Blur Single-Player Hands-On

Fan runs, boss battles, and an achievement system dubbed "stickers" are just some of the features found in Blur's single-player Career mode.

While we've already seen some of what Blur's multiplayer has to offer in the beta, much less has been seen of the single-player campaign. Many of the core gameplay features, such as the ability to shoot other drivers with power-ups, the fan-leveling system, and challenges, all seem geared toward the multiplayer experience. Does the single-player offer enough new features and challenges to keep racers interested? We went hands-on with an updated build to find out.

The heart of Blur's single-player is in its Career mode. It's organized into nine groups, each consisting of seven challenges. When you start the game, only the first group called Proving Grounds is available. The others are unlocked as you work your way through each group. The seven challenges in a group consist of one of three types: race, destruction, and checkpoint. Race is a simple 20-car competition to reach first place, though you are able to progress as long as you place third or above. Destruction is a points-based challenge, requiring you to shoot your opponents with a specific power-up, such as bolt or shunt. You're given a score target at the start of the race and a time limit with which to reach the score. Points are awarded for successful hits, and bonuses are available for multiple hits on the same target or for skillful shooting. The final challenge is checkpoint; a timed race around the track, where you must go though gates at specific points on the map in a limited amount of time. More time can be acquired by picking up stopwatch power-ups, which are scattered across the track.

Though there isn't a narrative that ties the challenges together, each group ends with a final boss battle. This takes the form of a one-on-one race against an opponent with a special mod. For example, an opponent's car may have the ability to launch unlimited bolts or have an increased resistance to damage. Each boss has a set of requirements that you must fulfill from earlier challenges, such as completing a race in an allotted amount of time or pulling off a number of drifts on a track. Each of the requirements is listed so you can easily check on what you have to do in order to take on the boss and keep track of your progress. Boss battles are much harder than regular races, but you are rewarded with the car and its special modification for beating them.

Blur by name, blur by nature.

After finishing a course, you're given the option of challenging a friend to best your time or score via Xbox Live or Twitter. This sends a message to friends asking if they wish to accept your challenge. You can customise the challenge before sending it, changing such attributes as the time it takes to complete the course or the power-ups available. If they manage to beat it, they have the option of sending it back to you, complete with even more difficult conditions. This works much like a turn-based game, allowing players who might not necessarily be online at the same time or those without an Xbox Live gold subscription to compete. It also gives your friends who are new to the game the opportunity to experience more difficult tracks further into the Career mode.

Like in the multiplayer, completing challenges earns you fans. Fans can be used to purchase new mods for your car, which increases its abilities. Certain challenges also contain fan runs, which give you the opportunity to earn extra fans. Runs require completing a task, such as racing through a set of checkpoints in a given amount of time, hitting a certain speed, or achieving a long drift. They are taken on by picking up a special bouncing icon in a challenge. You have to complete the run while trying to beat the original challenge, which adds to the difficulty of races. Unfortunately, fans that you earn in the single-player do not carry over to your online profile.

In addition to the Career mode, we checked out the achievements system, which has been dubbed stickers. Unlike most games, Blur requires you to complete four separate challenges in order to earn one achievement. None of the achievements are hidden, so you can see all of them under the stickers menu, including the specific challenges to earn them. Another feature we saw was photos. This allows you to take snapshots during a race and upload your best or worst Blur moments to a central server. These can then be shared with your friends or opponents online and are great for rubbing someone's face in it when you nail him or her with a well-placed shunt missile.

Since the multiplayer beta has been live, Bizarre Creations has been making tweaks based on feedback, which have made it into the single-player. One of these tweaks tones down the barge power-up, which was found to be too powerful. Another tweak removes the in-car view, leaving just the third-person and bumper views. This was removed because it did not leave enough of the screen visible, making it difficult to see power-ups flying toward you or on the track. A pumping techno soundtrack has also been added to the single-player, though we were told the music will not be available in the multiplayer.

The barge powerup has been toned down from its over-powerful incarnation in the multiplayer beta.

The biggest difference we saw in the single-player was the graphics, which are noticeably better in the offline game. We saw a number of tracks, including the Hollywood Hills, San Francisco, and Brighton Promenade. The latter two were especially nice looking. Brighton was set at night and featured colourful fireworks exploding in the sky with a backdrop of Ferris wheels, as well as carousels. San Francisco featured a number of great twists and turns; it was immediately recognisable by the Golden Gate Bridge, which was a great approximation of the real thing. The detail in the tracks was very high, which also extended to smaller things, such as the crowds at the start of races who applauded and launched flares into the sky.

