So I’m completely honest here, you should know I’m not terribly fond of racing games. You see, I’m a competitive person, and I’m no less than awful at racing games. Always have been, probably always will be. Don’t feel bad for me, it’s just my fate.
Luckily, over the last couple years I’ve grown fond of a subgenre of racing that I like to refer to as ‘Bitchin’ Boom Boom, Blast Off’ Racing (feel free to spread this new term to all your friends.) Now, I’m still pretty bad at these games, which include Mario Kart, Burnout, and now, Blur, but at least when I’m losing I can take out my anger on the person in front of me. Blur combines the best parts of beat ‘em up racing titles like Burnout and Mario Kart with the gorgeous cars and locations from racing sims like Gran Turismo and Forza Motorsport. The tracks are incredibly detailed and replace boring racetracks and overused street races with intense races under the Golden Gate bridge to the swerving mountain roads of the Hollywood hills. Each track is gorgeous and there’s even the occasional
It’s obvious quite a bit of time and creativity was invested into Blur’s look and feel. Everything about the game oozes style (that’s the good kind of oozing, not the gross, sit in the tub until it stops type of oozing). There are little touches like the logos for each of the single player sections, but the music and sound design is where it’s at. I’m a freak for great sounds in my video games, it’s strange really, and that’s why it’s best to not get me started on the amazing sound design in Dead Space, because I could talk about that for an unhealthy amount of time. (Yeah, that just happened; I mentioned a horror game inside of a racing game review not once, but twice.)
Blur has superb sound effects and music that perfectly echo the forbidden street racing feeling of the game, and the sound effects are fantastic. I’m especially fond of the sound the Bolt, because it emits a satisfying ping sound every time I fire it on an unsuspecting foe. I’m waiting for some editing genius to get the sound and recreate the Mario theme song, but no such genius has stepped up to the plate.
There’s a lot to love in this game, but it almost seems like they left out obvious features, so they could throw them in the sequel. Namely, the lack of customization outside of a new paint color. If was able to unlock or purchase new parts or styles for my car, this game would’ve been my new best friend. Trust me, that’s an honor.
This game was destined to “do for racing games what Guitar Hero and Call of Duty did for their genres.” While that’s far from the case, Blur has plenty to love and what it does it does well. Unfortunately, it’s hampered by a few things, like a lack of car customization now almost expected from a racing game, that keep it from reaching its full potential. There’s also the issue of most of the cars being completely useless vehicles you’ll try once and never return to. Once you unlock a good car in its class (there are four classes in total going from D to A class) there’s really no point in using anything else.
Not only does this mean in multiplayer matches you’ll be sharing your favorite mode of transportation with multiple others, it also means many of the cars are only there to pad the number of vehicles in each class. Nearly all of the vehicles in the D class, save for a select few, are ones that are only exotic because no one would drive them in reality. I like to think of this problem like this: if most of the weapons in Call of Duty were useless pieces of junk, that really hurts the overall experience, online or offline. In Blur, your car is your weapon, so it’s unfortunate more time, thought, and/or money wasn’t invested into giving us a better arsenal.
If you want a racing game that’s accessible to people who might not be too fond of the genre Blur fits the bill quite nicely. It looks great, sounds fantastic, and its Mario Kart style approach to the racing genre is really very unique. With a great selection of multiplayer modes to compete in that’s obviously where the focus was, it’s a little disappointing more people aren’t playing the game online (a fact that can be attributed to the poor sales), but if you have a friend or two and a racing itch to scratch, give Blur a try. I guarantee you won’t leave disappointed. Or maybe you will, but I’ll be so far down the racetrack I won’t be able to hear your pitiful cries.
Final Score: 4 out of 5 Skulls