posted 5/25/2010 by Jeremy Duff
other articles by Jeremy Duff
One Page Platforms: 360
Bizarre Creations is perhaps best known for one of two things in recent years: the Project Gotham series and / or the Geometry Wars games. One of those is a sim-style, realistic racer with an arcade feel; the other is an over the top, powered up shooter. What happens when you mix the two together? I will tell you what happens: you get Blur.

The definition of Blur’s genre is the perfect explanation of the game: sim racing with power ups traditionally used in arcade / kart-style racing games. On its own without those special powers and bonuses, Blur would be a more than adequate sim racer. The 55+ licensed cars drive and handle as you would expect them to; each car is rated on their acceleration, speed, handling, and stability… all of which factor into their performance on the track(s). The game also includes some specially design and equipped original car creations from the crew at Bizarre Creations as well. Most of them will look very familiar and again, control as you would expect. There ARE power ups and bonuses though, which takes the game to a whole new level.

Scattered throughout the various tracks racers will find one of eight power ups that the player can pick up and use to give them an edge in the race. There are 6 offensive power ups and 2 defensive; most of the offensive weapons, such as the bolts and shunts can be used for defensive purchases. Aside from the shield and repair powers, which I classify as the two defensive powers, all of the other items and be triggered either forward or backwards at the will of the player. You will need to mix up the methods in which you use them in order to survive and get ahead on every course. For example, boost / nitro powers can be used to either propel yourself forward, ahead of the competition or shot backwards in order to bring your car to a halt, useful on particularly hard turns. Bolts can be either fired forward or backwards at other racers or used to fend off incoming attacks. These are the perfect example of how each power up can be used for two purposes, which is truly the key to mastery with Blur.

Aside from the power ups, the game also uses a fan system which it utilizes to rate your performance on the course; success isn’t just categorized as finishing first in a race but also “how” you perform and compete on the track. In a manner similar to the now traditional Project Gotham Racing kudos system, Blur awards you a certain number of fans depending on different actions taken in the course of a race. Passing a competitor, landing an offensive attack, pulling off a stylish drift, and avoiding an opponent’s attack(s) all award you different amounts of “fans”. Accumulating fans allows you to level up your fan status, which will unlock additional cars and bonuses to help you advance in the rankings. Fans are also awarded depending on how you place at the end of a race and through fan challenges that can be triggered during a race.

Fan challenges can be triggered by running through markers on the course and will give you a “goal” to accomplish before a counter runs out. This goal could be as simple as pulling off a drift or perhaps nailing a set amount of opponents with a specific attack. The quicker you complete the goal, the more fans will be added to your fan count. Fan runs can also be triggered throughout your race(s) and actually appear on every single track in the single player mode. Fan runs require you to basically drive through a series of arches over a portion of the track, and upon completion will award you with additional fans for your fan count. Completing a fan run will also award you a light, which is the main goal of Blur’s “campaign”.

The ultimate goal of the single player portion of Blur is to collect lights. Lights are awarded by placing in the top 3 positions in a race (out of 20, players will earn 3 lights for third, 4 for second, and 5 for first), completing fan runs, and finishing a race under the target time. As you accumulate lights, you will open up new “levels” and challengers, with each one culminating in a one-on-one race with the boss of that area. The boss races are simple you versus them races which will end in either you winning the race or destroying your opponent using power ups. Those races are worth 8 lights all by their selves, but you have to met 4, preset requirements to gain access to them which varies per level. Needless to say, there is a lot to do. Some levels focus on strategic racing, others on destruction and carnage, some on time trial style runs… the gameplay is ever-changing throughout the course of the game.
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