Features & News

Demo Impressions: Blur

April 8, 2010, Author: Paula Lockyer

Blur is the latest game being developed by Bizarre Creations, who are also the team behind the legendary Project Gotham Racing titles. Don’t be thinking that Blur is going to be like Project Gotham, however, because you will be highly disappointed. Mainly because Blur is an arcade racer that throws some interesting elements into the mix, such as several Mario-Kart style power-ups for example, and these definitely make the races a lot more interesting to play. Rest assured, this game is very different from your recent intake of traditional racing games.

Let’s start by talking about what really makes the game so different; the power-ups. The game features eight power-ups in total, and these definitely help to hinder the other racers depending on how well they are used. Included in the Beta/Demo are Mines, Nitro Boosts, Shunt, Barge, Shield, Bolt, Shock and repair, with each featuring  a cool secondary fire. This could mean firing a shunt homing missile behind you or throwing a mine forward. It’s these power-ups that make each race different and exciting and it’s certainly a nice change of pace from just driving around a track focusing on the right time to brake, or when not to crash… mainly because in this game it definitely is more fun to crash.

The cars in the game are sorted by class, ranging from A to D, with A Class cars being the best performing cars. The cars that you own can also be ‘modified’ in the mod-shop and small upgrades can be applied to the car for small advantages, like the ability to start with a particular power-up or having more damage dealt in collisions with other cars. Once you start racing, you will earn ‘fans’, and it’s these fans that help you progress further in the game. In order to gain these fans, you have to drive recklessly. While it’s not compulsory to take out and wreck other racers, it does help you gain more fans… and yes… it’s a lot of fun too. Once the race is over, your fans are added up, and then you gain a rank thanks to the amount that you have accumulated. Unlike other racing games, facing off against higher ranking opponents is not that bad an ordeal, as besides having a faster car, they won’t really have any other advantage. This keeps the race’s fair and all in all, leads to a better gaming experience.

There are six tracks to play through in the demo, along with different race modes for people who are after a specific racing experience. Skirmish Races allow up to ten players to compete in races online, whereas other modes such as Motor Mash are all about smashing up the opposition and causing as much mayhem as possible. The game also features Challenges similar to games like Modern Warfare 2, to aid in gaining more fans for those hard to earn unlockables. These tasks usually consist of hitting rivals with power-up’s X amount of times or evading theirs. The challenges will more than likely be earned over time as power-ups are used consistently throughout the game; they have a purpose but I doubt that it’s important to core gameplay to be looking to earn them immediately.

A colourful racing experience

The actual racing side of the game is exciting from the off and the controls are simple to use too, which means that anyone can play, but more importantly anyone can win. This constantly changing field keeps you on edge, and makes for some exciting moments. Tactics with the power-ups can play an important part; as I hinted above, you really can be in last position and by using the right power-ups to your advantage end up taking the race; all you need to do really is to learn how to use them successfully. I suppose it’s that ‘unpredictability’ factor that will make you want to play the game more, because you just never know what the outcome of the race will be until its actually over.

Blur is said to be the next big thing for the racing genre, and I really hope that it does deliver what racing fans are yearning, because it’s about time we racing fans got a game that has successfully incorporated such a twist as this. From what I am seeing so far, I can’t see too many people being disappointed with how the game will eventually turn out. There is definitely a lot of fun to be had in Blur, and whether you win or lose, you’re just going to keep going back for more. This is an experience that fans of all schools of racing games should check out via the demo on the Xbox Live Marketplace, with the full game being due on shelves on the 28th May.