A powerful combat arcade racer with smooth handling and a slick interface. Good balance of action but some issues hold it back.
Posted by Ben Thomas (nutcrackr) on Jun 11, 2010 - 6:52am EST (Jun 11, 2010 06:52)
The interface in Blur is pretty slick and consistent starting with the good use of colors in a semi 3D menu. Early on video tutorials gradually introduce you to game modes or gameplay during the campaign. You can navigate the menu using the 360 controller or the keyboard. There are really only three game modes in the Blur campaign: Race, Checkpoint and Destruction.
Race is a standard journey around a track using normal power-ups to finish first against other drivers. Checkpoint is just you versus the clock as you collect time bonuses or speed boosts to finish before time runs out. Destruction gives you high access to the bolt power-up and places a few AI controlled vehicles in your path. With each vehicle destroyed a time bonus is granted so you can meet your destruction quota. An additional destruction derby like mode, Motor Mash, is present in multiplayer placing cars in an arena with loads of power-ups to destroy other vehicles.
The single player campaign is just a series of tiers which are unlocked as you earn Lights. These Lights are gained from completing events successfully and there are six events per tier. Eventually you will race off one-on-one with the tier leader(s) after you have completed some objectives for that tier level. These objectives might be a certain number of power-ups used, finishing first in a specific event or staying above a particular speed for an entire lap. Side objectives will generally have you going back to replay some of the races because you probably won’t get them done first up. Other tiers are unlocked before you dispose of the leader, so if you are getting stuck you can always skip ahead.
The campaign difficulty is fair on normal although it starts fairly easily during the opening tiers. To take down all the tier leaders it will probably only take you half a dozen hours. After that you will have more cars to unlock and fan challenges to complete should you desire to keep going. You will be repeating many tracks more than once, some which are quite basic, but the game never feels like a chore because of its length. During races you steadily work through the AI competitors and assuming you drive well you can finish first without trouble. A few misused power-ups or not paying attention to the action ahead will greatly reduce the chances of a podium finish. In fact the races proceed so quickly the race may be over before you even realise, a testament to the combat being somewhat distracting.
The cars in Blur control relatively well, they have a tendency to float around a little bit and crashing into objects can look a little strange. You won’t need to follow the ideal racing line to win, in fact ramming into a curve in the track will likely make you go around it faster, at the expense of some health. The biggest issue, perhaps unforgivable, is that there are only two keyboard layouts and no way to remap individual keys. None of the defaults actually use the arrow keys for acceleration but there is support for WASD.
There is one exception to this arrow key rule, split-screen supports the arrow keys for the second player. Yes the PC version has split screen but one has to wonder how many PC gamers would still think of using this feature, good news is that it works fine. There is also no support for a wheel and no indication any if these features will appear in the future. The 360 controller works flawlessly with the game and the rumble gives you additional feedback to the action.