Blur

Blur offers adrenaline filled racing, vehicular combat gameplay on the PC, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360

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Blur Picking the right car for the track is critical. Don't always opt for a high performance sports car because speed won't always bring you victory
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By  Jason Saundalkar Published  December 6, 2010

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Key Specs

Online play: Y
Price: $42

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Bizarre Creations has given the gaming community games such as the very popular Project Gotham Racing series and Geometry Wars.

Blur is the latest title to come from the developer but whereas some of its games have been exclusive to one platform, this is a multi-platform title that's available on the PC, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360. Blur offers racing, vehicular combat gameplay and while the game has thus far failed to become a commercial success for Bizarre, it really is a game you should play.

The game offers single and multiplayer gaming and whichever you end up playing you can expect an awesome ride from the moment you pick up your gamepad. The game's single player is basic in terms of its storyline; you essentially build up your credentials until you're able to take on a boss. Once your past this you move on to tougher foes whilst unlocking new vehicles and race tracks. It's a simple setup but ultimately the races just dominate the gaming experience until you suddenly realise you've become ferociously addicted.

On the multiplayer front you can compete via 'Xbox Live', 'System Link' and 'splitscreen'. It's here where the game really shines because playing with friends is pure insanity (in the best possible way). Playing using splitscreen you can go at it with up to four of your friends at the same time but the best experience is to be had going with just a two-way split. With four and three players the screen split is too pokey to really enjoy though the game runs fluidly no matter how much mayhem is visible on screen.
That said the reason Blur is so much fun is simply down to its gameplay. Driving the various cars is a rush whether you pick a 'drag' optimised car, a tuned 'grip' monster or a 'very drifty' widow maker. Each car drives differently and reacts uniquely to the terrain, so you'll want to pick your vehicles carefully before you venture onto the track. A 4x4 will tackle off-road tracks better than a sports car despite the speed advantage the sports car has for example. Similarly, cars designed for drag racing offer brutal straight line speed but iffy handling in the corners.

Besides the game's fantastic driving mechanics the power-ups scattered across the tracks up the game's fun-factor to a completely different level. In total there are eight power-ups; Shunt, Barge, Mine, Shock, Nitro, Bolt, Shield and Repair. These power-ups give the driver offensive and defensive options though some power-ups can actually be used to do both. Up to three power-ups can be carried simultaneously and the driver is allowed to select and choose which he wants to use or drop them entirely.

The Shunt is perhaps the most dangerous of the lot because it is insanely powerful and, more worryingly, can actually track and home in on enemies even when fired from miles away. Playing one-on-one this weapon can radically change the outcome of a race because it can either wreck a car entirely (depending on how much damage the car already has) or it can slow down a car catastrophically and allow the other player to catch up. As a result you'll never find yourself in a position where you think you're absolutely safe and are on the road to victory. That said, you can counter the Shunt with the right driving moves or by using a power-up.

The Shunt, like some of the other power-ups, can be fired either straight ahead or backwards, so a skilled driver can easily setup a death-dealing blow to an opponent in close pursuit. (This reviewer's favourite ‘move' is to allow an enemy car to get very close and then simply let loose with a rear-facing Shunt. The results are deadly and fun to watch.)

As fun and effective as the Shunt is, Blur actually makes you want to use every power-up because each one has its own unique uses. The Barge for example can be used to counter a Shunt (if timed right), push away an enemy vehicle so he can't ram you or even push him off a cliff. Like the Barge other power-ups also have their uses so rather than making a beeline for only one or two power-ups all the time, you'll actually want to pickup and use the others.

Visually, Blur offers plenty of eye-candy; the cars look fantastic, the tracks are detailed and fun to drive around and the game ran very fluidly on our Xbox 360 console, even when all hell broke loose on the tracks. Likewise the audio doesn't disappoint, the music tracks suit the fast-paced gameplay and the sound effects suit the visuals perfectly. The fearsome Shunt has a nice loud blasts and when it finds its mark, the visceral crunch is simply music to your ears.

Verdict: Blur genuinely has plenty to offer whether you're playing the single-player portion on your own or sitting down with friends and engaging in multiplayer mayhem. It's a slick, brutal and thoroughly enjoyable game.

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