It's easy to get sucked into Blur. The game is constantly throwing new cars and areas at you, even before you're ready to advance. Unfortunately some of this comes at a price. There's an abrupt difficulty shift after the first couple areas. While I was compelled to keep going, there comes a point where the computer-controlled racers were just a little too cheap for their own good. Still, I never found that the difficulty got in the way of me having fun with Blur.
Blur's single-player mode is sadly short lived. The game offers you more than sixty events, but you'll find yourself racing the same tracks over and over. Not that the level designs are bad, there are a few that are breathtaking. The problem I had was that it never felt like Blur had the same level of variety as Burnout, wipEout and even the other Bizarre Creations titles. The single-player portions held my interest for only so long, which is disappointing given the developer's pedigree.
Of course, nobody is going to buy this game for the single-player career. The reason this game is on everybody's radar is because of its stellar online multiplayer modes. It's here that the game comes alive and all of my complaints about depth get thrown out the window. Taking a page out of the Call of Duty handbook, Blur features a leveling system complete with experience points and unlockables. The game only starts with a couple of modes open to you and a limited selection of cars. However, with each race you're earning new mods, upgrades, modes and more. That means that even if you came in dead last, you'll still earn a few points and be that much closer to the next level.
The online modes are similar to what you saw offline, only with a few added twists here and there. Early in your career you'll be racing in the Driving School, where there are only 10 people racing and everybody is lower than level 10. From there you'll compete against 20 people in the Powered-Up Racing room, lock horns in the arena-style Motor Mash room, race with all power-ups turned off in the Hardcore Racing room, and much, much more. There's a little something for everybody in the online mode.
The game's performance is generally pretty good, the action is fast and the graphics look good. The soundtrack isn't always my taste, but there's nothing completely objectionable about the way the game sounds. After playing so much wipEout HD, I couldn't help but be disappointing by Blur's wimpy weapons. In wipEout there's a weapon that causes an earthquake wave to ripple through the course, all we get in this game are some lousy EMP fields. Yawn.
There's a lot to like about this racer, especially if you plan on taking it online. I may have some concerns about the limited single-player experience and the inconsistent difficulty, but none of those problems kept me from having a great time with this grown-up Super Mario Kart clone. It's a game full of exciting finishes, explosive action and great online moments, but as good as it is, I could never shake the notion that Blur wasn't quite as good as Project Gotham Racing and Metropolis Street Racing.
* The product in this article was sent to us by the developer/company for review.
Sold as a retelling of Super Mario Kart, Blur ends up being a solid game on its own merits. The fast-paced races, exciting power-ups and fun online mode aren't marred by a shallow single-player career and a low supply of race tracks. The game's fun online mode more than makes up for any minor issues I have with the game!
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