Split/Second - I will honor them by maintaining the slash - is an incredibly solid product. You can play the demo as many times as I did, which (between you and me) could well be described as a fuck-ton, and emerge from it with a sense that you have a firm handle on its bombast and can therefore skip the final release. It will be more of this, you might say to yourself. You’d be wrong; I certainly was.
Would you be surprised to learn that the demo map might be the least ridiculous one on offer? Or that its got alternate gameplay modes that split the difference between balls-out racing and bullet-hell shmups? They maintain that demo polish throughout the experience with frankly amazing UI work, amazing car design, and everything refined down into an infinitely suckable lozenge.
Alright, the joy portion of the presentation is over. I am as angry as I could possibly be at Blur, as a videogame, and at its black womb Bizarre Creations.
The last time I saw a product this unstable was with Rainbow Six: Raven Shield and Pandora Tomorrow - their server browsers (remember those?) would crash one-hundred percent of the time if populated with more than a certain number of hosts. Before that it was Tribes 2, a noble game, but delivered in such ruins that (as I have said) they once released a patch that removed the previous patch.
Once we’d obtained sufficient level to take part in Blur’s Team Racing modes, things went desperately awry. Blur might crash three times in an hour, hard locks that necessitate manual shutdown. I have often said that, more often than not, fond wishes for improvement between the “beta” phase and the retail shelf are misspent. This isn’t something that happens a statistically significant percentage of the time. This, however, is something new: a retail release that appends to its previously smooth contours row upon row of toxic barbs.
I’ve always felt like I understood something about Bizarre Creations games, that their thesis was one with which I was perhaps uniquely resonant: the joy of a perfect run, pegged somewhere between mastery and the Zen moment. There’s definitely something to like about Blur, and we put up with it for a few nights. In an effort to wring some juice out of my purchase I plowed myself into the ordinary, reliable part of the game, the single player, finding it ordinary and reliable - something had happened. Some quality previously held by Blur had evaporated, and like Modern Warfare 2, the urge to continue moving my hands on the controller in the interim period between these betrayals was gone. I’m incredibly ashamed to have recommended it.