Today, Activision announced the closing of two development companies today: Liverpool-based Bizzare Creations, of Blur, the 360’s Project Gotham Racing, the acclaimed downloadable game Geometry Wars,Â and the very recently released James Bond 007: Blood Stone fame, and Iowa-based Budcat Creations, known for making PS2 ports of Activision games, like Guitar Hero, Band Hero and a Wii and PS2 FPS,Â Medal of Honor: Vanguard. Budcat is also famous for it’s development of Tim Schafer’s Psychonauts in 2005.
What happens when you mix Mario Kart and Wipeout with Call of Duty? You get Blur. Mario Kart for grown ups has been a frequent method of description when trying to sum blur up but it is much more than that. It features real cars racing round real locations but with fantastical weapons resulting in a frantic arcade racer with a fan/lights system that keeps you coming back for more as you constantly unlock and progress.
Don’t let this game slip under the radar! Blur is being developed by famed studio Bizarre Creations. Bizarre Creations are behind the 360 Exclusive titles under the name Project Gotham Racing, which is one of the best looking racing franchises on the 360 (though, very limited in terms of vehicle upgrades, etc). Due to licensing, Project Gotham Racing is owned by Microsoft, so Bizarre decided to go a different route in the racing genre, and Blur is the result.
At first glance, the game looks to be a full-on arcade racer. Given the power-ups available, it’s more akin to be a kart racer with licensed vehicles, what, with all the power-ups and whatnot. The only thing is, though, Bizarre likes to make things a little more realistic, so they’re aiming for the vehicles to have more realistic handling as well. One thing is for sure, this is definitely one of the most stylized (and best looking) racing games out there.
The game includes 55 licensed cars (and I’m sure more will come via DLC) and an awesome damage model. The cars aren’t direct representations of the real-life counterparts, seeing as they’ve had a few design provisions to suit the game’s style. You’ll see plenty of variety in the vehicle types as well, from muscle cars and tuners to luxury vehicles and vans. Given that, there should be something for everyone. No word yet on whether or not you can create custom liveries, but since more and more games support such an option, it would be a step backwards for such a game (especially with how stylized this game is), but it really isn’t that big of a deal.
As far as gameplay elements go, the main draw for this game is the power ups. Included in the game are five different types of power ups. Mine, Shunt, Nitro, Barge and Shock. Each has a specific characteristic. The ‘Mine’ power-up lays mines on the track, exploding on impact any vehicles that are following you. The ‘Shunt’ power-up, which sends a ‘homing’ blast to the car in front of you, upending the vehicle and causing it to lose control. ‘Nitro’, obviously, gives you a boost of speed. You can send a shockwave out the sides of your vehicle with the ‘Barge’ power-up. And last, but not least, is the ‘Shock’ power-up, which sends out a blue lightning bolt that slows any nearby opponents down, and causes the target vehicle to lose any of its power-ups.
One of the cooler aspects to the power-up system is that you can store two at any given time. If you happen to save up two of the same power-up, you can “double tap” it and increase the damage dealt, the speed, etc (depending on which one you use. They each have a different specialized effect). If you have two different power-ups, you can switch from one to the other if you prefer to use a specific one during a race. There are also health pick ups, so you have to keep track of the damage you take as well.