PAX 2009: Blur PreviewBy Patrick Klepek - Posted Sep 04, 2009
Bizarre Creations' realistic take on Mario Kart didn't have a good showing at E3. When I showed up to Activision's pre-PAX event to check the latest build of the studio's debut at Activision, I wasn't optimistic. Last time I saw Blur, the frame rate was rough, the art was blurry and without a producer in sight, five minutes spent with the game provided little clarity on what was supposed to be happening on screen. Just a few months from launch, however, Blur may be coming together.
The art is still an issue. From a glance, Blur doesn't look much different from any other realism-targeted racer on the market. It's certainly a decent looking racing game, but given how silly the premise is, the art doesn't properly service the gameplay. It's as though Blur's art staff went halfway towards backing up its sci-fi setting before someone stepped in and said "er, we're supposed to be realistic." Blur would benefit from a full-blown, Wipeout-style take on the future.
Far more promising, however, is the gameplay. Blur looks and plays like a different kind of game at PAX 2009. Bizarre has moved its revolutionary kudos system to a "fan" system in Blur, a system that, according to Activision representatives, only encourages positivity. You can't lose fans in Blur, only gain them. Fans are Blur's currency. Fans are used to purchase upgraded your car, weapons. Some events don't even ask the player to end up in first place. If you spend the race demolishing the competition and performing skilled stunts, that's rewarded.
Blur is an odd, odd game. The idea of mixing Mario Kart (a game I love) with Project Gotham Racing (a game I respect, but have no interest in due to its emphasis on realism) should be a match made in heaven. Blur is making strides. Its PAX 2009 demo is a step in the right direction. After E3, the idea of playing Blur kind of made me chuckle. Now, after PAX 2009, I have an eye on it. Your move, Blur.