Estimated reading time: 5 minutes
Bizarre Creations’ 2010 arcade racer, Blur, borrows a lot from the go-kart and vehicular combat racing genre. In fact it dives right into the eye of the hurricane and pulls out all the stops, giving us a level of panache unprecedented in the one genre where the more the crazy, the better. With cues obviously taken from Crash Team Racing, Road Rash, and Super Mario Kart, Blur pits real-world cars (albeit slightly disproportionate) in off-kilter, no-holds-barred racing which sees massive balls of fire, impregnable shields, and electric rain. Gamers who aren’t accustomed to the mechanics and attitude of arcade kart racers (or arcade racers in general) are going to find this game a bit esoteric in terms of gameplay and the “anything goes” attitude that comes with the territory. There may be far better vehicular combat racing games than Blur, but this one does everything so well and provides hours of addictive fun. When I say hours, of course I referring to the split-screen multiplayer feature that supports up to four players. So if you have any friends left from the halcyon days of Mario Kart 64, bring them over for another taste of familiar, yet fresh and slightly mature, explosive mayhem that is Blur.
Blur apparently has a story, but I noticed it as much as that vase in a Sophie Dee video. When the terribly addictive gameplay is all that matters (and the one thing that you’re going to remember anyhow), who cares who your next boss or bonus challenge is going to be. But for the need of a detailed review, here’s the crux of the story: you’re an aspiring racer wanting to wet his beak. An omnipresent female announcer with free time on her hands guides you to the hottest races and racers in town, with each stage having its own boss racer and distinct challenges, such as passing through a set number of golden gates to gain a set number of cheering fans on your side. The more you accumulate, the more minutes get added to your fifteen minutes of fame. And that’s about it, really. Pretty standard fare, nothing you haven’t heard of before. Like I said earlier, it’s not the story that matters; it’s the carnage-filled racing.
Blur is style and speed over everything else. Even when driving lower classes of cars, everything moves past you in a blur (hence the acute naming of the game). The locales in which you let loose your screaming banshee are nicely detailed, but nowhere as gorgeous as in most other games. It doesn’t matter, really, because a single fleeting look at a building or a faraway vista is all you need to know that the game does indeed mix things up (even if you don’t really pay much attention to them). The cars are nicely rendered and appropriately animated and designed for over-the-top arcade racing. This is something Need for Speed: Nitro on the Wii tried to emulate, but failed. (at-least the NDS port is pretty enjoyable).
Blur comes from that game design school which employs the “choose-the-right-car-for-the-right-track” tactic. There’s a certain car (not naming it; find out for yourself) that is so perfectly suited for the long, winding road of Mount Haruna that, should you choose to select it, will put you in the lead just mere seconds into the race. It should be worth noting that that same vehicle is practically useless on other tracks (especially the Tokyo streets one). The physics of Blur walks the fine line between old-school arcade racers and modern simulators. It is a doggie-bag of practically every physics employed in virtually every racer to come into existence. The collisions feel tight but not forced or heavy. When hit by a Shunt or projectile, the impact feels strangely satisfying but hardly slows down your vehicle to aggravating levels. In fact, once the game picks up speed, it hardly slows down nor gives any reason to do so.
Now that the attention has come to the vehicles of Blur, let’s talk about them. Being an adrenaline-rush racing game, it should come as no surprise that, et al, Koenigsegg CCX, Ford GT and Audi R8 are amongst the line-up. Perfect for speed-junkies or fans of the high-octance a la F-Zero, these slightly disproportionate supercars are perfect for setting the mood of goosebumps thrill. But these cars (and more) are only available in the later levels. For the opening levels, you’re given a set of rather unconventional vehicles to spend time with; like Ford Focus RS, Ford Transit SuperVan3, and Volksvagon Beetle. Of course, these cars are also fitted with unrealistic engines and power, and only in a game like Blur would you see the spectacular and impossible sight of Ford GT going head-to-head with a Beetle. Finding this too difficult to believe? By all means, play this game for yourself and become a believer. The learning curve is respectful, though longtime racing fans will have little to no difficulty in taming the beasts – and it won’t be long before they’ll be obediently responding to your command.
Power-ups play an extensive role in Blur. The power-ups behave more closely to the unabashedly aggressive specials of Sonic & Sega: All Stars Racing than, say, Super Mario Kart (to which it is often strangely compared to). Not entirely imaginative in their execution, they at-least have an impressive penchant for fireworks: every power-up explodes or activates with a bang, sending wild arrays of color and chaos asunder. If one didn’t know better, one could swear one’s watching a pretty screensaver mimicking the sparkly trails seen in Katy Perry’s Firework. Just for the eye-porn attractiveness alone, Blur gets ten out of ten.
Blur is definitely a must-play and I recommend it to everyone. If you have, for some strange reason or another, ever wanted a cross between Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit and F-Zero GX, then Blur is the game of your dreams.Score: N/A