June 9, 2010

Blur has been advertised as the “kart racer for adults” and has often been compared to Mario Kart since it was first shown off at E3 2009. Although this game has a kart racing vibe going for it, it definitely is a lot more than that. What you actually have here is an arcade racing title that plays a lot like Ridge Racer, Burnout, or Bizarre Creations’ other…creation, Project Gotham Racing, but with power ups added in just for good measure. And the result is a racing game like no other, and one of the best to come around in quite some time.

Presentation wise, the game may not be as strong as most racing offerings, but what it does give you is a very solid frame rate and tons of destructibility on screen at once. Everything may not look as polished as other racers, like Split/Second, but it still gets the job done. The audio, on the other hand, is fantastic, and you can truly hear each and every crash, explosion, and power up use. The fantastic sound design only further adds to the madness that is going on during races.

Despite comparing Blur to Bizarre’s first major racing series, Project Gotham Racing, this game is definitely a lot less simulation and more arcade styled. The only comparison between the two is how the cars all handle, and how the basic controls work. If you’ve played Project Gotham Racing before, you’ll get the hang of Blur’s mechanics in a matter of seconds. 

Even if you have no experience with that series, Blur’s control scheme is simple enough that anyone can jump in and play. It is a different experience than Mario Kart, but it has the same simple “jump in and play” mechanics that makes is that much more enjoyable. And with 55+ cars to unlock, all handling differently, there is certainly a lot of variety for those who are better versed in the ways of racing games. 

The single player campaign is solid, albeit a bit frustrating. There are nine different rivals to face off against, and each with a different set of events and goals to meet before facing off against them. After you complete all of goals in that set of events, you get to do a one-on-one race against the rival. This is definitely a good way to introduce everyone to the game’s mechanics, and it gives the player an idea of how each event is set up.

On the downside, the single player has an uneven difficulty, a true lack of variety, and brutal rubber band A.I. that can really kill your enjoyment of the game. Trying to make my way through all of the events in the single player is something that even racing game veterans will pull their hair out trying to finish. It gets to a point where it just is not fun anymore, and it becomes more and more frustrating with each event you pass. 

There is, however, one thing that truly saves Blur from being a disappointment, and that is the multiplayer. Multiplayer in this game is some of the most incredibly satisfying fun I have had playing online in quite some time. This is definitely where the game draws most people in, and I can safely say without a doubt is what makes Blur one of the best racing experiences around. 

The multiplayer has plenty of depth to it too, surprisingly enough. You rank up as you play online, and as you rank up you unlock new cars, new modifications for your cars, and new modes to play online. It’s the perfect “just one more race” experience that will almost beg you to keep coming back for more. The game will often dangle new cars, modes, and car mods in front of you whenever you are about to rank up, making the urge to keep playing even stronger. 

The best part is, even if you fail to win races you will still earn plenty of experience based on how well (or how frequently) you use power ups, among many other things. There are many ways to rank up in Blur, and you may find yourself gaining more experience than those who win every race at times. It’s very rewarding, no matter what kind of gamer you are, and that is what truly makes the game that much more enjoyable for everyone. 

Blur is an incredible experience, barring that you mainly stick to the multiplayer. It’s usually hard for someone like me to recommend a game with such a weak single player component, but the multiplayer experience makes the price tag for this game well worth it, especially if you are a racing game fan. If you are still on the fence, try it out, but I guarantee this is one game that you will be hard pressed to stop playing anytime soon.

Pros: Large variety of modes; solid controls and mechanics; power ups are fun and none feel unnecessary; amazingly fun and surprisingly deep multiplayer

Cons: Single player is pretty poor due to inconsistent difficulty, lack of variety, and completely brutal rubber band A.I. 


Score: 4/5

Questions? Check out our review guide.