Blur Xbox 360 Multiplayer Beta Impressions

Yesterday I received a code which gave me access to the multiplayer beta of Bizarre’s new racing game Blur. I’m going to be honest and say that I really don’t know a whole lot about the game, but I’m a fan of arcade racing games (don’t really care for the sim ones) so it looked interesting and hey, free beta so why not. The downloaded clocked in at a little over 1 gig and seems to include 4-5 tracks (?) and a handful of cars. I haven’t had time to mess around with all of the customization or anything like that, but I did get a solid hour and a half of playing time in so that’s basically what I’m going to be telling you about.

So seeing as how I knew nothing about the game going in I wasn’t really sure what to expect, but right off the bat I figured out that it’s kind of like Mario Kart, but with real cars. Essentially you are racing through a city, shipping yard, whatever, against other players trying to finish first, but along the way you can pick up different power ups to use against enemies or to help yourself. Just like in Mario Kart you can fire these power ups forwards or backwards, you can cycle between the different things you are carrying and the power ups themselves are similar to what you would find in Mario Kart. There’s a gun of sorts that gives you 3 bullets to fire off at people, there’s a red bomb type weapon that seeks out the person in front of you and hits them, there’s another red bomb thing that goes backwards and sits on the track waiting for someone to run into it, there’s a shockwave weapon that emits a pulse that damages any vehicle around you, there’s speed boosts, there’s shields, etc… you get the point.

So the muliplayer beta is basically just a handful of courses where you race around trying to finish first. You get different amounts of points depending on what place you finish and these help you level up which I’m assuming nets you different cars and mods and stuff. The menu interface is very clean and easily navigated, the game lobbies don’t seem to have any problems, there’s a nice voting system to choose which track will be next, overall the menus seem pretty thought out. The gameplay itself is actually pretty good, I didn’t have any problems with it although a lot of people in the game were complaining about the drifting, which I felt was alright, just took a little getting used to. It also took a few races to figure out what each of the power ups does as they are just colored icons without any description of what they are, but it’s easy enough to pick up on. The cars handled like I was expecting them to handle in an arcade racing game and I actually had a lot of fun playing online. So overall the beta seems pretty promising, but I’m not sure whether I’ll be picking this one up or not. I have quite a few games to play at the moment and am still having a hard time pulling myself away from Modern Warfare 2, so we’ll see. I’m always up for a good racing game and I’ll probably pick this up eventually, but I won’t be running out on release day to get a copy.

Is anyone else in on the beta? What do you guys think of the game so far? Does the drifting seem off to you or do these other people just need to get used to it?