Blur screenshot
Blur screenshot

I didn't like the idea of Blur. Ever since I was told about Bizarre Creations' first game for Activision, I couldn't help but feel disappointed. I love PGR. PGR2 is one of my all-time favourite games and the studio's last game in the series, PGR4, is up there with the best racers available for the Xbox 360. Those titles were all about finding the fine line between precision and style, pitting you and your chosen car against the challenges of real city courses. Blur, by contrast, is about firing homing missiles at your opponents. Or at least that's what I thought until I sunk hours and hours into its addictive single and multiplayer modes. Blur is anything but a disappointment.

Labelling Blur as grown up Mario Kart is a bit unfair on both titles, but it gets the point across. As in Mario Kart, you get access to a variety of pick-ups, races can change completely in a second and multiplayer is where the game excels - but there's so much more to Bizarre's racer. The use of pick-ups and your tolerance for the element of chance will ultimately determine how much you love or hate Blur. Of the eight power-ups, picked up by driving over their icons on the race tracks, the majority are fairly self explanatory. Nitro, mine, shield and repair do exactly what they say on the tin, but shunt, bolt, shock and barge take a little explaining. Shunt is essentially the red shell from Mario Kart, firing off a homing missile; bolt equips you with a number of quick-fire laser-like bullets; barge releases a shockwave around your car that pushes anyone close enough; and shock places electrical whirlwinds near the current race leaders.

Key to Blur's success is that these power-ups, and their effects on you during races, rarely feel unfair. You can carry up to three at once and cycle through them, and this gives you quite a lot of tactical options. Most attacks can either be avoided or blocked in some way, and can furthermore be fired forwards or backwards. So, someone might fire a homing shunt, but if you time the release of a backwards bolt as the projectile approaches, you can blow it up before it reaches you.

There are little defensive moves like this for many of the power-ups, so if you don't instantly use them as soon as they're acquired, in theory you will have some means to protect yourself. Of course, this is easier said than done, and if you're attacked by a sequence of projectiles your defences will almost certainly run out. There's always an element of misfortune that will send you crashing out and plummeting down the pack, but it's not nearly as wild as what's seen in the Mario Kart series.

Blur screenshot

The single-player career mode is hugely addictive, offering a series of tiers packed with multiple events. These fall into three categories: straight up races (with power-ups), checkpoint runs (hitting the required number of checkpoints before the time reaches zero), and target shooting (using a quick-fire weapon to take down other racers, each adding more time to the ticking clock). Your success in these will reward you with Lights, which in turn unlock new events to try and eventually the next tier.

Each tier is watched over by a rival who can be challenged to a one-on-one race as soon as you meet their demands, which take the form of specific targets within the previous events. There's no immediate obligation to seek out these battles, but since success here will unlock their special car and mod (a perk that grants you an in-race bonus or ability), they're well worth doing.

Kudos, a staple of the PGR series, is absent here, but in its place is the fan system. Performing certain tasks, such as hitting an enemy with a bolt while powersliding, will gain you extra fans - a currency that unlocks new cars and increases your rank. During events there are also optional fan demands and runs, activated by driving over specific icons. Each of these throws up a spontaneous challenge that, if completed, can further add to your swelling fanbase.

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User Comments

EISPower's Avatar

EISPower

Cars with weapons HAHA this game is a joke.
Posted 09:27 on 10 March 2011
alsimmons's Avatar

alsimmons

This game is so fun i barley got it June 14 my birthday and it is maybe the best racing game ever(Not counting "Split Second" never played it)
Posted 06:05 on 16 June 2010
Mr_Ninjutsu's Avatar

Mr_Ninjutsu

If anyone likes arcade racers GET THIS GAME!
Posted 09:57 on 29 May 2010
Endless's Avatar

Endless

Having played neither Blur not split/second, split/second appeals to me more. It's a fresh take on an old formula as i see it and being able to instigate massive film-style explosions and events to try an stop your opponents just sounds awesome.
Posted 09:46 on 29 May 2010
enviro-bear's Avatar

enviro-bear

imo the beta was a fuster cluck. won't be buying
Posted 09:36 on 29 May 2010
Wido's Avatar

Wido@ Ghost5

Lol Indeed you shall :D
Posted 13:19 on 28 May 2010
Ghost5's Avatar

Ghost5@ Wido

Shall we see the unfortunate return of the Pink Passion Wank Tank?

I'll be picking this up soon =D
Posted 11:01 on 28 May 2010
scaz2244's Avatar

scaz2244

as a massive PGR fan (especially 3 and 2) i was hoping they would stick to their roots but blur does look quite good but the whole mario kart part of it doesnt really intrest me as much great review though tom, honestly thought you were going to give this low as you enthusiasm towards it on podcasts didnt sound it would get high
Posted 10:20 on 28 May 2010
dav2612's Avatar

dav2612

This is one I need to try before I buy.
Posted 09:58 on 28 May 2010
El-Dev's Avatar

El-Dev

Didn't like the beta and I generally don't like these types of racers so I will be giving this a miss despite the great scores it's getting.
Posted 09:36 on 28 May 2010
Stegosaurus-Guy-II's Avatar

Stegosaurus-Guy-II

More like, Dur.
Posted 09:35 on 28 May 2010
Mr_Ninjutsu's Avatar

Mr_Ninjutsu

Great review tom, this one looks like a winner to me.
Posted 09:33 on 28 May 2010
Karlius's Avatar

Karlius

Loved the review. As a PGR lover think I'll have to get this.

It's what I love about this site preconceptions are thrown out at review time and an honest, affluent and well written review emerges. The site never disappoints with its reviews.
Posted 09:30 on 28 May 2010
pblive's Avatar

pblive

HMV are giving away a copy of The Italian Job Special Edition Bluray with the PS3 version and 800 MS points with the 360 version today.
Posted 09:17 on 28 May 2010
SexyJams's Avatar

SexyJams

For all your smack talk Tom, you've really written a fair and lovely review.
I'm going to be trying this out for sure mate.
Posted 08:27 on 28 May 2010

Game Stats

9
Out of 10
Blur
  • Cool presentation
  • Online functionality is brilliant
  • Great driving model
  • Not much pure racing for solo players
Agree? Disagree? Get Involved!
Release Date: 28/05/2010
Platforms: PS3 , Xbox 360 , PC
Developer: Bizarre Creations
Publisher: Activision
Genre: Racing
No. Players: 1-20
Rating: PEGI 7+
Site Rank: 683 8
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