarre Creations have made a name for themselves behind the excellent Project Gotham Series that blended realistic racing with a touch of arcade fun and did it well. Their follow up title is the action packed Blur, an arcade racer that will have players racing realistic cars while using power-ups to dominate their opposition. Fun, frantic and badass; but is Blur worth the price of admission?
The single-player Career is no easy feat, featuring some truly brutal A.I which can be a little off putting when you are trying to learn the basic mechanics of the game. Learning how the power-ups function and perfecting your drifting skills are a hard task to accomplish as Blur just throws your in the deep end of the action, providing you with small tutorial videos along the way as you begin new events.
If you are after a simulated racing experience you need not look here. More often than not you will find yourself fighting to survive as your opponent will launch a multitude of attacks and defenses against you. While it is easy enough to evade your attackers on the smaller races, when you have a full grid of 20 things turn into utter chaos. It’s fast, it’s furious, and it’s unrelenting. Power-ups are varied and a lot of fun, you’ll have the option of using missile attacks to phasers, shields, mines, boost and more. The great feature is each weapon has an alternate use for example; find yourself coming into a corner too hot and you have a boost power-up? Simply use the alternate fire mode and rather than boost it slows you down mega quick. It’s these little quirks that will eventually mean the difference between surviving and dominating.
The single-player career will have you racing in a number of events from standard racing with power-ups, to checkpoint racing, to destruction events all in order to unlock new cars and progress to the higher classes. You win “lights” by placing in events, and by hitting certain fan targets. The more impressive you are, the more fans you win. Simple enough premise and one that works to the titles advantage.
While racing around pulling off sweet moves, blasting your opponents with a multitude of weaponry and seeing that fan counter ticking over is satisfying at first, after extended playtime with Blur it begins to grow tired and weak. The game does well to throw you in the deep end and just leave you there, but sooner than later you learn how to traverse the waters and you will find yourself wishing there was more to discover.
Blur is a decent looking game. While it may lack a little in the details when compared to other racers out there, it’s easy on the eye and more importantly runs at a consistent frame-rate even when faced with some truly chaotic scenes. Matched up with a great sound from each and every car, Blur hits the right notes when it comes to audio and visual presentation.
Multiplayer is a blast with a small group of friends; nothing can quite beat that feeling you get when you smash your best friend with a perfectly placed flurry of bolt attacks, yet much like the single player the experience becomes messy and chaotic with a full grid of 20. Thankfully this can be evened out with a series of fun team based races and battle modes, which is by far the most rewarding and exciting way to play Blur online. Along with the online components the developers have thrown in a 4 player split screen option which is handy for those with friends around who want to get in on the action.
The Final Verdict
Blur had all the right ingredients to be a great game; frantic pacing, chaotic battle, wide and varied suite of multiplayer options, smooth frame rate backed up by great audio. The fact of the matter is there is nothing wrong with Blur, it just fails to give the gamer a reason to keep coming back for more. Fun with friends, fun for an hour or so every now and then, but it won’t keep you playing for much longer than that.