In order to beat the game's bosses, you'll need to achieve a set of five requirements in each bracket. These challenges start out simple enough but soon ramp up in the difficulty stakes. Eventually, you'll have to barge other cars over the side of cliff tops, win races without wrecking or repairing once, and start to string power-up combos together – all while driving at ludicrously high speeds.
's singleplayer game also features a Stickers system which serves up drip-fed achievements for a myriad of different milestones. The game constantly keeps tabs on your in-race antics and flashes up mini-achievements at regular intervals; a carrot that's perpetually dangling in front of you and driving you forward.
The multiplayer half of the game is technically a standalone game. Blur
is one of the few PC racers that supports decent 2-4 player split-screen gameplay, and while this console-centric feature is a nice touch, it's online where you'll really get your big thrills. Starting from scratch at Rank 1 you are able to join likeminded speed fiends in differently themed lobbies.
The Driving School lobby is capped at Rack 10 and let's up to 10 players get their feet wet. Earn more ranks and different lobbies will gradually unlock. The themes range from 2-20 player matches that have you baying for blood in an effort to score the most wrecks, be in the finishing top three or even play together as teams. Again, the influence of Call of Duty
's recent incarnations is obvious.
Power-ups can be the difference between winning or losing
You can set up your own personal private matches too, view your complete online race history, check out the world-class leaderboards, manage your stable of cars and view specific multiplayer challenges. The Fan system again acts as the Rank progression modifier and the adrenaline-fuelled urge that Blur
heaps on your shoulders to keep on racing just one more time
before you quit for the night is pretty powerful stuff.
Finally, there's the option to link your racer's profile to both Twitter and Facebook respectively. Couple this with Blur
's Friends system, and you're able to inform the whole world (or at least your cyber chums) about your latest acquisitions and in-game conquests. The Facebook app even lets you post hot photos that you've snapped from the singleplayer side of the game.
It's pretty apparent that the Friends system was designed with the console versions of Blur
in mind more than the PC version, because unless you actually know someone in real-life that's also playing the game, you'll just end up having to stalk random players in order to flesh out your buddy list. Blur
doesn't support any kind of instant messaging system nor does it include any voice chat – something of an oversight when social networking is supposed to be a part of the game's overall puzzle.
Thankfully, there's no parallel parking mini-game
Crucially, there's no steering wheel support for Blur
either. PC racing fans might not be able to forgive this oversight, but truth be told, Blur
is one of those racers that's far better suited to a sturdy joypad over keyboard or wheel controls anyway. Other annoyances range from one or two desktop crashes over hours of play, but more pressing than that are the somewhat barren online lobbies. At the time of writing, it's obvious that players living in the USA make up the vast majority of Blur
's PC online community. As such, playing online in the UK at reasonable times of day results in anywhere between 40-80 players being online total
. Those prepared to wait up later in the evening will be rewarded with faster-matched, fuller online experiences.
There's little doubt that Blur
's visuals are impressive. The game's neon-driven looks are very unique and give off an almost futuristic feel. The course environments are based on real-world locations such as San Francisco, Brighton and Barcelona and look splendid, as do the car models too. Visuals are always subjective based on hardware, but playing Blur
at 1680x1050 with a Core i5 750 and a Radeon HD 4870 resulted in excellent framerates, even with the AA ramped up.
As it stands Blur
on the PC is a splendid game that will enthuse arcade racing aficionados to push themselves to eleven both offline and online. It's not simply Super Mario Kart
for grownups either; Blur
is a successful marriage of two very different racer genres wrapped skilfully into one highly polished package. Issue forth those Friends' challenges and take your game to the neon-lit highways and byways of Blur
– you'll not be sorry you did.