After a few negative reviews lately, I have something a bit different. Blur was of those games on my radar a year or two ago, along with Split/Second. While the demo was enough to put me off Split/Second, the reviews made me not want to bother with Blur. By the time it made it’s way down to bargain bin status, I’d all but forgotten about it and lost interest, until a news thread popped up several months ago with the news of Activision closing down Bizarre. My interest was piqued, but then I re-read the reviews which really seemed to emphasis the difficulty of the SP races, so I dropped it down to “ah, whatever” status.
I don’t need to reiterate the lineage of this game, do I? Bizarre Creations, Project Gotham Racing 1/2/3/4.
It recently hit the AU$20 mark via a UK import site I use for a lot of games (also responsible for a lot of the dross I’ve been buying and playing recently), so with the idea of some system-link play in mind, I decided to pick it up for Christmas. We cracked them open at the end of January, and I have to say that what others on that forum had to say about the game is actually really accurate. It’s a damn fun little racer. Would I have paid full price for it? No, but that says more about me these days than the game. Despite only being in the first set of many races when I initially started to write this, I’m having quite a good time, at least so far, both in Single-Player mode as well as in system link with my wife both with and without AI competitors. It’s basically a good looking, neon-tinged arcade racer that looks something like a Need for Speed Underground title crossed with Mario Kart.
It’s very likely that as I get further into the game, it’ll become too hard for my shitty driving skills and I’ll put it down for awhile or forever, but that’s what happens with me and racing games. Despite my love for the series, I’ve never “finished” a Burnout game, either. I see racing games as more like a sports game or a Streetfighter/Tekken beat-em-up. Something to pick up and play for a bit, but not something to really play in a hardcore manner. Pick up and put down. I’ve gotten in as far as the third or forth set of races, and there are a few that I’m having issues with. I get the feeling that I’m supposed to go and rank up elsewhere then go back to complete the earlier ones that give me trouble. Shame then that the first cars seem to be the best ones I’ve come across so far still…
I’ve gone online for several sessions and competed with others, consistantly getting from 4th-6th place, and even finished 1st a couple of times. While this was unexpected, it’s really the arcade multiplayer Mario Kart aspect of the game that made it fun, which gives shitty driving game players like me a chance to use my the skills to have a chance to be competitive. From what others have told me, the PC online community is completely dead. On the 360, there may be 200 people on at once at a time, worldwide. So not what I’d call popular, but at least you can get a game going. No idea about PSN, but I’ll bet there’ll be slightly fewer online if PSN ever gets up and running again… but even as a simple game to play in split-screen or via system link, it’s good, simple fun.
Anyway, this is cheap as chips right now, and a good way to work out if you’ll like this is to ask yourself: Do you like Mario Kart? You might like this as well.
Verdict: Buy it (If you like Mario Kart).