Blur • Page 4

He thought of cars.

A new car, for instance. There are some grippy vehicles in Blur, like the Scirocco 24 and Lotus Exige, along with funky custom jobs like the Rat Rod - a crusty brown roadster with a shiny exposed engine - although the selection feels stronger among the drifters, from the Nissan 350Z and Ford GTs to the Camaros and Supras.

Key considerations are familiar - acceleration, speed, grip, difficulty, health - but mods and stature are sometimes useful, as you soon learn when you're bogged down by a flood on the LA storm-drain level while a 4x4 Bowler Nemesis with its three-foot clearance glides past like a pimped-out shark fin rocking bling.

Speaking of which, Blur is a bit visually impaired next to last week's Split/Second. At times the environments look unfinished, as though lighting effects have still to be added, and the game's appearance isn't always helped by its dusk-to-dawn obsession with neon, which means tracks take a bit longer to stand out from one another. But it is still attractive.

And you can't really fault any of the implementation across the game: handling, progress and rewards are as mature as you would anticipate from a developer that now has six similar arcade racers under its belt.

4

There's a four-player split-screen mode. Has anyone seen my Christmas card list? I need to make an addition.

After a few hours, the comparison between Blur and Split/Second loses its meaning, too - the former is a pure racing game with power-ups in it, the latter is more of an action-adventure on wheels - and Bizarre's decision to sacrifice fidelity for intensity is hard to question.

Sired by Gotham, Blur is not quite the same as its indirect predecessor, and not quite unique, but it is at its best when it pays most attention to Bizarre's history, isolating particular ideas and turning them into addictive chunks of racing.

As a hint of what may be to come - as the developer continues to absorb ideas from the studio's other games, like The Club and Geometry Wars, and trailblazers like Call of Duty - it's tantalising, and as a game competing for your money today it's almost brilliant. But it never quite reconciles the fantastic driving with the antagonism of its power-ups in the way Mario Kart does, and it could have made more of its best ideas, which often lie beyond the bounds of its chaotic races.

8 / 10

Blur is due out for PC, PS3 and Xbox 360 on 28th May.

Read the Eurogamer.net review policy Blur Tom Bramwell He thought of cars. 2010-05-25T12:00:00+01:00 8 10

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