I really like Blur’s Career Mode in concept. It’s designed in a way to make sure that you’re never stuck on one thing. You always have multiple races you can choose from and different goals to work towards in order to unlock the next series of races or the next rival race. Even when you lose races, you can still earn fans or new cars.
But what happens when you get stuck on every available option? This is what’s happened to me in Blur. I’m not very far into the career mode at all, but I’ve already hit the wall. Maybe more determined (or skilled) players would fight through it, but I’m going to have to disappoint Vin Diesel on this one.
What happened? For me, things started out great. I was able to finish in the top 3 on every race in the first two sets of challenges and I easily beat the first rival. It was during this time that I thought I’d finally got a grasp of the game’s driving engine and was due for smooth sailing.
Not even close. In the second set of challenges, I encountered a time attack race that was directly tied to my rival’s demands. It required me to beat the time attack with 14 seconds to spare. Over an hour later, I’d failed to even finish the challenge dozens of times over. In that span, I beat it twice, one of which was what I thought was a perfect run, was still 2 seconds short.
I figured that I could play the third set of challenges and come back to that one particular time attack challenge later. Heck, maybe I’d even unlock a better car in the third set of races that would make that particular challenge easier. I guess I’ll never know now. I was once a perennial top 3 finisher, but the difficulty in the third series of challenges ramped up dramatically. All of a sudden, I could barely crack the top 10.
The straw that broke the camel’s back happened in the third series of races. After finishing outside of the top 10 a number of times, I was way out in front in this one particular race. I was so out in front, that the game gave me bonus points for achieving ‘Total Race Domination’, which meant I was way out in front of my competition. The game awarded me these points just as I was about to take the last corner into the finish line.
To my horror, as I sped towards the finish line, nine cars flew by me out of nowhere, and I finished the race in 10th. As a player, I felt robbed. That was my race to win and the computer arbitrarily pushed half of the pack in front of my car at the very end, and there was nothing I could do to counter it. If this is how the game is going to reward me for playing the game well, then forget it.
So without the skills to overcome a particularly tough time trial or the skills to overcome a borderline unfair AI in the latest series of races, I’m screwed. I can continue to place poorly in races and build up fans, but I don’t have the skills to place high enough to unlock new events or rival races. Instead of putting myself through any more torture to overcome these obstacles, I will just walk away from this mode.
This doesn’t mean I’ll abandon the game completely. I haven’t even played it online yet, which my brother tells me is great. I will give that a spin before I drop it. It’s disappointing that the sharp rise in difficulty has basically made Career Mode unplayable for me, because it was great up until then.