Blur Review

By on June 30, 2010

Blur the rules of racing.


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First Impressions
My reaction is

Having played quite a number of racing games over the years (both in arcades and on consoles), they’ve sort of begun to blur together (pun intended). So naturally when I picked up Blur for the Playstation 3, I expected to find yet another racing game which I could course through in a couple of hours. Funnily enough, I ended up playing till about 2am before I realized that I had spent nearly five hours playing the game for the first time.  Don’t get confused here – Blur is still at its core a very standard racing game, but piled on top of that core are a number of features that really makes this game a quick sell to any racing fan.

The beauty of Blur’s career mode is that you can progress as you please and at your own pace. While there are a lot of things to learn in Blur in terms of racing style and track prowess, the game never overwhelms you, so the invisible learning curve is actually quite comfortable. Simply pick a car and get thrown in with 20 other racers in a mad battle to the finish. You progress through the career mode by acquiring lights and fans – lights are earned by coming in the top three for any race, and fans are rallied by pulling off stunts, attacking enemies, and smooth driving. There are also special ‘fan runs’ on every track which will let you boost up your fan rating by driving through a number of marked checkpoints.

While this does sound like any other racing game, the similarities end here. Blur’s spin on the racing genre is that the game includes weapons, and some deliciously evil ones at that. Choose to shock, blow up, ram, or shoot at your opponents as you careen around the track, while at the same time avoiding projectiles and destructible environments yourself. There are both defensive and offensive weapons available, and picking them up is as simple as driving over them on the track. Your car can initially hold up to three power ups which can be activated at any time, which essentially opens the door for some serious combo hits. However I highly recommend that instead of going absolutely mental and trying to blow up everyone else, you also pick up a shield or repair power up to save your own skin. If (and that’s a big if) you crave for more than the career racing experience, there are two other modes available. You can get through the Checkpoint mode to master your driving skills, or enter Destruction to go through an all out carnage session with the other drivers.

Because the game is so beautifully balanced with the rewards system, you never feel that the game is too easy or too difficult. While the AI can occasionally be a bit too mean to get by, rather than being frustrating it challenges you to change your driving tactics and plan ahead the next time you tackle a track. And unlocking further challenges isn’t just down to coming first in every race – some of the track challenges are quite demanding and it’s this that will truly test your racing mettle. The multiplayer in Blur is also very good, and tries hard to lean on the ‘social’ side of the game. You can challenge friends to events or beat their times in certain tracks, and can also upload photos of your wins and best times to Facebook. It’s a welcome new addition to this genre of games, as it’s more meaningful to beat one of your friends than it is to beat some stranger halfway around the world. There is a split screen option for local play, but this turned out to be more frustrating than enjoyable, so its best you go online for some true multiplayer fun.

The tracks in the game are varied and well designed – each track comes with its own surprises and shortcuts, and you’ll often find yourself having to repeat a race with a different car simply because your nitro-hungry vehicle isn’t suited to the track’s curved mountain ranges. I especially loved the track set near the Hollywood sign, even if I kept skidding into oblivion. With a plethora of tracks of varying location and design, there’s always something to keep you on your feet. Visually, the game is a winner as well – the explosions are certainly well done and the cars register damage as they race around, which is a nice touch. The sound effects are often ear-shattering, as explosions rip apart the track around you. But what’s a racing game without them?

Blur is certainly a game that is easy to get lost in, especially during multiplayer. The social side to the game clearly gets players hooked in and competing against friends, and there’s nothing better in life than bragging rights. Blur is a slick racing game with a mind of its own and an amazing amount of replay value. Pick this game up if you’re looking for a fun and addictive racer with that extra bit of oomph.


The Scorecard
GAMEPLAY
8
Terrific tracks coupled with explosive powerups – what more do you want?
GRAPHICS
8
Good level designs and car details, though the special effects for the power ups could have been better.
SOUND
7
Plenty of explosions accompanied by a techno soundtrack.
VALUE
9
Tons of tracks and cars to unlock, and excellent multiplayer will have you going for hours on end.
FUN FACTOR
9
Twenty racers on one track trying to blow each other up. Can you say ‘epic fun’?
OVERALL
8.6
Blur is a racing game that certainly makes its mark amongst the slew of racing games heading our way in the months to come.

About

A former IT & Marketing Manager turned full time Editor, Nick enjoys hurling fireballs and tinkering with the latest gadgets. Follow him on Twitter as @theregos

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Comments
  • http://thegamingnomad.wordpress.com/ S. Dino

    yea I'd say an 8 is just about right.


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