Blur - PS3 Review
As we mentioned in our preview of this game Bizarre Creations are a company which most gamers would have heard of with a history that stems back to 1990. In recent years they have had a string of hits with the Project Gotham Racing franchise for the original XBox and the XBox 360. In late 2007 it was announced that Activision had purchased the developer, and with Microsoft owning the PGR franchise the company had to develop a new IP, with Blur being the result.
|Blur has some fantastic visual effects.|
Blur is very much an arcade styled racing game which has over 50 real cars and tracks based on real world locations such as Los Angeles, San Francisco, London, Barcelona and Tokyo. As well as being an arcade styled racer this game is littered with power-ups and weapons which can be used to boost your cars abilities and take out the opposition.
The single player campaign in Blur includes nine levels with seven challenges in each level. These challenges may include a straight forward race, a checkpoint race which sees you trying to reach checkpoints before the time runs out or a boss battle which becomes unlocked when you complete goals including earning enough lights or fans through the levels challenges, completing certain tasks for fans, or avoiding weapons and so on. If you defeat this boss you will then unlock their car for use in other, future, levels in the game. Sadly the single player campaign is devoid of a real storyline, it's simply race after race.
|Cars in Blur are based on real vehicles.|
Cars handle quite well although their turning circle is very wide (although you can use a turbo boost to help turn sharply). The vehicles all have their own attributes such as different top speed, acceleration or strength levels while each can also have mods applied to give them improved attributes or abilities. It's a good system, with moderate customisation to suit your own preferences.
So let's talk about the online modes in Blur and the online connectivity has been a major development focus for the team at Bizarre Creations. Amazingly and impressively Bizarre Creations have created a game which supports up to 20-players racing online at once, and it's a blast with all the power-ups available and mods to the cars available as you improve your ranking.
|Blur does indeed include 4-player split screen.|
If you're not online (and in this PS3 version that's probably quite likely! - see below) then the developers have also included a 4-player split screen mode which is a very impressive effort and perfect for a good night in with some mates. Sadly there is no way to play online with the split-screen mode. But let's deal with this online issue...
STUPID ONLINE ISSUES: There is something with Blur which we must raise in our review, and we'll point out that this only affects the PS3 version from what we've read. Unfortunately it seems there are MAJOR issues with the network code in this game so much so that many people are having problems connecting online - and Bizarre Creations are doing little to solve this. It seems to revolve around security settings in your home router - and the only way we could get this game to connect online was to plug directly into the internet. The developers, and more often the community, have put forward suggestions about ports to forward and things like that, but we didn't have success and this is not something developers should expect the public to do to fix their game. I've never had so much trouble playing a game online as I have with Blur.
|With 20 cars Blur's races are hectic.|
Don't get me wrong, when we plugged our PS3 directly into our cable modem Blur was a complete joy to play online. Races are frantic and pretty much lag free - except those with poor connections - and the way in which the game is very community focused rocks, but this is a process which shouldn't happen as those without technical knowledge won't be able to fix this. If you do buy this game and can't connect online - return it. It's complete BULLSHIT that a big developed game such as this doesn't play as it should.
In terms of visuals Blur really is a slick looking game with plenty of positives, and only a couple of negatives. The first thing that hits you about this game are the super slick menus and introductory videos. Whenever you start the game it also gives you a nice update on your progress to date (in a similar fashion to many Codemasters racing games). The cars aren't the most detailed ever seen, and certainly not up to the standards in a certain upcoming Polyphony Digital title, but they get the job done. Races take place on a variety of locations from large cities, to shipyard docks and they each look quite unique. A highlight though has to be the wonderful looking weapons and lighting in the game which really give it an overall, very slick appearance.
|4-player split screen racing in Blur.|
We did mention earlier that there were a couple of negatives to the visuals in Blur and the primary one is that the texturing looks a little bland when you slow down to have a look - although if you're doing that you're not really playing the game. Also the frame rate can take a bit of a hit but with up to 20 cars on screen, or realistically about half that, and so many visual effects and so much gorgeous lighting it's understandable.
Also impressive is the audio in this game with some brilliant sounding cars, some brilliant effects, and pumping music. Using surround sound to its fullest this game really one in which you get a sense of your surroundings, be it other cars or incoming weapons, and as a result this sound assists with the gameplay. Strangely the pumping techno based soundtrack is turned off by default and needs to be turned on through the menus.
|Visual effects of weapons in Blur are great.|
We love Blur but there's no denying that Bizarre Creations, and Activision, need to fix the online issues with the PS3 game. If you have the choice/option pick up the PC or XBox 360 versions instead as they aren't, apparently, crippled with these issues. If you only play offline, you have no problems and you wholeheartedly have my recommendation to pick up this game as it's brilliant with great visuals, audio and gameplay. A great game let down by technical issues (which may or may not be patched and fixed in future).
Review By: Dave Warner
Talk about Blur in this forum topic now.
|GRAPHICS||Not the best looking game texture wise, but damn it moves fast, has plenty of visual effects and looks slick.||80%|
|SOUND||Strangely music is turned off by default, but the engines, and effects are great and the music, when turned on, is pumping too!||88%|
|GAMEPLAY||Car handling takes time to get used to but this game is pure fun. We love it.||85%|
|VALUE||After initial networking issues the online connectivity makes this game a winner, but Bizarre need to sort out the PS3 version.||70%|
|OVERALL||I love the visuals, the audio and the gameplay here but the technical issues with online connectivity disappoint. If you only play offline then buy this, if you prefer online gameplay then go for the PC of 360 version.||70% (if you play online)|
84% (if offline only)