The final tidbit of information Activision gave us has to do with the game's multiplayer. Because Bizarre will monitor the game's servers directly, it will be able to keep an eye on what games people are playing and the most popular custom modes the community has created. If a custom mode proves popular enough, Bizarre will incorporate it into the game via an update and make it available to everyone. Blur is due out May 28 on the Xbox 360, PlayStation 3, and PC.

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markypants

Mark Walton

Mark is a senior staff writer based out of the UK, the home of heavy metal and superior chocolate.
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36 comments
takspeed
takspeed

this game looks sweeet icant wait to pick up since i was a bit disappointed with split second

PewPewNinja
PewPewNinja

hahaha at least we already know that this is 100x better then Split/second (not like it was hard...) Burnout Where are you!

GenVidTh
GenVidTh

@ahmadbanbouk totally agreed... I think Codemasters is the king of racing game developer

junor69
junor69

hmm that game look like one big ( Failllll!!!!!)

zvaraly
zvaraly

Beta turned out bad ass. Looking forward to this.... blur is going to totally cram its balls in split/second's mouth.

BudgetMonkey82
BudgetMonkey82

Looks a bit like a fancy-pants Mashed to me. Think I will stick with Burnout Paradise, at least until GT5 finally rears it's engines (Duke Nukem Forever?).

BallisstiXXX
BallisstiXXX

I like the look of this game, but not only that, but the fact that it has REAL cars!

sentinalx7
sentinalx7

Obviously we dont know what its like to play the campaign but the online Multiplayer is enough as a stand alone for me. The Beta was sooo much fun! Horribly addictive. Best served with mates! There are very clever incentives to compete for better scores and times with friends and others online. Split Second will be second choice (watch the pun) now and I believe Split Second is the game Burnout Paradise SHOULD have been. Good but no where near a fun! Peace.

JackNichols1
JackNichols1

Is this gonna be open world like NFS or more like the older burnout games which just had a load of challenges for you to do ???

anddyr
anddyr

I would definitely get this game if it had splits screen career mode.

edwise18
edwise18

I think split/second is a lot more fun. I can see the multiplayer in that game being insane fun.

epsilonz999
epsilonz999

Cant wait for this game to come out! I like the idea of having power ups up your sleeve so its not just a start finish boring race

Wam11
Wam11

they toned down barge? phew nothings more frustrating then being blown into a mine you were nowhere near and then flying into a lightning thingie.. ending up in last when u were in first. but meh this game is so FUN!.. i was very addicted to the beta until i reached the limits of unlockables.

johnz395
johnz395

this game looks awesome!!!

Di3oxide
Di3oxide

Looks brilliant. Hope i'll be great! Just like a Mario Kart or Diddy Kong Racing game but just REALISTIC:D:D

benboz
benboz

Good game. Can't wait til its out.

ahmadbanbouk
ahmadbanbouk

i think ea has to watch its back.cuz need for speed is not the best racing game in this days.

gozer666
gozer666

fun game, arcade worthy at best. its mario kart with real cars. cant see single player being any fun. mw style challenges are kinda neat though. will probably still buy used once it drops below $30.

SadPSPAddict
SadPSPAddict

Got this and Split/Second on Pre-order already - nothing I've read here making me change my mind :):)

12151
12151

Blur Is Really Good And If You Pre-order , You Get Four Cars At The Start . I Will Go Buy Mine Now !

fenwickhotmail
fenwickhotmail

The Blur demo was great fun. The only thing I didnt particularly like was the drifting, which was a lot better on Split Second.

HBC14
HBC14

Oh my that VW car in that pic... I love that car! I WANT THE GAME!!!

maverick767
maverick767

I've played both these demos and blur definitely has the better sense of speed. Also you have to choose which powerups to get and when to use them, whereas in Split Second you just wait till you see icons appear over cars and then push a button.. not much strategy in that. I much prefer choosing what type of attack to use and when versus just activating something that occurs along the track.

wars45
wars45

split second got 86 in game master mag am going for that has blur seems a bit dull

Vladka22
Vladka22

Looks good, but i'll wait for its review before getting it

Dorgoth12
Dorgoth12

split second ony seems worse because the demo was so restricted and blur gave you lots of variety in their beta. split second showed you the basic concept of what their races are going to be like and tbh i thought it was brilliant, blur was entertaining but i can only see it working on a multiplayer level.

xconkiller
xconkiller

Split/Second has no sense of speed, it's slow and overall boring. In Split/Second I feel no real control of any power ups since you have no real idea where they will come from once activated. This is a no Brainer, Bizzaire has been around for years on end and odviously will be the better racer. Blur is the way to go!!!

Dukard
Dukard

I dunno what to pick btw this and Split Second. My first eva 360 racing game. Has to be good.

vetookie
vetookie

I'm really stuck between this and Split/Second...

NoDzombie
NoDzombie

looking good, cant wait, kinda sick of the beta and the same few tracks over and over