A nice surprise from Bizarre Creations
Posted 2 years ago By Cayoux - Fred Laroche
While racing simulation games seem to be all about two franchises (Gran Turismo and Forza Motorsport), the world of arcade racers is much more open. From Burnout to Need for Speed, we are always seeing someone trying to reinvent the genre. And no matter what the game is, racing fans are always willing to check it out and see if it can strike them in some way or another. This is the case of BLUR, a new game from the studio behind the highly popular Project Gotham Racing series. While many folks weren’t sure if Bizarre Creations’ newest title could gain a foothold in the crowded arcade racing market, excitement grew exponentially when the Multiplayer Beta program was launched a few months ago. Now that the game has hit store shelves, does this new racer really stand out from the rest of the pack?
Labeled as “Mario Kart on Steroids” by many gamers prior to its release, BLUR turned out to be much more than that. The premise behind the game is certainly the usage of power-ups and bumper-to-bumper action. However, there’s a whole lot more to this game than you can imagine as it pushes the simplistic idea of a Mario Kart clone even further.
BLUR’s career mode is split into nine sections, each comprised of seven races. Your goal, on top of finishing first, is to collect as much “Lights” as possible. These are given to you based on your race rank but also on how many goals and objective you complete during a race. The player will also gain fans, which is the game’s equivalent of PGR’s Kudos system. Please them with your race winning, reckless driving and power-up evading/usage and you’ll get to unlock new cars and bonuses. At end of each level, a Boss Race will be waiting for you. Beat him and get his car alongside additional lights. Seems a bit reminiscent of NFS Most Wanted, don’t you think?
Of course, BLUR wouldn’t be compared to Mario Kart for nothing. Every track includes multiple power-ups that you can pick up by driving through them. There are eight power-ups, each carrying a different boost or helper. Shock allows you to fire lighting domes on the track that will slowdown any car that drives through them. Shunt lets you throw missiles. Bolt is the game’s version of the Needler from the Halo franchise. Barge blasts nearby vehicles away from you. Mine, Nitro, Shield and Repair are pretty much self-explanatory. You can store a maximum of three power-ups and have the ability to choose which one you want to unleash on your opponents. At first glance, you would think that managing/using power-ups while keeping your focus on winning races would end up being a difficult task. Surprisingly, it’s not.
For a game like this, gameplay balancing is a must. Whether you are a hardcore racer or a simple gamer that wants to have some fun, winning while having fun is easily achievable here. You won’t have to fight much to collect power-ups as they instantaneously appear after being picked up. Even if you start at the end of the pack, correct use of your mischievous skills can win you the race. This is what I like the most about BLUR. Anyone can enjoy it at any given time, whether you play it on a regular basis or a few times a week. You are not punished if your numerical skill level is low and driving like a mad man won’t bother anyone. If you play BLUR, you aren’t looking for realism, all you want is to have fun.
As far as multiplayer goes, you can play offline via split-screen or via System Link. But, if you really want to fully experience what BLUR has to offer aside from the career mode, its online where you should go. Up to twenty (yes, twenty) players can meet up and trade paint. Of course, the first time you jump online, you won’t have much to play with. You need to complete races and pull some special moves, which will get you will some valuable experience points that will help you level up and unlock new modes, cars and mods along the way. Basically, it’s the game’s single player mode, only expanded and much more fun. Luckily for Bizarre Creations, the Multiplayer Beta program launched a couple of months ago on Xbox Live has clearly helped show them the light as lag was almost non-existent, especially when entering a full 20-player game. Sadly, the same cannot be said for the PS3 version, which could have used some of that Beta love. Bizarre has already issued a patch for it, but we ran into some connections problems like servers being unavailable and random disconnects.
Finally, if you are a social networking junkie, the game features both Facebook and Twitter integration. This isn’t a selling point by any stretch, but you can flood your friends with career progression tweets or Facebook wall posts in an effort to tempt them into buying the game. Although, should this blatant marketing tactic work, someone over at Activision owes you something. Personally, I prefer it just because I would rather know what level you just achieved in Blur rather than getting invites to discover your farm or newest pet.
Graphics & Sounds
With its vibrant colors and stylized menus, BLUR’s flashy visuals gets the job done, but not enough to hide its truly simplistic nature. The cities aren’t very detailed. But I’ll agree, considering how fast you will go, you won’t care too much about how pretty the venues are since the focus will be on grabbing that shiny power-up. Car models aren’t impressive either. You can distinguish a BMW from a Dodge Viper, but that’s about it. It’s hard for me to not compare BLUR’s car design work to PGR’s, although I do understand that the focus wasn’t on delivering amazing car replicas. Maybe a little less emphasis on the neon-style color palette wouldn’t have hurt, especially when the car physics aren’t that bad to begin with.
BLUR’s audio reminds me a lot of Codemasters’ GRID and DiRT. It might sound weird, but having to listen to someone speaking while selecting modes or even welcoming me to the game is a huge plus. It definitely adds something extra to the already strong presentation value. Just like they used to do in PGR, Bizarre Creations’ extra care to make believable car sounds is noticeable. Screeching tires and motor sounds mixed with the power-up effects is a win. For some odd reason, the game’s soundtrack, which takes cues from hip hop, electronic and house beats, is turned-off by default. Not that the soundtrack is incredibly great mind you, but it’s obvious that Bizarre wanted you to focus on the environmental sound effects instead.
Despite having a very short career mode compared to what other racers have to offer, the multiplayer side of BLUR is what will keep the game alive. There are tons of new challenges, cars, powers and playlists to unlock. It’s all about player progression in BLUR and Bizarre Creations knows how to make their games score high in that department. The rewarding nature of the game is hard to dismiss.
Trying to dissociate their name from the PGR brand wasn’t going to be easy. Fortunately, BLUR succeeds. With games like Need For Speed, Burnout, Midnight Club and most recently Split/Second all having a share of the high-octane crazy racing pie, BLUR can proudly sit beside them. Now, it will be interesting to see how Activision is going to take care of their new franchise. The future is bright but extra care is needed to keep BLUR in the pack.
+ 20 player online, deep multiplayer mode
+ Great sound effects
+ Eye-popping visuals...
- Solo career not long enough
1 week ago :: Injustice: Gods Among Us
1 week ago :: Tiger Woods PGA Tour 14
2 weeks ago :: BioShock Infinite
4 weeks ago :: Gears of War Judgment
1 month ago :: (Kinect) The Hip Hop Dance Experience
1 month ago :: Tomb Raider
1 month ago :: Crysis 3
2 months ago :: DmC Devil May Cry
2 months ago :: (XBLA) Serious Sam Double D XXL
Download us here!
Game Junkies podcast and audio interviews
Release Date : 2010/05/25
System : Xbox 360
Publisher : Activision
Developer : Bizarre Creations
Category : Racing
ESRB : E
7.0 / 10
8.5 / 10
8.0 / 10
8.7 / 10