GAME REVIEW: BLAZERUSH / DEVELOPER: TARGEM GAMES / PUBLISHER: TARGEM GAMES SOFTWORKS / PLATFORM: PLAYSTATION 3, PC / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW
The Rock N’ Roll racing of a new generation, BlazeRush is the kind of explosive fun you’ll instantly recognise. It’s the sort of game anyone who grew up with the original PlayStation will have seen in spades, with no plot, an isometric fixed camera and a massive emphasis upon multiplayer mayhem.
The aim of each race is simple – don’t get gunned down too often, pick up as many power ups as possible, and come first. It’s as basic and arcadey an objective as it gets, with everything from F-Zero to Mario Kart having similarly basic aspects, but Targem Games have added enough here to make it an excitingly violent distraction, especially in terms of vehicle and power-up variation. Along with the various vehicles being divided up into several categories (the all-rounder four wheels versions, tank-like tracked contraptions, and fast if fragile hover cars), BlazeRush‘s power-ups are a great mix of familiar and unconventional ideas. While homing missiles and speed boosts are almost expected of a racing combat game these days, mini-guns, saw blades and a few other surprises keep players on their toes.
While the game features a great progression system of cups, vehicles to unlock, and new ideas which will offer many hours of replay value, the game’s real strength lies in its multiplayer focus. Offering both local and online co-op, everything here has been geared towards multiplayer action, allowing up to eight human racers on any track at a time. Matches are quick to set up, and with excellent controller support they are perfect for a series of very short races or even tournaments. The quick set-up and connections means that it emulates the ‘pick up and play’ strengths consoles used to emphasise over all else.
Unfortunately BlazeRush does suffer from several notable failings in areas, which prevent it from becoming a true classic. Foremost among these are the tracks. While offering a great deal of colourful environments, they all too often lack elements to make them seem truly unique. While they add the odd death-trap or unique element here and there, once you strip the visuals there is little to really distinguish them from one another. Similarly the enemy AI is not nearly challenging enough to give as much entertainment as the multiplayer, and it can fail to truly engage a player in career mode.
At the end of the day, BlazeRush is hardly breaking any new conventions. That said, for its low price it’s a bargain well worth the time and cash of anyone looking for a fantastic multiplayer title. If you’re after something harkening back to the better days of couch multiplayer games, definitely give this one a look.
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