GamesCom 2009: Blur Hands On Preview - Power-Up Mayhem
Written Thursday, August 27, 2009 By Dan WebbView author's profile
It certainly was a bit of a surprise when PGR developer, Bizarre Creations, decided to forsake their fifth title in their hugely successful franchise for the time being, to take on a project at the opposite end of the scale. Sure, they’re still sticking with the driving genre, but expect something totally different this time around. That something different is Blur; an action-combat orientated driving title that from the offset seemed like Mario Kart for a more mature audience – when are we going to stop using that title as a reference point? After this preview sounds good to us.
Bizarre Creations took a step back from the table before creating Blur to assess what people like, and don’t like in racing titles in general. Three main things came out of this. Firstly, people love overtaking. They just can’t get enough of it, and it probably stems from some deep seated urge to get ahead in life. How do Bizarre play up to this? Simple, put more cars on the track, 20 in fact. The second thing they noticed was the frustration that comes with crashing and ending up facing the wrong way, and to alleviate those frustrations, when that happens in Blur, you’ll automatically get picked up and put back on track. Last but not least, Bizarre wanted to add a level of strategy to the title. Not the strategy that comes from working out when to break and what driving line you should adopt on corners, because as they quite rightly pointed out, that’s okay until you get on to a straight which ends up becoming a yawnfest. Their solution? The “Power-Up” system.
In terms of location, variety is the key, as the game features 45 circuits set in 14 different environments – so expect mountain tracks, desert tracks, sandy beaches, city tracks (including Barcelona and London), and more. The environments have been hand crafted to be much more grittier environments than you may be used to with Bizarre Creations. They’ve even gone so far as to widen some of the roads in some locations to make sure that the focus is on the combat and the strategy, with emphasis then placed firmly on the ensuing action, rather than the driving.
The customisation aspect allows players to customise their car dependent on how they want to play it. Aggressive drivers may opt to upgrade their power-up slots and weapon strength as their first port of call, whereas defensive drivers may choose to upgrade their shield slots, repair boosts and general health capacity of their vehicle.
The game will feature 50+ cars which are broken down into categories A through D; with A being the fast, super car class. They are also keeping with certain car cultures as well including drift, tuner, smooth and rat (which is apparently “a banged up piece of shit with a pristine engine”). Throw in 20 player online races over Xbox Live with the ability to custom build how you want to race them and a 4 player split screen mode, and it looks like Blur is set to deliver a ton of content for racing fans looking for a more combat orientated racer this fall. At its core, Blur is a simplistic racer that’s easy to control, hectic and fun to play, but our concerns lie with the social network/career (story mode) aspect of the title, rather than the game’s mechanics.
Blur is heading to the Xbox 360, PS3 and PC this coming November 3rd and November 6th in North America and Europe respectively.