A Recommendable Yet Forgettable Weekend Rental
The game performs expertly on the Xbox 360 and if you're really into the nitty gritty of graphics discussion I suggest you check out this breakdown of Blur's finely tuned in-game performance. But despite all this graphical slickness the game features generic vehicles zooming through forgettable race tracks. You have your Audis and Jeeps, your rural airfields and your nighttime beaches. All of the tracks appear perfectly fine but none of them will drive you to master each and every turn as you would in the most famous Mario Kart tracks. An annoying caveat is also that the maps don't really provide any description as to what sort of vehicle would be best suited to its terrain. Since you already won't be able to differentiate between the boring track list, you'll be doubly annoyed that you forgot you should've brought an off-road vehicle instead of that drifter.
Ironically, the online ads that tout Blur as a mature kart racer feature funny broccoli-headed little characters that you'll remember long after you've forgotten Blur's stale boss characters and overall style. Driving slick BMWs and Audis is neat and all but how can that even compare to the immediate charm of a comparable game like Mod Nation Racers? Its glowing red orbs pale in comparison to Mario Kart's red shells and probably most annoying is that the game's “crashes” are absolutely terrible. In an era of gaming where there is the Burnout lineage, playing a game where cars only flip out and disappear when struck by projectiles is laughably bad. These licensed vehicles definitely get damaged but why the hell can't they get into a decent wreck before respawning?
Multiplayer is fun and performs very well and will give you some nice grinding to sink your teeth into but eventually you'll realize that the game's mechanics will never truly let you master it as you would in a first person shooter. When I played with 20 or so players it always felt very good to just be on the road with that many and all the more satisfying to use my power-ups on them. Because you'll earn fans for simply completing the race, you'll find that many players don't drop out and that they'll actually finish them. Whereas games in the past you'll start with 20 and end with 5, Blur maintains a strong number of players that finish up. I really enjoyed seeing the awards at the end of the match and finding out that I rammed the most players, shielded most often, or used a hideous amount of power-ups.
The single-player is like the multiplayer in that you'll be constantly grinding to progress through the campaign, unlocking new bosses, cars, and stages. Each boss will require different criteria to be met before you're allowed you face them. Quite often what they require is often things that you'd never normally do in any of your normal races and you'll find yourself forcing these scenarios to play out. Grinding out lightning shocks, barging another racer into the water (this one is a pain in the ass), or completing an entire lap while maintaining at least 120MPH (you have to complete this awful demand to even compete against the final boss). I found myself skipping certain check point events to speed through to compete with the boss characters. An announcer attempts to describe the boss' style of racing and attitude with a short video cutscene but ultimately you're just doing a one on one race. Boring.
I got lucky and snagged Blur for $12.48 using a Best Buy and Manufacturer's coupon. I've been really satisfied with the gameplay but honestly never would have played the game at any sort of higher price. Call me a cheap ass but that's the truth. Had this been the age where people still went to the video rental joint and snagged up a game for the weekend I'd highly recommend the game for that sort of situation. Heck, it might even be good for two rentals. Despite its fun arcade gameplay, Blur won't be a game that you'll fondly store in your gaming library to pull out in future months or years simply because its totally forgettable.