What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Blur is a fairly safe game for kids 12 and older. The over-the-top arcade action involves firing weapons at competitors and fails to realistically depict the consequences of high speed collisions, but the racing scenarios are clearly fantasy. Player will hear some cussing and one song has suggestive lyrics. Also note that this game supports open voice chat in online games. Common Sense Media does not recommend open online play for pre-teens. Parents should also know that there is some research that suggests that new teen drivers can be influenced negatively by video games that glorify driving recklessly.
What's it about?
What if you took real-world cars found in a racing sim like Forza Motorsport 3 and added over-the-top weapons found in a game like Mario Kart? The result would look something like BLUR, developed by UK's Bizarre Creations (of Project Gotham Racing fame.) It's a fast and frantic driving game that looks great, plays fast, and enjoys a clever perk system borrowed from Call of Duty 4: Modern Warfare that rewards players with prizes for pulling off specific maneuvers behind the wheel. You must take sharp corners while avoiding mines, shoot missiles at competitors, and sprint to the finish line before your A.I. or human competitors. The single-player mode offers more than 60 events to compete in spread out between three event types: racing (driving and weapons with 19 others), checkpoint (no weapons or competitors; just achieve the fastest time) and destruction (races peppered with mini-challenges, such as "hit an enemy with a backward stunt shot").
Is it any good?
Gamers who prefer arcade-style driving games over simulations will enjoy Blur's speed, graphics, and car handling (though drifting around corners feels a little too tight). You have access to more than 55 licensed cars and many real-world locations (from L.A. to London, Tokyo to San Francisco), but the real fun is in your arsenal of power-ups, like nitro speed boosts, defensive shields, shock attacks, and mines. Online multiplayer is also a blast, featuring solo and team racing, and the ability to increase rank by earning "fans," which can be used as currency to unlock new cars, modifications, and online modes.
Despite the stiff competition from many other racing games released this month, Blur stands out for its clever blend of real-world vehicles and locations with fast action and weapons.
Online interaction: Blur can be played online against friends or strangers. The lobby system lets players host or join a game and open voice support is included for those who want to chat. There is a high probability that players who venture online will talk with strangers and hear profanity.
Explore, discuss, enjoy
Families can talk about the kinds of driving games they prefer. Cartoon kart racers? Futuristic racers? Deep simulations? Do any of these genres lend themselves to particular age groups?
Families can also discuss the depiction of crashes in racing games. Do games that show realistic car damage and drivers getting hurt act as a warning for kids about the dangers of reckless driving, or are they simply sensational and gratuitous? How about more cartoonish racing games that show no consequences?