I’ll admit to apathy in having a Blur Multiplayer Beta code rotting away in my inbox since February. I just thought the game didn’t bring anything new to the already crowded racing game genre. Shame on me, though, because it turns out the game is actually pretty fun. It’s too bad I only had the last week to enjoy it.
Blur plays like Mario Kart with real cars, Wipeout’s powerups, and Call of Duty’s perks and leveling system. Granted, the game doesn’t sound earth shattering, but this amalgamation of gameplay mechanics actually works fairly well. The controls are as simple as Mario Kart: Gas, Brake, Fire Powerup (point the stick backwards to fire backwards). There’s an added complexity in that you can hold up to three power ups at once so you’ll have to do some inventory juggling if you want to hoard them. Other than that, the most complex part of the game is learning the different icons for power ups. They’re pretty standard kart racing fare: nitro, shield, homing missile, dumb missile, mine. Unfortunately, there’s a blue shell-like first place hoser, but I’ve been lucky enough to not be cheesed by it too badly.
Being an Activision published title, Blur’s familiar mods and “fans” (what the game calls xp) system didn’t surprise me. You gain fans for using powerups well (e.g. boosting without hitting a wall or landing a missile on an enemy) and for completing/placing in races. With these fans you can unlock new cars and upgrades for your racer. There’s even a Modern Warfare “perk” like system where you can select from different mod loadouts that give you added attributes like increased ramming damage or gaining more fans for landing powerups.
My issue with this and other incentive-based multiplayer progression is that it can feel unfair for new players because everyone else seems to have better stuff than you. My first few races I felt I had no chance of placing first because I simply didn’t have the tools to. Granted, I still had fun and got rewarded with a bunch of fans. As long as you’re not expecting to pop in the game and start placing first in every race, you’ll enjoy racing in Blur. Plus, there’s that added goal of trying to beat better-equipped players with your crappy starter car. Believe me, you will feel like the shit if you do this.
Blur’s definitely worth checking out if you’re into arcade/kart racers. You can finish a couple of races in 5-10 minutes and still feel like you’re making the progress to greater things via the fans system. It’s a great game to de-stress after work without having to commit hours of time.
Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments if you played the beta as well.
Blur will be released for Xbox 360, PC, PS3. Developed by Bizarre Creations (Project Gotham Racing, Geometry Wars).