No Distance Left To Run
There are eight power ups; shield and repair are fairly obvious, as is nitro. Bolt gives you three direct fire missiles - no fancy targetting - while shock seems to come straight out of Populous
, raining down some vicious lightning storms on the track ahead of you. You need to be careful as you can be zapped by your own lightning. Barge pushes an energy wave sideways, while shunt is essentially Mario Kart
's red shell reborn, a targeted boil of evil that seeks and destroys. Best of all is the mine, which can be deployed both behind you, or pitched forward like a bowling ball of doom.
Eight power-ups make life difficult for your opponents.
The power-ups are placed at set points on the track; they regenerate, but not instantly, so you can miss out if you follow an opponent too closely. Their bright colours help you pick out the ones you want, and as each car can store three at once, you find yourself both racing trying to think about which power-ups will help you most, like planning a poker hand.
In singleplayer, the game is split into nine 'proving grounds', essentially sub-groups of races that culminates in a boss battle, a 1-on-1 race against a tough opponent. There are another three race types in addition to these duels, including power-up heavy destruction derbies, straight-forward races, and checkpoint battles where you need to race against the clock. The driving model is fairly good - while this is clearly an arcade racer, the developers haven't turned it up to ludicrous levels, so don't expect Outrun
-esque power-slides. The varying cars feel convincingly different to each other, and the pace of the opposition means you do actually have brake and think about a racing line to stand a chance of winning, too.
Bernie Ecclestone plans to introduce this for the 2012 F1 season.
Throughout the races, the boss issues certain demands in order for you to progress, so you don't necessarily need to win each race - but you might need land a set number of offensive power-ups, or gain a certain number of fans per race. Bizarre Creations is clearly reaching out to those put off by racing games such as Forza
by varying the goals and creating different incentives and challenges to keep you interested.
In multiplayer, this is all turned up to 11 of course, and if you're not a fan of social networks, achievements, badges and the like, then look away now, as Blur
tilts heavily towards these elements. You can set up your own friend challenges - "I finished first in this race and landed 40 offensive power-up strikes, can you manage 60
", and you can issues these challenges over Twitter as well as via the usual Xbox Live channels. There are four basic multiplayer race modes to pick from, ranging from one with no power-ups to one where it's all about destruction.
Blur will be released on Xbox 360, PlayStation 3 and PC on the 28th of May.