At its very core it is Project Gotham Racing: take to the circuit with semi-sim, semi-arcade car handling and earn "fans" (as opposed to kudos) by racing creatively. But there's much more to Blur than its PGR inspired core. The power-up racing concept is very much a Mario Kart staple, though here it feels more in-tune with Wipeout here. The aesthetic is very neon-lit futuristic like Wipeout, with some of the power-ups even sharing a resemblance with the futuristic racer. It's also a bit Twisted Metal mind, with big multiplayer arenas set aside for huge demolition battles which feel as close to Twisted Metal PS3 as you're going to get until David Jaffe jumps out of the woodwork.
It's a mixture that works. You might be assuming a lack of cohesion from our description, but Blur is polished and balanced perfectly. Sure, it's not an out and out racer, and therfore lacks the precision you might expect from something like Project Gotham Racing, but the power-ups add a level of fun that makes the game accessible to everyone.
Blur's got a single-player campaign that'll take you about six hours to beat, but it's the multiplayer that's going to keep your game clock ticking.
Racing in Blur feels good. Like Project Gotham Racing, there's a mix of sim-like handling and arcade handling that are balanced just right. That means racing is fun for people totally unaware of racing lines, but there's also depth for those who seek it. There's a good mix of tracks too, with some requiring more technical ability than others. For the car fans, there's a good mixture of vehicles regardless of your tastes, and while they're certainly not Gran Turismo-quality, they look pretty close to their real-life counterparts.
Blur's power-ups are what make it unique. You're able to pick-up a variety of sci-fi inspired goodies, each of which have different effects on the race. Defensive power-ups like Repair and Shield help to protect you from other racers, while offensive power-ups like Shunt and Lightning help you to swoop positions. What's nice about Blur is that every power-up has been balanced. Sure, the Shunt attacks — which are essentially homing missiles — are hard to dodge, but they can be dodged. And that's key, because it means the frustration firmly lies with the player. You may have been on the finishing straight, you may have been in first, and you may have got wrecked and ended up finishing in second, but you could dodge that Shunt if you were a little more skillful - and that's why you lost.
Blur's one of the best sounding games of the year. Of all the things that were awful about Michael Bay's Transformers movies, there was some good — the sound effects. And Blur uses a similar audio blue-print to amazing effect. Every attack, every power-up, sounds incredible. This game is the reason you need surround sound.
We remember playing Project Gotham Racing 2 on the original XBOX and being blown away by its integration of XBOX Live. Blur does similar things with the PSN, bringing up live scoreboards after each event, and using the Playstation Network to connect with your friends and set challenges. It also features Twitter and Facebook integration, making the game very much about community connectivity.
Blur has been described as Modern Carfare (as opposed to Modern Warfare) and it's very clear that Call Of Duty was the sole source of inspiration for Blur's multiplayer. It offers everything that makes Call Of Duty such a big hit — rotating lobbies, voting, XP, perks, different playlists, progressive unlocks; you name it, this game has it. The Call Of Duty franchise is so successful because of that blue-print, and here Blur uses the ideas to excellent effect. This is a multiplayer component we could imagine spending upwards of 50 hours in, and we hope it spreads based on word-of-mouth. Our only disappointment is that there are no trophies attached to the multiplayer - why is it that the good multiplayer components don't offer trophies, but the bad ones do?
Blur's single-player campaign is fine, but it's all a bit ordinary. You compete in various races, earning lights and unlocking more of the same. There are various modes to shake things up - destruction has you taking out cars for time bonuses, and checkpoints are a fun twist on time-trials - but there's nothing really that takes advantage of Blur's unique mix of inspiration. It feels a bit flat.
Ultimately it's the stunning depth of Blur's multiplayer that make it one of the most enjoyable racing experiences since Burnout Paradise. Modern Carfare indeed.