Genre: Racing
ESRB Rating: E10+ Everyone 10 years and up
Platforms: PS3, Xbox 360, PC
Publisher: Activision
Developer: Bizarre Creations

If you’re among those who believe Blur is the adult version of Mario Kart, you wouldn’t be too far from the truth. Although boiling it down to that description is greatly undeserved. Yes, combat racing is not a new concept, but this is no mere emulation my fellow gamers, oh no. This is a high octane, nitro infused burst for the crown of combat racing.

While the textures aren’t as detailed as Bizarre Creations previous racing titles, the overall look and feel of Blur is unique and packed with neon goodness. The action is complimented by a smooth frame rate in single player mode, but with some minor lag issues in multiplayer. At the start of each race, you can appreciate the glossy sheen of the 60+ unlockable real world cars before they get shocked, hit and blown to bits by glowing orbs of doom.

The core racing mechanics have all the right ingredients for a solid stand-alone racer, with real world environments, and impressive roster of cars, each that falls under a class and varies in handling so choosing the right car for the right track can make a difference in your strategy. The controls are solid and have an arcade feel that anyone can pick up and play. The learning curve is fair especially to veteran racers, albeit some mastery required in the fine art of cornering , but once you have that down it’ll be the least of your worries.

The combat element of the racing is designed around power ups you can find littered across the race tracks and these power ups range from shunt, shock, nitro, shield, repair, barge, and bolt. Each of these power ups is rewarding to use and offer their own strategic value in climbing your way up to first place and keeping it, and some of them can be fired backwards to ward off opponents behind you. That being said the A.I. of the game is relentless and you’ll find yourself scrambling to reach power ups before them – an A.I. tactic you’ll notice is an opponent right in front of you will position themselves to take the power up they predict that you’re going for to deny you a power up all together.

The campaign action offers variety in the form of missions that range from racing, checkpoint time trials, and destruction modes. You progress through the campaign by accumulating “lights”, the in-game point system that depends on the position you complete each event. Finish in a race under 3rd position and you’ll fail the event. The other factor is leveling up through gaining fans which rewards you with unlocking cars. In this respect everything you do in the race gains you fans, attacking other racers, drifting, overtaking, and doing all these in quick succession lands combo bonuses. You can also boost the fan quota by performing specific fan demands.

Your ultimate goal is to meet the demands of bosses  before you can take them on in a one-on-one race to the finish. Defeating a boss earns you their car and special mods which work a lot like the perk system in modern FPS games. Multiplayer is where this game shines the most with it’s variety of game modes and ability to upload stats and pics directly to your Facebook and Twitter accounts.

The sounds of the game are diverse as each car has it’s own unique humming and roaring and drifting won’t cue the same tire screeching noise over and over again. If you over steer on a corner and crash into a wall you can expect a different sound than slamming your car into another racer. The game takes full advantage of surround sound speakers (or headphones) if you have them.

The bottom line is this game offers simple and highly addictive gameplay that does it bigger and better than any of its competitors. While the games straightforward formula might put off some race fans looking for more depth, it makes it more accessible to a wider audience and is still furiously entertaining especially in multiplayer.

•    GAMEPLAY: 5

•    GRAPHICS: 4

•    SOUND: 4


•    VERDICT: 4 "GREAT!"

– Images:

By Mohamed Al-Khalifa

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