Blur Multiplayer Beta Hands-On

We went hands-on with the upcoming multiplayer beta for Bizarre's powered-up racing game.

It's not often that racing games compare themselves to adrenaline-fuelled action games, yet that is exactly what Bizarre Creations is aiming to do with Blur. We headed to Bizarre's studio in Liverpool for hands-on time with the fully licensed cars, supershiny graphics, and cacophony of over-the-top power-ups in the upcoming multiplayer beta of the full game.

At first glance, Blur seems like a typical arcade racing game. There are more than 30 tracks, and many of them take inspiration from real-world locations. There are also many cars to drive, which include fully licensed brands, such as BMW, Ford, and Lotus. Where Blur differentiates itself is in its use of power-ups, which enable you to launch homing missiles, deploy mines, or drop electromagnetic pulse fields on competitors. There are eight types of power-ups available, and all of them are unlocked from the get-go in the beta. You're able to hold three at any time, switching between them with the B button and launching them with A button.

Blur's online multiplayer supports up to 20 people, which is currently the largest available in a console racing game. There are eight different game modes to choose from, though only four are available in the beta. Your goal in most modes is to simply cross the finish line first, though other modes, such as Motor Mash, require you to earn points by damaging cars with power-ups or by ramming them off the road. The game employs a rank-based system, which is similar to that of such shooters as Modern Warfare and Gears of War. Competing in events earns you fans, and the more fans you get, the higher your rank, which, in turn, unlocks new game modes, cars, or mods.

It's never wise to mess with a hummer.

Mods allow you to change how your car deals with things, such as power-ups or damage. They are organised into three distinct types: aggressive, defensive, and show-off. You can choose three mods for each race and pick from each category. You can also save your favourite combinations of mods in custom categories, allowing you to easily switch between them for different races and cars. Some of the mods available include battering ram, where your car deals more damage in collisions; splash damage, which increases the range of the barge power-up; and fan favourite, which gains you extra fans for finishing a race. Not all mods are unlocked from the start of the game, and in some cases, you'll have to rank up all the way up to level 50 to get a hold of the best ones. There are also online leaderboards, so you can see how you stack up against the competition with stats, such as how many races you've won, your rank, and your driver score.

We also got to play with the multiplayer challenges. These are like achievements, and they reward you with fans for accomplishing a simple task, such as blocking 50 attacks using a shield or evading 75 shunts. More complex challenges are unlocked as you rank up, and you can view your progress with them at any time. In single-player, challenges are tied to a specific race or mission. For example, they may require you to complete a race in less than 2 minutes without using power-ups. These challenges can then be shared with your friends over Xbox Live and pop up as a dashboard message asking your friends if they want to try to beat your score. You can even customise challenges to make them more difficult should your friends be beating you too easily. This feature is open to Xbox Live Silver members, so everybody can take part in some form of multiplayer, even if it doesn't involve racing against people directly. Twitter is also integrated into the game, and you can share challenges you've completed or any of your statistics over the social network. Fortunately, tweets aren't automated, so you shouldn't have to worry too much about getting a barrage of Blur statistics from your friends.

Nailing someone with a shunt missile is immensely satisfying.

If you're familiar with Project Gotham Racing, then you'll see some similarities between the two games. Car handling is forgiving, and it's only once you've unlocked some of the more powerful drift-style cars, such as the Ford GT, that you'll run into any trouble. The vehicles look good, and there are plenty of nighttime locations on offer to show off their shiny surfaces. The most impressive effects come from the power-ups themselves, which erupt in brightly coloured bangs and flashes when used. They're accompanied by some great sound effects, which we were told took most of their inspiration from science fiction films, such as Star Wars and Star Trek. The bass, in particular, is brutal and makes the power-ups that much more satisfying to use.

Combining over-the-top power-ups with realistic vehicles and tracks gives Blur the feel of a grown-up Mario Kart. The in-depth multiplayer ranking system also looks to be a great addition. The Blur multiplayer beta goes live March 8 on Xbox Live, and GameSpot users can sign up for their free key here. The game is due out later this spring on the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC.

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Discussion

70 comments
sopny
sopny

MY Demo!!!!!!

chainsawgamer
chainsawgamer

this is the best arcade racer ive ever played!!pwns pgr and forza

shadoxnova
shadoxnova

Looks pretty good if you ask me. Like teh Idea of power ups and weapons you can get, even though it is like Mario Kart in a way Mario Kart was a good game if you were not a HARD CORE Nintendo fan, Think it looks good and ill be Pre Ordeing.

