'Blur' First Impressions

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Posted June 2, 2009 - By Paul Semel


The latest trend in racing game is to give them one word names that may or may not have a connection to racing: Dirt, Fuel, Pure... So it comes as no surprise, on two levels, that the upcoming racer from Bizarre Creations (the former developers of the Project Gotham Racing series) would name their new game after a single word as well: Blur. Not just because it’s the thing to do, but because it’s the obvious thing to do. Because while the developers say they’re trying to do something new with the game, we weren’t sure what exactly was so “new” about Blur when we saw the developers from Bizarre demo the game at a recent Activision event in Los Angeles.

Slated to be published by Activision this fall, Blur is an arcade-style street racer that has you driving real cars through the streets of London, Tokyo, and other fine cities. Among the cars we saw in action were such muscle cars as the Chevy Camaro and Dodge Challenger, such off-road racing SUVs as the Bowler Nemesis, and such sports cars as the Nismo 350Z.

What is supposed to set it apart from other similar games -- and it kind of does, though not entirely -- is that players will be able to grab power-ups that will give them offensive and defensive weapons. Not only can you drop mines behind you, but you can also “Shock” other drivers with an electromagnetic pulse that will cause them to stall out, or you can knock them out of the way with the “Barge” attack. Which, admittedly, you can’t do in such street racers as Need For Speed, but you can in such other racing games as Wipeout or Mario Kart (though, admittedly, the power-ups are not as futuristic as they are in the former, or as cartoony as they are in the later).

But even if Blur isn’t reinventing the wheel, the game still looks (at least from what we saw in the demo) like it could be a fun ride. Especially since you can actually pick up more than one power-up at a time, which means you could “Shock” an opponent and then “Barge” them off the track. You can even switch between them, so you don’t accidentally “Barge” someone and then waste the “Shock” on someone who isn’t there.

The game will also accommodate up to twenty in online multiplayer (or four in split-screen races), and yes, the power-ups will be available in those modes as well. Plus, coming as it does from the guys who made the Project Gotham Racing games, we’re pretty confident that the game will have tight controls, twisted courses, and lots of run rides. And while we won’t know for sure until this fall, when the game comes out on 360, PS3, and PC, we’re still hopeful based on what we saw. We’re just not going to hold the developers to their word.

'Blur' First Impressions


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