With just a just two short weeks to go be fore the release of Bizarre Creations' much anticipated Blur, VVV were invited along for a glimpse of the final code and give an impression as to what players will be looking forward to on May 28th.
There are always two schools of thought when it comes to racing games: those who enjoy conventional racing and those who enjoy an element of racing, butwould like to add something new to the mix. Something visceral that completely redefines the experience and, in the case of Blur, it's something can aims to redefine an entire genre.
Back in 2008, Activision made the announcement that it would be publishing future Bizarre Creations titles. With this release, BC would be free from restriction of Microsoft's console, and with broader horizons came broader ideas. Despite the success of the PGR franchise they wanted something different, something new, something fresh and stylish.
Then in 2009 came the first revelation of Blur, containing everything we loved about the PGR series but adding something new in the form of weapons. Yes, Blur is a straight race to the finish using all at your disposal, spread across 3 continent. It's a no holds barred blast fest that often results in the last man standing being the victor.
When I first saw the game in 2009, I have to admit to being a tad unimpressed – the environments looking bland and soulless, and there was the lingering impression that something you couldn't quite put your finger on was missing. Replays looked amazing, but the gameplay seemed to lack the intensity, the raw feeling of power of machines, weapons and speed. It needed something more and, with an extension granted on the development time, more is what it got.
Being shown around the new front end and it's all very polished, with a selection of modes enabling you to play the game how you want, with or without weapons. However, there's no getting away from the 'stickers' you're rewarded with for completing in-game achievements, which radically increase in their difficulty or, for want of a better word, 'stupidness' (but in the best way of course!).
So single player has simply grown and become more refined, but it's the multi-player where Blur comes alive. Structured more like Call of Duty than your standard racing game, its compelling nature of comparing stats have the potetial to produce almost limitless longevity.
There's a far greater intensity to the racing now too, with more violent reactions besides the moving HUD which creates a much better feeling of immersion, and truly adds to the experience. Racing with 20 cars is a constant melee and often makes you laugh at just how ludicrous the on-screen action really is.
On playing split screen, the road splits in two and I dive away from my opponent, looking for vital speed or weapons that could change the balance of events. As the road comes back together we're incredibly close. I look for an edge but can't find it, and now he's laying mines…
I've no choice but to weave between them, but as I do that he spends too much time looking back (a critical driver error) and he's in the wall, so I leave him a little present in the form of a heat seeking shot as I pass. For want of a better word, he was well and truly 'owned'.
The jury, though, is still out on the handling. Sure, we weren't expecting much more than an arcade-style experience, but there are plenty of variables that, for good or for bad, can render driving skill to be almost obsolete.
Playing Blur online can be a bit of a lottery at times, with racing technique being best described as 'basic' in the lower classes, so the longevity for top players will depend on how the game rewards skill besides being easy to get into.
Alas, my hands-on on was very brief, hence why I can't go into more detail at this stage. However, we will be covering a lot more on this title in the coming weeks, along with an extensive review.
But why listen to boring old me when Danica Patrick says it all? Enjoy…