Blur is a thoughtful melding of two unexpected genres: racing and RPGs. Well, less of a mix, more like someone added in a dash of role-playing elements to a big pot labeled 'racer', and did a pretty good job of it too. It's got its issues, but we'll get to those in a bit.
Blur is a street racing game that, in a nutshell, is like bringing Mario Kart to the city. It comes with a number of modes, but of course the most common is simply racing to be first. In addition to this there's also a variety of other modes such as destruction modes, team modes, or even simple checkpoint racing, struggling to get to the next point before the time runs out. There's a decent variety in there, though some of them feel a little out-of-place, like the mode which puts you and a number of cars in a fairly dull arena setting to duke it out.
Blur isn't just about racing cars though; it's also about tearing the other cars to pieces. To assist in this delightful goal, you're provided with a number of powerups scattered around the race tracks that can do a variety of things. They're pretty typical (especially if you've played other kart racers), like a homing shot, a non-homing-but-fast triple shot, a shockwave that hits things around you, and other helpful things like boosts and shields. One of the more interesting powerups is one that creates a number of lightning 'domes' on the track in front of the person in first, forcing them, and anyone close behind, to slalom them or risk taking sharp hit.
But beyond just racing to win the gold, you're racing to win fans. Fans are, in a word, experience. You earn them via doing anything, really. Hit an opponent with a weapon, get fans. Hit an opponent with a weapon you shot backwards while in the air, get a whole lot more. And there are also fans you get based on your position in the race, how long you can stay in first place (race domination), and a whole set of inter-race trials that give you more and more fans as you complete higher levels of them.
First, let's talk about mods. These are handy little things that you can attach your vehicles to make them better in small, subtle ways. They include things like being able to shoot four mini-shots instead of three with each powerup, gaining more fans for doing getting higher placements in the race, getting stronger shields, and a whole lot more. None of them are gamebreaking, but they're great to customize your ride with depending on how you play.
Anyway, back to fans, and ranks. As you rank up, you gain more options, in the form of cars and mods. The cars generally fit into various categories, such as 'drifty' or 'grippy', but in general it seems that everybody just chooses a couple of cars and sticks to them. Still, the amount of cars, all fully licensed, is nice to see. And with the amount of variety in the mods, you can customize them to your preference.
Whether you're playing on single player or multiplayer really determines how the game plays, with multiplayer clearly being the more superior mode, even if you're not usually one to play online.
In single player, the game is all about completing races and challenges to face off against champions, fully-trained drivers that are at the head of their game. First, to unlock their sections of the game, you must collect 'lights'. Lights are earned by placing first, second or third in their races, as well as both earning a certain number of fans during the race, and driving through a series of gates during the race.
To actually face the champion, however, you must complete their challenges. These can be as simple as beating five of their races, and can get much, much more complex, using specific weaponry, tactics, race types, and so forth. These can sometimes be pretty aggravating, as there can be times when you just want to complete one challenge, and must try again and again to just complete it.
Single player is decent, but the real meat of the game lies in the multiplayer portion of Blur. The single player mechanics more or less follow online, allowing you to take on up to 20 people on in any game mode. As you might imagine, with up to that many people flinging powerups, slinging shockwaves, dropping mines, and in generally smashing left and right, things get pretty fun and pretty chaotic. What are nice about the multiplayer mode are the extra challenges that you can unlock. In addition to the challenges involving various weaponry, tactics, explosions and on-a-dime movements, every car can be upgraded by placing first in a race a number of times, or just participating. This gives using older cars a point. And once you earn enough fans to reach Rank 50 (the highest rank in the game), you can revert back to the Rank 1, trading in all your fans for a shiny new legendary car. Flaunt it! Feels good.
What's really annoying about the separation of single player and multiplayer is that the fans and unlockables don't carry over to either mode. So despite the fact that you may have spent a dozen hours racing against the AI opponents and unlocking over dozen vehicles, if you play online then you're going to have to do it all over again.
Blur is a fairly decent title, and if all it had was the racing and no other secondary elements, it would be alright, but not that great. The addition of earning fans through tasks and your abilities, the ability to unlock and mod more cars, and the variety of race modes make this a lot better though. It's great for some fast-paced racing with explosions, and the ability to rank up and gain more and more unlockables make it easy and fun to come back to and play just one more race.