Bizarre Creations has been hard at work at trying to recreate the popular “Power-up” gameplay in there latest project BLUR.  While many comparisons ring true about Mario Kart, BLUR isn’t just a quick knock off but instead a much deeper experience in certain areas.  BLUR’s environments screams chaos, and if you didn’t know by now the name of the game is to strike your opponents with as many power-ups as you can and move to the front of the pack.  But with the amount of arcade racers that have come out within the last month you may be asking yourself, is BLUR worth my time?

As I mentioned before BLUR’s game is all about the Power-ups.  Let me explain in some detail how each of these work.  There are a total of eight different power-ups that you can pick up that lay scattered on each track.  Your allowed to have up to three in your arsenal at a time.  You can also drop a power-up to make room for something else  if you picked up two of something that you do not need.  Here is a quick look at the power-ups that could help save your life.

Shock– This is great if your having a bad game and are at the end of the pack.  The Shock will launch a bolt of lightning to the front of the group, stunning any car that runs through it.  It will greatly slow down the driver and make it easier for you to catch up.

This Cannot End Well

Mine– Explosives Mines are great in any situation, while also allowing you to shoot it behind you to spin the guy riding your tail right out of control.

Barge– A Barge is a close-range attack that forces cars away from you when activated. Just get right up close to your opponent and a quick jolt will do the job.

Bolt– Pretty much the opposite of Barge.  Bolts are great for long ranged damage.  Fire up to three bolts to hand out the most damage and force cars to swerve all over the track.

Shunt– This is probably my favorite Power-up in the game. A homing missile that flips cars straight up into the air.  This is another power-up that you fire backwards if you happen to be in the front of the race.

Nitro– The obvious of the bunch, gives a quick burst of speed to catch up. If fired backwards you can turn late or airbrake into other cars.

Shield– The last two are more what I like to call defensive power-ups. The Shield protects your car from damage and whatever else may come flying at you on the track.

Repair– After you’ve been knocked around make sure to not forget about repairing your cars health.  When damage is critical this is the only thing that will save you.

Back in March those who were lucky enough had early access to the BLUR Multiplayer Beta for the Xbox 360.  Which consisted of 4 playable tracks and a ranking system that unlocked new cars as you made your way to the top, although talks on the career mode were for the most part non-existent.  So needless to say after spending hours with the Multiplayer Beta I was more interested in the career progression and sadly I came away very underwhelmed.

The Career section of the game is split up into nine different Boss Battle scenarios.  In each chapter you must complete a set of demands by Placing in races, doing time trial runs or winning Destruction games in where you have to rack up a certain amount of points by doing damage to AI racers.  If and when you accomplish the Bosses demands you square off with him mono vs mono and have a chance to steal his ride and shut him up once and for all.  Earning new cars is awarded by how many “fans” you make during each race.  Fans work as XP progression and the more you have the better your rides will be.  You can earn fans in alot of different ways so you are constantly ranking up.  Anything you do good in a particular race will increase your fan amount.  For example completing “Fan Runs” these are set up as gates that you have to drive through in a set amount of time.  By doing that will give you a little extra bonus.

Unfortunately I found the Career mode to be lacking and just simply not fun after a couple of bosses.  You really don’t feel like your achieving anything by doing these “demands” and it just adds a bit of frustration to the mix.  Luckily enough, the single player aspect has absolutely nothing to do with the multiplayer component.  This my friends is what makes BLUR better than the competition.

Things Can Get Pretty Crazy

With 90 races under my belt (none in first place) so far and just under 6 hours of multiplayer mayhem, BLUR has a online that will keep you coming back for more.  One of the great things about it is that you don’t need to play a lick of the single player.  Everything you do in Multiplayer is separate from the Career and has no bearing on what you did in it.  In fact, you could completely skip the Career and hop right into Online.

If you have ever played Call of Duty multiplayer then you will feel right at home with BLUR’s similar style. Once again, just as in single player “Fans” are awarded for how well you do in a race. They mean everything to your progression in the rankings and the more you have the better and faster your cars will be.  Each specific car also has a set of challenges to it.  Using certain power-ups with your vehicle or coming in first place with that car will earn you more fans. The challenges really add a nice pace to the multiplayer and you will want to use different cars to earn the maximum amount of fans.

What really is the make it or break it for BLUR multiplayer is its rank up system.  You start off at level 1 and have to progress all the way to a level 50.  Like Call of Duty’s Prestige mode, once you cap out at Level 50 you have the choice to enter “Legend” mode, which will unlock new items every time you do.  On your way to Level 50 you will unlock better cars and trucks and unlock “Mods.”  Mods are the equivalent to Perks, for example if using a shield and you happen to get hit with a power-up, that power-up will be available to you.  Maybe you slam into walls one to many times, you can add “Battering Ram” that will decrease the amount of damage your vehicle will take.  These Mods add a nice little tactical aspect of how you play, but really does not decipher how well you will do in a particular race.

Multiplayer game modes is something BLUR is lacking.  You have your standard Skirmish racing that allows 2-10

Did I Mention To Avoid The "Shock"

players (my favorite) with a “Powered-Up” playlist that adds up to 20 cars in a single race.  I did not really enjoy the 20 car races, mainly because I had problems with Lag and lost connections.  “Motor Mash” reminds me of being a kid in bumper cars, without going 100mph of course.  The object here is drive around a circular track dealing as much damage to the other cars as possible.  Whoever has the most points after the 10 minute game wins.  It is a good change of pace from the regular races but gets a little boring after a few games, and you will quickly just want to hop back into regular racing.  All other modes are nothing to call home about.  They added team-based games for “Motor Mash” and “Powered Up” races.  These can get hectic and pretty ridiculous as its hard to tell who you should be trying to wreck and who is on your team.  There is a couple more modes scattered throughout but honestly nothing that adds to the multiplayer experience.

After all that said, BLUR is still an incredibly fun arcade racer.  Though I would not recommend it for someone who just plans on playing this single player.  Its evident that Bizarre Creations made this game a multiplayer first, single player second project.  But if your looking for a deep multiplayer experience that will keep you coming back for “just one more” then I cant tell you enough that this game should be in your gaming library over any of the other competition.

[starreview tpl=46 size=’30’]

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