Taijiquan
Taijiquan

No Mitsubishi, No Subaru, No buy. Seriously, in the tuner world Subie, Mitsu, and Honda own the tuner world. Lost interest.

lop890
lop890

chrisPperson Posted Mar 6, 2010 4:02 am GMT @lop890, what are you talking about? This game is for XBOX 360, PC, and PS3, and it looks awesome MAYBE i dod not clear the message its an xbox360 exclusive BETA NOT GAME

MasonWozniack
MasonWozniack

played for about an hour. pretty fun, but weapons are pretty boring

SteveOwl
SteveOwl

I've just spent a couple of hours on the beta, and, sorry guys it's Mario kart with better graphics.....sum's it up...maybe it was the beta that made every one use their power-ups the moment they got them... if this is the finished code I hope the single-player campaign has a little bite....

kizza37
kizza37

I'll catch one of them please ;)

demeor
demeor

GIVE ME MY BETA KEY LIKE YOU SAID!!!!!!!

filmfan
filmfan

I signed up on 3rd March. And have also not had a e-mail today.

minty_123
minty_123

hi, werent we surposed to get the beta tokens today? i signed up for the beta on the 2nd of March and they replied with "you will recieve your beta token on the 8th of March" so far i have yet to hear something from them.

mr_ferre
mr_ferre

Sn00pyBrown: i dont believe the mario kart thing was meant to be taken so literaly. although bananas in this game i can imagine being pretty amusing.

Sn00pyBrown
Sn00pyBrown

This isn't that much like mario kart, we can more so say it's more related to twisted metal. You tell me where do you see bananas in this game or mushrooms or stars?

mr_ferre
mr_ferre

I think this game will be a hit. It has sweet looking power-ups and effects. Why are people getting upset by others relating it to Mario Kart; to start off no one can disagree that Mario Kart was a great game at it's day and age, what this game does is builds on that by inserting real cars with a darker power-up system. On top of that, it seems to have taken a similar levelling system to Modern Warfare 2 (which I along with many others have become a fan of) and they have morphed it into this appealing racing game. Score prediction: 9

Funconsole
Funconsole

So this is basically Mario Kart with real cars and tracks? Cool, can't wait for the beta to start tomorrow

green_dub
green_dub

ukogmickey: Fuel was made by Asobo Studio Blur is made Bizarre Creations; the studio behind Project Gotham City. Fuel failure was not a surprise

Jusik
Jusik

i hope it has ferraris

xEpiphoneSG
xEpiphoneSG

okay this beats Split/Second so far...i mean powerups, 30 cars, 20 people multiplayer, skill point system which unlocks new abilities...being able to customize your car in a 20 player multiplayer game

logans_run_82
logans_run_82

ok..Activision is involved with this game and Disney has some sort of connection with the other game. I don't want to give either one my money but they both look great to me. =/ No, buying used (i.e legal Piracy) is not an opinion.

lagerfeldt1974
lagerfeldt1974

May beat Split/Second on the 4 player split screen but the rest doesn't look as action packed.

iucidium
iucidium

ACTIVISION is publisher. They can F*** themselves for my money

ukogmickey
ukogmickey

Guys remember how FUEL looked awesome and they built the hype up so much for that game and yet it was terrible, We all expected random tornados and got 1 in 1 race at the same time. But still the game does look good and lots of fun online to be had if they get it running ok.

playstation_dad
playstation_dad

So its made by an english developer, in the an english city, yet we have to wait longer than the u.s??? That makes no sense! Sounds like it could be a good game, 20 player onlibe sounds nice, wonder if this will effect fram rate when theres alot going on though!

slowmanrunning
slowmanrunning

Though a lot of people are saying mario kart, this is a racing game. And in terms of racing I gotta relate this to burnout revenge. blur = burnout revenge + mario kart

junor69
junor69

its like a huge mario kart racing not 100% on that one for now.

chrisPperson
chrisPperson

@lop890, what are you talking about? This game is for XBOX 360, PC, and PS3, and it looks awesome.

punkologist
punkologist

looks good, i'll be in the beta come march 8.

lop890
lop890

Sorry ps3 this is a x360 exclusive :( EDIT BETA IS X360

1zenron1
1zenron1

So, it's Mario kart on steroids? It does look quite good though, I'll be sure to look into it later on in it's development.

Zerot
Zerot

this looks like a bad mario cart for xbox... true racing fans absolutly hate powerups lol. inc fail.

georgeorjose
georgeorjose

goin to download the demo for this game, see how it is

advocacy
advocacy

But what about the lag? This is a racing game, people!

daman246
daman246

this game looks good but will it be good a question that holds a hundred answers

realguitarhero5
realguitarhero5

@30NIGHTCRAWLER3 bad reason choose another not even real

30NIGHTCRAWLER3
30NIGHTCRAWLER3

the game is crap. buycott every activision games. because they fired Infinity Ward

snow1993
snow1993

when i first saw it, i think it was a good mul-game. i'll buy it when it comes out. as for now, things changed. it seems like the company perfer Xbox but not both. i won't buy it anymore, even it is really good

nicebai1224
nicebai1224

is there going to be a beta for the ps3?...very cool game by the way

Buzduganjr
Buzduganjr

I have a beta Key for X360 but i need a Key for my PS3 also is much fun in PS3 then in X360 :)

joshphillips
joshphillips

This game with SIXAXIS controls and a PS3 3D update and I would be in heaven.

Mr_Wes32
Mr_Wes32

i don't think there's a psn beta. i could be wrong though. but this game looks sweet can't wait to try it out