Jan 29 2018

Late BlazeRush Review

If anyone can remember the classic Micro Machines racing games for the Sega Megadrive, in which you would race from a top down perspective, knocking your opponents off the track, then BlazeRush is a modern equivalent minus the miniature toy theme.

In BlazeRush, the view is more isometric, in which the camera is fixed on all vehicles on the race track, as you and your opponents fight for the lead and blast anyone ahead of you. The carnage is on point, with vehicles constantly colliding round bends, weapons and boosts filling the screen with blasts and fire. At times it’s even difficult to make out which vehicle is your own in these pile ups, usually meaning that you then think you’re someone else and drive off the track with your actual vehicle. This would still happen to me even towards the end of the game.

The campaign of the game consists of visiting 5 areas, though all the tracks in these areas are quite similiar to one another, consisting only really of some straights and bends. A thin coating of story has been painted over the campaign, in which there’s supposed to be some corporation that’s taking over worlds, whilst in the mean time trying to take down a death-rally racing committee. You and your opponents give it to the man by racing amongst yourselves, making sure the Boss of the corporation takes notice by killing yourselves senseless, constantly driving off tracks. A proven strategy that has worked many times in history. It just adds up basically so that it allows you to have a race against a big-ass vehicle at the end of the game that is referred to as a boss battle, which turns out to be a right pain, but I’ll get to that later.

Whilst racing, weapons spawn on the racetrack, which are picked up when driven over. There are mini-tutorial courses in the game on how to make use of them aswell as tests. The weapons consist of either a machine gun attachment, auto lock rocket launcher, wide-spanning gust of wind, spinning saw discs and goo that slows your opponents down. None of these weapons will reduce your opponents health, they are instead used to debilitate the opponent to slow them down or crash them into an edge, otherwise they’re used in trying to send them flying off the track, causing them to spawn behind everyone else, which is essentially when the boosts come in. These tend to spawn for those in the middle of the race, and provide ample opportunity to catch up and overtake the leaders. There are various types of boosts, but you can’t be too picky at times, especially when you’ve got a 50ft steamroller up your arse trying to squish you.

There are various race modes; time trails, king of the hill, regular lapped racing and destruction. Timed trails are for beating the clock whilst using a type of boost. King of the hill is the first racer to have been in the lead for a cumulative time of 50 seconds. Lapped racing is just your regular 3 laps completion of a course, making sure that you come in first. Destruction is probably the most fun of the modes, in which if you fall behind the pack, you get squashed by the gigantic steamroller that there’s no escape from, otherwise it’s down to your opponents to try to send you off the track. Whoever who can see out 15 total destructions of their opponents, wins. One tactic for most of these races is just to stay behind until the end, as otherwise when you’re in the lead, you tend to get pelted by weapons left, right and center. So no matter your skills of being able to take corners, if you can’t dodge the myriad of weapons, your fantastic lead is gone. What you will find, is that there aren’t really any traps that you can lay for those behind, pushing them back and encouraging you otherwise to take the lead until it is essential. There is the ability to fire your weapons backwards if you happen to spin round and face them, but that can slow you right down and just isn’t that feasible.

When you complete a race and depending on the position you come in, as well as whether you completed any additional challenges, you are rewarded with cups, medals and points. Cups go towards unlocking upcoming courses. You can gain more cups from a level by completing the additional challenges set out, usually acquiring above a certain amount of points or killing opponents a certain number of times, which can prove to be quite hard and will test your skills. Once you’ve acquired enough cups though to unlock the final boss event, any additional cups gained don’t really go towards anything but bragging rights apart from the fact that no one would have a clue what you would be going on about due to a public lack of awareness about the game. Next you have medals, these are awarded depending upon certain actions performed during races. They will award you additional points when acquired, and the names of the medals are based on gaming tropes such as ‘360 no scope’ and ‘Do a barrel roll’. Finally, points from courses accumulate to give you an overall rank in a world leaderboard. Only a high score from each course is taken, additional retries do not add up unless that happened to be a high score attempt, as I found out the hard way thinking my hard work was paying off. I managed to get a rank just above 2500 which I was happy with. Throughout the duration of the game and I think it’s based on cups earned, you will unlock additional characters to use in races.

Multiplayer appears to be semi-dead, which isn’t much of a surprise for an old game on an old console. Usually I couldn’t find anyone online the few times I tried, though there was a couple of people I finally managed to find in a single lobby. Online players weren’t anymore difficult than racing against the AI in the game, which I actually find the programmers did a good job of, making sure they utilised the track and weapons spot on. I didn’t have the opportunity to play local multiplayer, but I’m sure the game is fine for that considering the camera keeps everyone on screen at the same time, and they probably would be a massive help against the boss.

The graphics in the games are ok. No dips in frames and the vehicles looked cool. The tracks were a bit boring and repetitive, as mentioned usually just a few bends and straights. Not much for obstacles but for ramps and potholes. More environmental hazards would have been good to see. I would have liked an option to have been able to race from first person perspective, just to see the carnage up close. You definitely can’t use your peripheral vision whilst racing in this. You have to remain focused on the race at all times and not look away at perhaps a stream or even the hud, as it is easy to lose location of your vehicle due to how the camera moves around and due to the pile ups, otherwise you will drive your vehicle off the track before you have time to recover.

The game does deserve credit for the control system. Easy to learn, but difficult to master. It only requires the use of a single joystick and two buttons. The joystick you point in the direction of travel, a button for boost and a button for weapon usage. When you do throw in the carnage of the races though and it becomes difficult to keep control of your vehicle on the track as well as lining up your shots against enemies, again taking into consideration how the camera works in this game as it keeps all players onscreen, which then depends on the location of the first and last player, which if one of them goes off track, the camera then suddenly shifts to the new race leader and loser.

The boss fight at the end of the game is pretty much the biggest challenge this game has to offer. Now trying to acquire all 5 cups on a course did require a few retries, but atleast they still remained fun each time I attempted them. The boss fight on the other hand, is you up against a tank of a vehicle, having to first remove all 3 armour segments before being able to deplete its health bar using rockets and machine gun fire. The thing is, throughout this you’re having to dodge attacks from the vehicle. It’s too easy to get hit and sent flying off the track, which then means you’ve got to start the boss battle from the beginning again with the boss having full health. It didn’t really take long to beat him, but just a bit of a boring culmination for the game which to that point had been alright. I also didn’t get why my racing opponents didn’t help out in this battle if apparently this boss threatened us all, but whatevs.

If you received the game for free as I did from the Playstation plus bundle, then by all means give it a go if you’ve got not much else on. It’s certainly worth a go with plenty of entertainment value. I imagine it’s definitely much more of a laugh being able to play with mates and constantly targeting each other, which is why I’ll atleast keep the game on the PS3/PS4 if such a day comes. Otherwise, if you are looking for a racing game that is full of carnage on the PS3 system by chance, then I would recommend acquiring a game from the Motorstorm series. That’s some first person racing that’s gonna have you on the edge of your seat.

*Again, I really do need to start doing my homework and do a quick google search on games before I start typing my reviews rather than after, as a search has pulled up that the game is actually also available on Oculus Rift, which allows you to take control of the camera and view from anywhere above the track, essentially providing some form of third/first person perspective of the carnage. Now I don’t own an Oculus myself, but the option is out there for those that do, and based on the reviews I’ve read, it seems to be quite a fun game for the Oculus, so by all means give it a go.


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