|System: X360, PS3, PC||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Bizarre Creations||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Activision Blizzard||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: May 25, 2010||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-4 (20 Online)||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone 10+||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Amanda L. Kondolojy
Blur is certainly an interesting title. Developed by Bizarre Creations (the same studio behind the famed Project Gotham Racing sim series), Blur is a mix of arcade and kart-style racing. It's definitely an unorthodox mix, but leave it to the team behind one of the biggest names in simulation racing to pull off this impressive title. Though the interface can take a little getting used to, Blur definitely is the most memorable automotive title of the year thus far, and it definitely deserves a spot of the shelf of any automotive or racing fan.
Right from the moment you start up the game, Blur has a distinctly unique feel to it. The game's menu system takes the form of a social networking interface, with information about rivals, friends, and opponents. The menu system is a little crowded, and the game wisely launches you into a tutorial to get you acquainted with Blur's setup. Your goal in the world of Blur is two-fold: get "lights" for winning races, and gain fans by driving tactically and using power-ups to gain an advantage over the competition.
The power-ups in Blur work in almost the same way as the mystery boxes in Mario Kart, and it is clear from the game's design (as well as Blur's promotional material) that that is precisely the way it is supposed to seem. However, even though the basics are the same (run over power-up, press button to fire) there are several key differences in Blur that make it seem like the full realization of the kart-racing ideas set down almost two decades ago.
There are eight different power-ups in Blur, and each can be used in both offensive and defensive situations. Most are straightforward, like the Nitro power-up, which gives you a temporary speed boost, and the Barge, which pushes cars near you out of the way. However, there are some more complex power-ups that can be used in a variety of situations, like the Shunt, which is a large projectile that you can either fire at other players or keep to protect yourself from fire from other players. The same thing goes for the Bolt power-up, which can be used to fire small projectiles at cars or to keep cars behind you at bay. In addition to these combative power-ups, there are also some strictly defensive power-ups that you can use including a Shield power-up which temporarily protects your car from damage and a repair power-up that gets rid of any damage you have taken.
With all of these power-ups, it is very possible to create a cohesive strategy to tackle the various challenges in Blur, especially considering you can stack up to three of these power-ups at a time and use them as you see fit. And if the mere presence of these power-ups didn't get you excited, there's also a load-out "mod" system that allows you to use power-ups in even more ways, depending on what your individual mod is. For instance, after beating the very first "boss" level, you unlock a mod that allows you to have one extra bolt shot every time you get that power-up. Other load-out possibilities include a shield that absorbs fired power-ups and once that increases effectiveness of offensive power-ups.
Although the power-up/load-out system may seem complex at first, Blur does a great job of introducing them very slowly, and giving players enough breathing room to formulate their own strategy. There are plenty of levels to play through, and when you are playing the career mode, there are enough main, secondary, and optional challenges to merit several replays. Blur is certainly a game you will be spending a lot of time with, and there is so much to do within each level/challenge, that it can almost be overwhelming.