Demo review: blur (Xbox 360)

blur

Normally, I wouldn’t take the time to review a demo, but this one is different and I felt deserved the attention.

blur is a racing game seemingly set in the present day. What sets it apart from the Forza’s and Gran Turismo type of racers is that it has powerups scattered all over the track to do crazy stuff to your opponent. Such as shooting a homing missile that looks like a red orb, speed bursts, shields, and that sort of ilk.

Recently, Activision put out a multiplayer beta demo that highlights a lot of the features in this game. Yes, that is what I’m talking about here.

The game plays very much like the classic PSX and current PS3 version of Wipeout. If you never played Wipeout, it is a bonafide classic. The difference being you are in spaceship-like craft and its set in a futuristic setting. blur changes that formula by putting the cars (all real cars by real manufacturers) on standard racing game tracks, throws in the powerups, and lets up to 20 people go hog wild on each other.

The demo/beta is limited to multiplayer only, but I can’t see any reason why anyone would want to play the single player game. When theres 20 players on a track, the game is viciously fun. However, I’ve looked up a lot of information on the game and it seems that the power-ups are limited to whats on the beta. While the power-ups are very generously scattered, it does get old after a while. There is a the new standard of “leveling-up” via gaining “fans” by doing things throughout the race. Even if you are a punching bag, you will get fans and eventually level up, gaining you access to different cars and modes, just as you would expect. The leveling is limited to 15 and the retail version goes up to level 50 with 10 “legend” ranks, whatever the hell that means. The modes are also standard racing fare, with one called Motormash, which is basically a demolition derby, with specific tracks meant for the mode where the only goal is to destroy your opponents.

The demo/beta is quite generous with whats available. There are a total of 5 modes included in the demo, 2 of which are open from the onset, and 3 more which you unlock as you progress. I’ve put a total of about 2 hours into the demo and I’m currently at rank 13. I’ve won one race, came in 2nd a  few times, but most of the time I run about the middle of the pack in a game of 20 people.

While I think that the beta is quite fun, I can’t help but feel that the retail version will fall flat and I cannot see myself purchasing it when its released. I like the concept as Wipeout is a game that I still play to this day, albeit the HD version thats on PS3/PSN, but in reading about the full version, I just can’t seem to get excited about this game even if I am finding this demo quite fun. Its definitely cool playing in a full lobby and everyone going batty once the race begins.

All in all, I think this is an interesting game, but I can’t see myself shelling out $60 for the full version when there is so many games coming out this spring and a similar game to blur (Split/Second) that is coming out shortly after it that looks tons better.

If you’re a fan of Burnout (which I am), Wipeout (which I am), you owe it to yourself to give this a go, but don’t expect anything groundbreaking. It seems to me to be a good timekiller game, but not one that you’re going to devote enough time to. It just seems to be missing something.

I realize this is just a demo, but in reading reactions to the full version, it seems to be a pretty good representation of what you’re going to get when it ships. Therefore, I feel it is okay to rate it as it is now. I will probably rent the full version or pick it up on the cheap, so I’ll review that once I can.

Overall rating: ** out of 5

Fun factor: **** out of 5

Hypeworthy: * out of 5

blur ships on May 25th for both Xbox 360 and PS3. However, the multiplayer beta is a 360 exclusive.

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