Review – Blur (360/PS3/PC)

BLUR (PG)

Developer: Bizzarre Creations

Publisher: Activision

Out Now for XBOX360, PS3 & PC.

Reviewed by Razor.
If you’ve ever played a racing game and wished you could suddenly unleash a powerful energy bolt to destroy the car ahead of you, or even if you’ve driven through the C.B.D. during peak hour and wished you could unleash an energy bolt to destroy the car ahead of you, then you will definitely enjoy BLUR.

The main event is “powered-up” racing. You and your opponents race as usual, but at select points around the course you will find different powerups that give you access to various offensive and defensive abilities that you can unleash at will. Sound familiar? Yep, it’s pretty much just like Mario Kart, except instead of Mario and friends racing around tracks like mushroom circuit, it’s Renaults, Dodges, Fords and Volkswagens racing in real-life inspired locations like Hollywood and London.

Now, did I say that this was a bad thing? Hello no! Finally we have a racing game that fills the void between Project Gotham Racing and Mario Kart. I’ve never been a huge racing game fan (though I do like games like Burnout where the emphasis is on fun rather than realism) but some of my most beloved gaming memories have been of dominating my friends at Mario Kart. BLUR gives me the tools to dominate them further.

The real fun is in multiplayer mode. You can play online or LAN against up to 19 opponents, or you can play offline with up to four players on a split screen. However, I found the 20 player races to be more chaotic than I could handle, and I much prefered the smaller races of 10 players.

Powered up racing is the default, but there is also a racing only mode, for people who like to race without the destruction; and an arena deathmatch mode for people who like destruction without the racing. Personally I found the powered up racing to be the most enjoyable of the three modes.

Single player mode is great too. It plays out like a career where you are competing against other computer controlled characters. Each stage sees you completing a certain amount of challenges set by a champion driver who you have to eventually beat to progess. Winning the races is only one aspect of it; you also have to win fans by performing crazy stunts and pulling of mini-challenges within the race. Like most other racing games you have to perform well to unlock all of the courses and cars available.

The selection of cars is surprisingly varied. It’s rare to see such a damage-intensive game with a license to use real car models.
Car brands featured include Dodge, Lotus, Ford, Vokswagen and Toyota; and even more surprisingly: all car models feature realistic damage. So yes, you will see Renaults and Nissans hurtling airborne sideways down the course, leaving shattered glass and twisted metal in their wake. There are also a range of four wheel drive and off road vehicles that fit this style of game perfectly.

Powerups that you can use are slightly more balanced carbon-copies of their Mario Kart equivalent. There’s the bolt which is three unguided shots; Shunt is a homing blast that targets the car ahead (think red shell); Mines are like an exploding banana peel; Shock places energy vortexes on the track ahead of the leading player to slow them down; Barge blasts cars in your immediate vicinity away from you; Nitro is your standard temporary speed boost; shield offers you protection from other powerups and there is also a Repair powerup that you will need A LOT.

Something to be aware of is that the game is pretty hard. Like most driving games, there is definitely a steep learning curve and you may find yourself coming nineteenth or twentieth for the first hour or so. The fact that your opponents are all trying to blow you up doesn’t make it any easier.
So, once again I found myself swallowing my pride and switching the difficulty to Easy while I got used to the car handling.

As expected there are heaps of achievements and trophies to aim for, although BLUR rewards you for non-gaming achievements like posting your results to Twitter and Facebook.

Overall, BLUR is an intense and action packed racer that shines in multiplayer mode. A word of warning: you may want to reaffirm your friendships at regular intervals while playing this game, because you will be trading insults regularly.

We reviewed the XBOX360 version; Blur is also available for the PS3 and PC.

ZEDGAMES – EPISODE 19

ZEDGAMES – Episode 19
09 June 2010

Presented by DJ Lame, Razor and Scribewraith.

This week we featured:
Review: Red Dead Redemption [MA] by Ian (360/PS3)
Review: No More Heroes 2: Desperate Struggle [MA] by DJ Lame (Wii)
Review: Blur [PG] by Razor (360/PS3/PC)
Review: Alien Breed Impact [M] by Chris (360/PC)

Louis and Nick dropped in to chat about Magic: The Gathering.

