Monthly Archives: March 2010

Beta Impressions – Blur

Bizzare Creations, known primarily for its popular Project Gotham Racing series as well as the Xbox Live Arcade smash hit Geometry Wars is back with a new racing experience, Blur.

Blur has been called “Mario Kart meets Forza,” and after spending some time with the game myself, that holds very true. The game is a high-speed arcade racer not too unlike Burnout, but the main twist in the gameplay is the addition of power-ups. That’s where Mario Kart comes in. The power-ups vary in function, from weapons to mines, from boosts to shields. How you use these power-ups will be absolutely critical to whether you succeed or fail. You can hold up to three at a time – their symbols are displayed beneath your car as you race, and you can hit the X button (on the 360 at least) to switch between any power-ups you hold.

As fun as this system is, what I found even more appealing was how online play works. They have essentially taken the Modern Warfare model of earning experience and leveling up and placed that into a racing game. The result is just as addictive as it is in a first-person shooter. You earn experience, or “fans,” for drifting, hitting opponents with power-ups, dodging attacks, winning races, etc. You also get bonus points for completing challenges, such as “Hit 5 opponents by launching a bolt backwards.”

This sort of stuff should sound extremely familiar to Modern Warfare veterans, so it should come as no surprise that as you level up, you unlock new gameplay modes and customization features. At level three, you unlock the Mod Shop, which allows you to select three features – basically Perks – for you car, such as doing more damage in collisions, or repairing your car any time you successfully use a shield. You also unlock new cars to use and new gameplay modes to play.

Races can involve anywhere from 2 to 20 racers, which can get pretty crazy considering the Mario Kart-style insanity on the race track. Considering every racer can up to three power-ups at a time, you sometimes have to be really careful not to crash ask lightning and missiles are flying around.

I feel that the game is going to live or die based on its online community. 20-player races can be a blast, but what’s going to happen if you can’t find 19 other people to race against? But if a solid community sticks to the game, I think it could be a big success.

The full game will have what I assume is a rather standard set of single-player features, but I have not had the opportunity to try them myself.

Now for the fun part. There’s still a bit of time before the multiplayer Blur beta ends, and I have three beta  codes to give away. If you want one, just leave a comment on this story with your e-mail address. Three random people will score codes, unless only three people comment, in which case everybody wins.  The beta is for Xbox Live only. Sorry, PS3 users.

Blur is coming soon for the Xbox 360, Playstation 3 and PC.

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Level Up – Episode 5: GDC and PlayStation Move

GDC is wrapping up tomorrow, but the biggest news probably already happened. Well, according to Britton, the second biggest piece of news, but regardless, some shizz went down. Obviously, we’re talking about the PlayStation Move announcement from Peter Dille & co. during the Sony keynote on Wednesday. This motion controller revelation trumped even the OnLive official launch date announcement, which is pretty hard to do.

As you’ll notice, I didn’t mention what Britton went gaga over. You’ll just have to listen to find out.

Listen here or download direct.

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Level Up – Episode 4: Infinity Ward and Activision Saga

This little guy was recorded a while ago, but we just now got around to posting it. It is still, however, pretty relevant considering nothing much in the way of news has cropped up since Britton and I discussed the previously furtive events over at Infinity Ward, all sparked by a fantastically titillating breaking story from G4. Listen here or download direct.
Your thoughts?

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