- Publisher: Activision
- Developer: Bizarre Creations
- ESRB Rating: “E10" Everyone 10+
- Genre: Arcade racing
- Pros: Stylish visuals; fun racing, great multiplayer; "carrot on a stick" progression
- Cons: Single-player loses steam pretty quickly; lag online; somewhat bland environments
Blur is at its core a kart racer, but it uses real car models instead of karts. Ford, Chevy, Dodge, BMW, Toyota, Audi, Nissan, Lotus, and more are all represented here with vehicle types ranging from tuner hatchbacks to sports cars to exotics to SUVs and pickups. Each vehicle also has full damage modeling. It is kind of a unique thrill to be able to use realistic cars like Vipers and Corvettes and Supras and smash them up in such a decidedly arcadey and goofy way. Pretty much throws the lame Gran Turismo / Polyphony Digital "The car companies won't let us crash up their cars" excuse they used for years (but thankfully not for GT5) out the window, doesn't it?
The tracks you race on are street racing-style tracks set in cities like London, Tokyo, Los Angeles, New York, and Barcelona among others. The tracks have been designed to provide the best racing possible for the style of racing that Blur offers, so there are a lot of wide corners and fairly simple track designs.
Of course, the other half of the gameplay equation is the weapons you can pick up. Blur's loadout is pretty much exactly like Mario Kart, just with a different style. There are straight ahead firing missiles, homing missiles, land mines, shields, turbo boosts, and more. Many of these can also be fired backwards to block incoming missiles or just to take out tailgaters. Knowing how and when to use each item is important, and playing defense is just as important as blindly firing everything you have at opponents in front of you.
Career & Online Modes
Thankfully, you can jump online or play Blur in local multiplayer. Xbox Live play has its own XP and level up rewards and special perks, which make it very addictive and fun because you can level up and make progress even if you don't win. Human players also offer much better competition than the A.I.. Luck plays as much a role as XP level, so you aren't really at a disadvantage racing as a low level player against high level. I beat a level 50 as a level 5, for example. You all have a pretty even shot. There is some noticeable lag online where cars will sort of jump and teleport around, but only really at the beginning of races when everyone is bunched together.
Graphically, Blur is a nice looking game overall. The car models are nice, but not as detailed as in the hardcore sim games. The environments are kind of bland and not that detailed, but you usually are too busy dodging weapons and firing your own to notice too much what is going on at the sides of the track. One thing we love is the bright neon glow of the power ups and the clean, stylish menus. The game also maintains a solid framerate.
The sound is only so-so. Merely okay engine sounds and sound effects. The music is kind of subdued, bumping techno tracks that work surprisingly well. For some reason, I was also really pleased with the way the countdown clock in online matches fit with the beat of the music perfectly. I don't know if it was intentional, but I liked it.
In the end, Blur is a pretty solid racer that is worth a look for arcade race fans. It is a new spin on kart racing and works amazingly well. I'd say it isn't that good of a single-player game, and would recommend a rental if you intend to play by yourself. As an Xbox Live game, however, it is one of the better racers on the Xbox 360 thanks to the unique progression system and accessible and fun gameplay. Rent for single-player, buy for online multiplayer.