Blur Review: Sweet But Too Short

Without dating myself too badly, I have been an avid follower of Bizarre Creations’ games since the vastly underrated Metropolis Street Racer for the Sega Dreamcast and continued on through the acclaimed Project Gotham Racing (PGR) titles. For reasons decided behind closed doors it is unlikely gamers will race again on the asphalt of a PGR title anytime soon. Instead, Bizarre offers us a lighter take on competitive racing with Blur.

Blur is a fairly unique arcade style racer, or at least unique for this generation of consoles, that mixes offensive and defensive vehicle power-ups with fast and furious racing. A simple straight to the point game is quite obvious from the single digit amount of pages in the manual, but that in no way infers Blur is not a blast to play.

Career mode can be a lesson in frustration and fun. Not only must you navigate the twists, turns and sometimes insane jumps, but you need to actively defend against incoming power-up attacks as well as attack those pesky A.I. competitors who can take away your first place position in the blink of an eye. In a word, it is “intense.” Unlike almost every racing game you have played up until now, your rear-view mirror in Blur is as essential as your throttle. It seems like every time you perform a perfect drift around a turn only to explode into a flurry of sparks and lights from the multiple shunts from behind. The A.I. is aggressive, unforgiving and relentless. Once you get a handle on power-ups and experience the tracks a few times, the chaotic races turn into vehicle combat at its finest.

During the chaos you will race against different street race personalities, but there is zero story or interactivity with them. Each event is basically hosted by a rival but that is all you are told. It would have been a big improvement to have cut-scenes or anything to distinguish each racer rather than a name and a car. If we just raced for pinks and I took your Lotus off your hands after 3 short laps, then why not show me a picture of a grown man crying at least? Blur creates zero connection with characters they seem to have needlessly named.

The visuals in Blur are clean but steeped in mediocrity. If you are a PGR fan, you will wonder why the graphics are inferior to that stellar series from a few years ago. Vehicles are detailed and feature nice damage modeling. PGR has always been known for its realistic rendering of the world’s cities right down to the smallest detail, but Blur’s locales seem generic and bland in comparison. Besides the road itself, there is very little texture standouts and quite a few aliasing issues. However races sometimes feature up to 20 combatants and there is never a hiccup with the frame rate.

Many gamers out there like myself would rather be playing PGR 5 right now, but Blur is a fun distraction from simulation racers. Multiplayer adds some friendly competition and replay value, but Blur is a short game regardless of how fun it is. Outdated visuals and no significant vehicle customization make a full price purchase hard to swallow.

– Jason Krahn

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