I like racing games, but it seems lately developers have been putting more emphasis on everything but making them fun. The hardcore racers will always have Gran Turismo and Forza, but the not-so-hardcore are left with a few solid racers, but even the more arcade-y games have trended more towards the simulation side. If anything, it seems like Bizarre Creations, the company behind Project Gotham Racing and the horribly overlooked The Club, knows this and is making a push towards injecting fun into the genre again.
Blur is the sum creation of the developerís previous games. It combines the stylish head-to-head racing of Project Gotham with offbeat, arcade fun of The Club. In other words, itís kart racing with real cars. The build I played featured two tracks and five weapons. Crossing the finish line is obviously your goal, but speed will only get you so far; you also need to make strategic use of weapons. One lays mines on the track, another pushes cars aside and another stuns opponents with a massive lightning bolt. There are plans to introduce more later, but the current set was enough to keep games interesting and unpredictable. I canít remember a racing game where there were so many position changes in one lap.
You can hold up to three weapons at a time and cycle through the set with the shoulder buttons. In order to keep the weapons from shifting focus away from racing, every car comes equipped with a rechargeable shield. If a weaponís blast is headed your way, a quick alarm will chime, indicating shields need to go up. Youíre given four shields at the start of the race and once theyíre gone, you have to attack other racers to get more. Taken together, the weapons and shields introduce another strategic element to the normal position jockeying of racing. Speed is good, but even if you have a half-mile lead, you canít relax.
If the show floor is any indication, there are a lot of racers coming out in the next few months, and while Blur still has a ways to go, the early build shows a lot of promise. The core racing is fun, but the combat twist should help it stand out.