Most gamers should be familiar with Bizarre Creations, particularly those earlier adopters who are likely to have purchased one of the first, and arguable best initial releases to grace the Xbox360. No, not Project Gotham Racing 3, but the great twin-stick shooter Geometry Wars Evolved.

Stepping away from the more real world scenarios – well as real world as racing Ferraris around Parliament Square is – Bizarre Creations have taken their motorsport in a different direction. For those lucky enough to have gotten in to the multiplayer online Beta of Blur, you’re in for a treat.

Blur is an arcade racer, mixing elements of Mario Kart and Burnout with the looks of Midnight Club. As many as twenty players can jostle for the lead around multi-branching circuits, whilst unleashing a variety of weapons and defences to keep that number one position. The beauty of it is, even with the maximum players online, there’s little in the way of lag or slow down; certainly very good news for the full release, unless we all got very lucky with our match-making.

Video footage captured by forum member Glitch100

The beta is very generous with the amount of content provided; there are four different tracks to play on (Amboy, Barcelona Gracia, Long Beach Docks, and Tokyo Shutoko), selectable in a great lobby voting system, allowing players to pick their favourites. There are four different game modes: Motor Mash, Powered-up Racing, Skirmish Racing and Supercar Racing, and within these fourteen different cars to eventually unlock.

Cars are broken down in to different classes; as you race online your earn fans for your flair and style (the in game experience system), the more fans acquired, the more cars are unlocked. The demo allows ranking up to level 15, though it current seems capped at level 10 – it doesn’t take long to max out, easily achievable in an evening or two.

Flying around the tarmac is very fast-paced, with everyone fighting to gain the top-spot, reachable by any means necessary; whether this be slamming opponents into walls and barriers, or mashing them with armaments and traps. All manner of weaponry is scattered about the courses, and up to three of them can be carried at any one time. Helpers like the nitro-boost shunt the player forward faster, whilst munitions like Bolt can be fired at that bothersome auto in front (though it’s also possible to fire most of the gear backwards too). With the maximum players in-game, this can create a lot of mayhem, and makes the game change dynamically as the race progresses.

After each race, the top players in different categories are paraded to the losers, be that fasted achieved speed or quickest lap – there are a number of different classifications, of which the game decides to display three and it’s all great for jolly banter. Rather than kick players out of the lobby, the game gets the driver back into the action as fast as possible, it’s all very slick and polished.

Often online racing games are a real mess, with people punting you off the course in the first corner in some un-gentlemanly way. Here it really doesn’t seem to be a problem, wrecking cars is all part of the process, and here is the keyword – this game is FUN!

The beta has fuelled the V8; if this, enjoyable, satisfying and glitzy looking demo is but a small glimpse into a bigger adrenaline filled racer, gearhead-gamers are going to be very happy with what Bizarre Creations have churned out.


Marty Greenwell

Marty has been gaming since the heady years of the ZX-81 and still owns most of the gaming systems purchased since those days, including the Atari 2600, ZX Spectrum, SNES, Jaguar, Dreamcast and GameCube. Being a collection junkie (or more accurately, hoarder), he buys more games than he can possibly play, far too many of which are still sealed in their packaging. Marty favours RPGs and Driving games when it comes to genres, and is possibly a little bit too addicted to Disgaea. When not gaming he’s out frightening OAPs on his motorcycle, clad in black leather.

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