The lights are on
What new ideas the game brings to the table and how well old ideas are presented.
How good a game looks, taking into account any flaws such as bad collision or pop-up.
Does the game’s music and sound effects get you involved or do they make you resolve to always play with the volume down?
Basically, the controller to human interface. The less you think about the hunk of plastic in your hands, the better the playability.
Flat out, just how fun the game is to play. The most important factor in rating a game.
Blur developer Bizarre Creations has a history of thinking outside
the racing box. The Project Gotham creators made a name for themselves
with that series’ Kudos system. It asked players to think about the race
within the race – driving stylishly and on the edge was just as
important as crossing the finish line in first. That same spirit is
found in Blur, although this time winning the internal battles by
abusing other racers at every turn is synonymous with coming in first
Blur is a game built on versatility. Power-ups aren’t
simply offensive or defensive; they are tools you can use in different
ways depending on the situation. A Barge blast is always handy to
disrupt any cars in your immediate vicinity, but it can also be deployed
as a momentary shield. Likewise, most power-ups come with an alternate
fire option. For instance, your garden-variety Nitro boost can
alternately be used to slow you down – useful for those really tight
There are many ways to play Blur apart from how you use
your power-ups. Earning fans (which is how you level up and unlock cars)
is easy, and even when you’re not getting them for doing stuff you’d
normally do – like ramming someone with a Nitro boost while you’re in
mid-air – the game gives you plenty of opportunities. There are always
mid-race challenges that garner fans for doing things like hitting
someone with a Bolt missile while you’re drifting or passing through a
dozen checkpoint gates.
Unlike Mario Kart, Blur doesn’t embrace
randomness or engineer worst-to-first finishes. Power-ups are in the
same position each lap and are never randomized, so you can plan ahead
for when you can grab that Shield or lightning blast. You can also see
what everyone’s carrying, so you know when to make your move against a
weak opponent or respect their strength. Finally, Blur lets you manage
three power-up slots and drop power-ups at any time. You can stock up on
three speed boosts for that long straightaway, for example, or concoct a
triple threat that’ll earn you lots of fans when they destroy the
field. The best thing is that the game doesn’t favor one particular kind
Blur features boss battles, and while I like the
idea, I’m torn on the fact that to unlock them you have to go through
set criteria first. Most of these you meet simply by doing what you do
best, but a few are so specific (like reverse Shunting five cars), that
occasionally I felt like I was having to grind races just to meet one of
the goals. The cars you win from the bosses feature mods (which give
you in-race bonuses), but I’m surprised these aren’t as prevalent as in
the multiplayer where you have cars with multiple mod slots and the
ability to manage different mod loadouts. Blur’s online multiplayer
feeds your hunger for earning fans and leveling up, and it’s one of
racing’s best online multiplayer modes.
Blur is the thinking
person’s death race – if there is such a thing – where your mind is
racing just as fast as your motor.
Email the author Matthew Kato, or follow on Twitter, and Game Informer.