Blur Review

Blur (Available On PS3, 360, PC)
ESRB Rating: E10+
Genre: Racing
Players: 1-20
Publisher: Activision
Developer: Bizarre Creations
Release Date: May 25, 2010

Parent Talk: Blur is rated E10+ for ages ten and up due to the game featuring racing that would be otherwise dangerous in real life.  It’s intended for the player to enjoy over-the-top car combat.  No one is run over however.  Just be wary of permitting young ones to play online as they would more than likely be subject to coarse language from older gamers.

Ever since Activision bought Bizarre Creations, it’s been unclear just what the studio would be doing. With their Project Gotham Racing history, it’s no surprise to see them sticking with the genre. This time around though, it’s all about arcade racing with power-ups and real cars. I wasn’t very confident that this would pan out. As a PGR fan, it seemed blasphemous to change their design style to a more Mario Kart delivery. Thankfully those fears have been assuaged. What we have is great racing, in addition to the excitement, unpredictability and addictiveness of kart racing. Say hello to Blur.

The Great:

+ The closest thing to Mario Kart without a Wii. Blur is likely the closest you’ll come to playing Mario Kart on a non-Nintendo console, and this is great news for those fans who love battling it out with Mario and Co. into the wee hours of the morning. It’s not quite the same of course, but the similarities are obvious. Nitro boost, Shunts (homing projectiles), mines, and more adorn the item roster. These create a new level of the gameplay that requires you to be quick and deadly.

The Good:

+ Value. – One of the best things about this game is you can keep coming back. The solo events are thorough, which amounts to plenty if you want to race alone. Blur shines with its multiplayer however, which is fitting considering Mario Kart’s reputation. There’s an expansive online experience where you earn ranks separately from the single player. There are 50 total, plus ten additional legendary ranks, so there’s always something to pursue. You can participate in several different types of competitions that support 10 to 20 players at once which often makes for some insane races. There are also modes that ditch power-ups for racing purists, or options just for all-out battles. Plus, you can relive the classic kart racing days having a few friends over with four-player split screen.

+ Rewarding. Blur is fun of course, but also motivates you to continue playing. There’s always a new rank to achieve, car to upgrade, challenge to complete. It’s never short on new goals, so it never feels like you’re racing simply just to be racing. It’s the perfect game for the completionist in all of us.

+ Licensed vehicles. A first for a car-battling game, players can drive models from Audi, Volkswagen, Ford, BMW, Nissan, and more. There are even a few sillier, but still fun, choices like the Formula 1-powered Ford Transit Van 3. Plenty of variety helps keeps the experience interesting.

The Bad:

No “quick race”. In spite of all the race types and multiplayer modes, Blur lacks one of the most fundamental options in any racing game: quick race. You can’t set up a random race whenever you want.  You either have to play online, replay something, try a new single-player event, or be in the company of someone for split-screen. It’s disappointing.

Lop-sided multiplayer. The online multiplayer can be a bit lopsided. It’s unclear whether any distinct match-making is taking place. Offline competitions are pretty evenly matched, but performance differences online are more apparent in the vehicles. Those of higher rank tend to have a leg up with upgraded cars. Even if you are skilled, you can get left in the dust unfortunately.

The Lowdown:

There’s room for improvement, but any imperfections described are overshadowed by Blur’s addictive gameplay and entertainment factor. If you love cars, kart racing, or both, this is a great selection. Blur even has the potential to appeal to those that wouldn’t normally pick up a racing game. There’s plenty of content and fun to be had, so I recommend this one for purchase.

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