Wednesday, June 16, 2010

A blurry review | Blur Review

When Activision sent us their latest game Blur, I attempted to figure out the best way to write up a review.  Considering the beta was out for some time, countless users on Xbox Live had their chance at the reigns just as we did.  The multiplayer addiction that is the online racing infused with that "just one more race" leveling up component, was known about months ago.  So what more can I possibly tell you?
Well, considering the fairly low numbers of the gamers online last time I checked in to play a few rounds, apparently, I need to tell you all about this game.  Blur being "just another racing game" couldn't be further from the reality here, and even I admit, I was in that camp initially...that was until I played a few races.  You've no doubt seen the latest commercial airing, taking on a comic approach touching on the nostalgia that we've all played Mario Kart in our days.  This is boiled down to Mario Kart for Grown Ups.  Not "grown-ups" as in you have to be old and proper and talk down to kids (though that's always fun as well), but more Mario Kart, Grown Up.  The game-play itself has seen an evolution, an aging as it were, with the polish you expect from Bizarre Creations (the devs that brought us the Project Gotham series on Xbox), who have a little experience with the genre.
So what's different?  Well, there are two main game-modes.  The single-player, and the multiplayer.  The Single-Player career mode plays out in similar fashion as we've seen before.  Start off with a few (slow) car options, and work your way through the "level" as you compete in a number of gameplay events.  From straight-up racing against 19 other cars, to a checkpoint mode, just you and the stop-watch, careering to each gate with as much time left as possible, to the destruction mode; where you just chase after spawning cars, and destroy as many as you can while you make your way through the track.  You gain levels by earning "fans" by driving in style, utilizing your power-ups, competing in specific fan challenges, and overall just winning races.  As you level up, more cars open up, as you work your way towards each level's "boss"; a one-on-one race to the finish, winner take all event.
Single player is a good time, and if you're socially inept, you can find a lot worse to waste your time with, but where the meat of this game really shines (can meat shine?); is the multiplayer.  The devs did a fantastic job of easing you in, and you can start in the kiddie pool/bunny hill online, where you're limited to levels 1-10.  Play a handful of races, and you'll soon be graduating out of the room and moving on to bigger and better players.  The multiplayer gameplay is the same as the single-player, but the element of human opponents really ups both the challenge and reward payout.
Power-ups include a number of what you'd come to expect in an action-racing title.  Shooting projectiles forward (or backward), a heat-seeking missile, speed burst, repair, and a few others; a nice selection, though I was hoping for something a little more unique to the series. gives Blur an 9 out of 10.  Graphics are arcade-y, but also vibrant, and the animation maintains a smooth FPS throughout.

Blur is available now for Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC

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