Blur screenshot
Blur screenshot

All this, combined with a handling model that feels very much like the sim/arcade mix found in PGR4, makes for some thrilling gameplay. Cars have a real weight to them, fighting against the rules of physics as you try to stay in control while sliding around corners at insane speed. Despite its arcade appearance, this isn't an easy game. Trying to concentrate on the racing line (or cornering properly at all), while thinking about the projectiles coming up the road behind you and what power-up you need to have selected to combat it, is rock hard but great fun.

You'll likely be able to invest tens of hours into completing the single-player career, but the real meat lies in Blur's multiplayer. Four-player split-screen is hugely enjoyable, either using pre-set event playlists or creating a custom one of your own, and the game holds up well despite having to display four mini screens. This is simply the starter, though, for a packed multiplayer experience. With up to 20 players competing against each other, power-ups flying all over the place, I've never played an online racer so action packed, chaotic and addictive.

Even with 20 racers screaming along, the net code holds up remarkably well. There are also cool little post-race awards and, most importantly, a ranking system and online challenges. Just as in games like Modern Warfare 2, your achievements during online races result in points, which over time increase your rank. Fans gained online, through the challenge system and for performing certain moves, unlock new cars. The mods online work differently too, with three slots available to fill with perks and abilities that you've unlocked. PGR4 had some of the best online integration I'd ever seen in a racer, yet Blur sets a new benchmark.

If simply taking part in events online isn't enough, you can challenge friends to beat your scores, sending them in-game messages or telling them via Facebook or Twitter using the slick in-built integration. By using Geometry Wars 2-style friend highscores on screen, you're always aware of what you need to beat, keeping you hooked each time your best is bettered. Simply put, there's enough content in the multiplayer/online portion of the game to make this the only racer you'll need for months and months.

Blur screenshot

Bizarre games always feature slick presentation, and Blur is no exception. While the in-game visuals lack the in-your-face awesomeness of the recently released Split/Second, the style on show is brilliant, with plenty of moody lighting and neon lights. Weapon effects are incredible too, adding an immeasurable amount of cool to proceedings, contorting the field of view as they tear towards their target. Sassy, Basement Jaxx-like house and electronica forms the backing for every race, and the sound effects for the power-ups are equally impressive: each pick-up has its own distinctive noise, and when you're on the receiving end of an attack it sounds like the air around you is being distorted - get hit by a bolt and you'll hear what can only be described as a transformer changing form.

The problems here aren't necessarily what Bizarre that did wrong, but issues PGR fans might have. While you can have no power-ups in multiplayer races, the only pure driving events in single-player come from the checkpoint races. Here you still have nitro power-ups though, and the lack of true time trials is a disappointment - though they'd be perfect for a large DLC pack if you ask me (Are you reading this, Bizarre?). There's also the argument that race position is too dependent on luck, which despite not being true, will seem accurate to anyone who doesn't invest the time learning the nuances of Blur's gameplay.

I still want Bizarre to make a true successor to PGR, but I'm glad it made Blur too. It really is a modern take on the Mario Kart formula, done in a way that feels incredibly cool and refreshing. It's a game anyone could pick up and enjoy, yet there's depth here that only the very best players will appreciate. It's a game built around power-ups that doesn't feel unfair, and features a multiplayer mode that will grab you and not let go. Best arcade racer of the year? Nothing is certain, but it'll be incredibly hard to beat.

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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

Technical Specs
Blur
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: Xbox 360 , PS3 , PC
Developer: Bizarre Creations
Publisher: Activision
Genre: Racing
No. Players: 1-20
Rating: PEGI 7+
Site Rank: 725 50
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