One of my many Steam sale purchases this Christmas was a game called Blur. It’s a racing game from developer Bizarre Creations (of Project Gotham Racing and, a long time ago, Formula 1 fame) which received a level of critical acclaim, but failed to sell as well as they, or indeed publisher Activision, would have liked (long story short: Bizarre is no more).

It’s a shame, because it’s actually really bloody good. Essentially Mario Kart with real cars, you take your pick from a selection of licensed vehicles, do a few laps and try to stay in the lead through a combination of driving skill and the skilful deployment of weaponry.

And that’s just in single-player; I imagine those with a TV, an Xbox and some friends will have more fun, especially as it offers that rarest of things nowadays – a four-way split-screen mode.

EDIT: Just to add a bit more on why it’s so good – the driving and combat are well integrated; you have to drive well and make good use of the weapons to succeed – one or the other won’t usually cut it.

Weapons and power ups in racing games are normally the kind of thing I hate, particularly if there’s little way to defend against them, and they’re used as a method of AI ‘catch-up’ – denying you victory at the last moment. Here, though, you can dodge or defend against most attacks, if you keep your wits about you. So there’s definite skill involved in use of the weapons, as well as in the driving itself.