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01 Aug 10

BLUR IS MY KINDA RACING GAME. Why? Well, for starters you can blow opponents up with bombs and lightning and big hot lava balls. And given my propensity for crashing anyway, the thought of taking out as much of the competition as possible before I do is strangely comforting.

Blur is a weird old mix of elements that, if one were to write them down, would seem very much at odds with one another. It's a racing game to be sure, featuring an impressive lineup of fully licensed cars, including the likes of Ford, Dodge, Lotus, Nissan; even Volkswagen. But then you've got these OTT power-ups that let you wreak havoc on your fellow competitors. Top that off with a techno, neon coating and you've got a bizarre and seemingly random mix of elements that just works.

Career mode (aka single player) is nice and robust with 60+ events for you to compete in. From the outset you are barraged with achievements and rewards, giving an almost instant sense of satisfaction for each race, win or lose. Rewards range from unlocking new cars to new tracks, sweet mods and a rather tame car customisation menu. Each set of races is like a chapter to a story culminating in a face-off against some racing cheeseball; a boss of sorts. Beat each boss and you get to take their unique ride with you.

The races themselves are divided up into three basic types: there's 'Racing where you… never

mind; 'Checkpoint', a timed event where you have to beat the clock, sans other racers or power-ups; and 'Destruction',  here you must shoot down ompetitors to gain time bonuses using a weapon  that’s eerily similar to the  'Needler' from Halo.

So let's talk power-ups. Well, these are mainly offensive weapons ranging from close-range seeking balls of magma, to  lightning bolts and mines (which are choice). Players are able to hold up to three power-ups at any given time and can  cycle through them in order to use the most effective one for any given situation. There are also defensive/aid pick-ups, namely a nitro boost, a shield and a repair special.

Pass through all the checkpoints in the allotted time and get a whole bunch of screaming fans. Of course, fans can also be gained through other goals and challenges, but you’ll gain them much more quickly via these mini challenges.

Online multiplayer is a hoot and although you begin with a rather limited roster of vehicles, others become quickly unlocked to you as you rack up the points. Leveling up is also given a healthy boost, as your level limit is doubled in the multiplayer game. Online there are the usual generic racing challenges, but also battle challenges where it’s all about the pain. In contrast you can also opt to remove all power-ups in a particular match and try to take the gold the old- fashioned way: pedal to the metal.

Blur is good fast fun. There's plenty do to and achieve, particularly in the online multiplayer where the title shines at its multicoloured brightest

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