1. THE COMBOVERS – Ur 2 Cool
2. M. TAKADA & J. FUKUDA – No More Heroes Theme
3. 10K FREEMEN & THEIR FAMILIES – Maybe

LITTLE COMPUTER PEOPLE

Darth Vader, Tellytubbies, Bart Simpson, Pikachu & more join the party in this cute pixel art clip for German electro legend, Anthony Rother’s “Little Computer People” side project from a few years back.

(^-^) v

Red Dead Redemption, And Some Other Stuff.

Red Dead Redemption. We’ve only been able to put about 15 hours of playtime in and split between three this means we really haven’t seen much of the world yet. Why do every day things like family and house moving and assignments come in between us and our wicky-wicky-wild-wild-west?

I dig the tutorial lessons and it balances the lessons with introducing back story quite effectively. You’re thrown right in after an animated train ride into town and you have to work out what’s going on as you go. It’s not a beginners game because it assumes some familiarity with the way a game, and in particular a Rockstar game, works.

The animation is pretty smooth on our Xbox (bought on the platform so the boys can all multiplay with each other) and the colours are muted and grimy. The landscape looks like it’s just rained – all green instead of the dry reds and browns in Australian winters. And there are lots of little touches to show the stage of history it’s set in – the mythical west but turn of the century. Railways and electrical wires and mentions of cars.

Straight up we’re introduced to a female character, Bonnie McFarlane and she speaks and has her own agenda. She runs the ranch that her father and her own and Ian reckon’s she’s a lot like a character from The Man from Laramie. My biggest gripe, on the whole heteronormativity front is that John Marston constantly harping on his missing wife. ‘I’m not having sex with a prostitute, I have a wife;’ ‘I’m not interested, I have a wife;’ and while it adds to back story, it’s also a little tedious. On the other hand you get honour points for preventing the rape of a ‘woman of the night’.

And to my Australian readers, which yes is probably all three of you, I was really disappointed when we finally got to Hanging Rock, one of the subplots of the story. There were no girls in white dresses, there were no alien abductions, just a big rock with a tree… you know, a HANGING rock. uh huh, I totally went somewhere else ;)

We will talk about it more as it gets played, but my first impression says it’s definitely not a disappointment.

Also, my brother-in-law came back from his honeymoon and brought me back magic cards from germany, so their playable but in german which can be confusing. I got a Kometenhagel (Comet Storm) which is one of my favourite burn cards and a wald (forest), insel (island), and a shiny sumpf (swamp).

Talking of MTG, the new deck builder’s toolkit was my wage-gift to myself this week: $25 for 4 boosters, 100 basic lands and 125 randomized cards. The instructions are pretty simple but I really think this is a great pack to start with. I also had the affirmation that I live in an uber geek household when I went to find a three-ring binder to put my plastic card holding pages in only to find one with a bunch of empty card holding pages already in it. Win!

And a link from Ian: Good Old Games. Working with a bunch of companies, including ubisoft, Good Old Games is releasing old games in a modern playable way. Heroes of Might and MagicFalloutMasters of Orion and King’s Quest 4+5+6 are among the choices. They’re pretty cheap at between $5 and $10 for a DRM-free game. Hopefully Bard’s Tale may get the nostalgia redress ;)

We’re having a bunch of guests on this week’s show: Amy from King George Square Games Night is coming in to talk about why you should go along and what you can expect to find and also Phil Larsen from Halfbrick, a local game developer who are having great success with their Iphone gameFruit Ninja.

ZED GAMES – EPISODE 16

Rockstar games logo

Presented by Chani, , Razor, Ian & DJ LAME.

This week we featured:

Rockstar Games Feature Part 1:

In anticipation of Red Dead Redemption, we take a look back into Rockstar’s Past…

From their early years as DMA Design, developing PC titles like Lemmings and the original top-down GTA games through to GTA IV and the evolution of the Grand Theft Auto series.

(No real-life Police Officers, Hare Krishnas, Hookers or Lemmings were harmed in the making of this episode)

In a future episode we’ll talk about some of the other Rockstar titles we didn’t cover like the fantastic “Bully”, the controversial “Manhunt”, the Midnight Club series and the forthcoming “L.A. Noire” & “Max Payne 3″.

ARTIST – Title [Female content/Australian/Local/New Release]

1. BECK –Bad Cartridge (PAZA Remix) [NNNN]
2. DOT.AY – POQO [NYYN]
3. DJ MASTER KOHTA – Ninja Ryuken Den 2 Remix [NNNN]
4. DJ ROB ONE – Mario Beat [NNNN]