Published on August 15th, 2010 | by prime0
Blur – Review
Summary: Blur is a hugely complete confident and cathartic racing experience. One of the finest racers ever, and an absolute beast online
Better late than never. Blur arrived late for the review process, but such is the quality of Bizarre Creations’ electric new racer that it would be a crime not to give it the credit it so richly deserves. And do you know what? It appears that the Liverpool lads have done well.
It shouldn’t come as a surprise, really. Bizarre have been the masters of a specific brand of arcade racing for years, and with Blur they’ve taken this experience and melded it with the studio’s other landmark effort, Geometry Wars.
Yes, it may seem trite, but Blur is heavy mix of Project Gotham and everyone’s favorite twin-sticked shape-based shooter. For every apex you have to hit perfectly there’s a sparkly neon power-up as some sort of karmic balance. Friends’ high scores taunt you from the menus, techno thuds from the speakers and the engines growl and purr with raw automotive aggression.
Engines growl and purr with raw automotive aggression
Blur might be a kart racer in snazzy clothes, but it has so much more depth than its brightly colored brethren. In an unusual move for an arcade racer, the handling is almost as tricky as PGR’s.
Hammering around the track, bashing into walls and ignoring the brake will result in last place more often than not, and in 20-car races, that’s a pretty humiliating feeling. You have to work the racing line properly, and when you do, you can actually feel the drag as you pull away from the apex. Amazing stuff.
Don’t be misled, though; it’s no Forza, and even those typically put off by any notion of caution in a racer need not worry, as getting to grips with Blur’s huge selection of racers is not a tricky business. In fact, more time will be spent figuring out the best use for the finely balanced power-ups that hover tantalizingly throughout every meticulously well-designed track.
Unlike other power-up racers, there’s no mega-weapon here. Almost all of the power-ups can be countered with another, so an incoming Shunt missile can be stopped with a Shield, a backwards-fired Mine, Bolt or even a well-timed Barge. 20-car races are so intense, as just trying to hang on to 14th place can be a titanic struggle. Flying out into the lead changes everything; you have to become a Jedi-levelled defensive master. Win, and it’s a sheer, unadulterated triumph.
Offline, Blur’s career structure is familiar but solid. Races are backed up by checkpoint challenges and destruction battles, but it’s the lure of beating your buddies’ scores that’ll keep you in the hunt.
Long term Blur-ing, though, will be had online. Bizarre has taken the ideas of Modern Warfare (leveling, perks) and incorporated them into a racer so intense, fair and often hilarious that it’s surely the best in its class. Lag’s barely an issue, races are divided into classes so no one is left trailing at the back with an unpowered motor, and the raw eye-popping rush that comes from battling for any position on the grid is pure online bliss. Blur deserves to gamer a massive community, as it really is that good online.
So, really don’t be put off by its moderately sparse visuals or any concerns of an emo-Mario Kart. This is truly breathtaking stuff, a hugely complete, confident and cathartic racing experience, and it’s also one like no other.
If the goal of modern videogames is to make us ‘feel’ them, then few do it as successfully as Blur. Bizarre Creations, we salute you.