I have to admit that PURE wasn’t on my radar until recently, since I figured it was just going to be another ATV, motocross, extreme sports racing game. It was also being published by Disney Interactive Studios, which doesn’t have a big track record for racing games, and developed by Black Rock Studio that didn’t ring a bell. But after I got PURE and started playing it and did a little research I realized that Black Rock Studio was formerly known as Climax Racing. If Climax Racing doesn’t sound familiar then maybe games like MotoGP ‘07, ATV Offroad Fury 4, and Rally Fusion will and these should peak your interest in PURE. Black Rock Studio developed the previously mentioned games and others in the series, so they have the background and experience to make a very good ATV racing game and that is what they did with PURE.
PURE is all about extreme ATV racing at high speeds with huge jumps and extreme stunts. You start the game by picking a rider to use and then create an ATV from scratch choosing the tires, wheels, frame, handelbars, handgrips, seat, color scheme, and more. PURE has a ton of customization options for your ATV that will appeal to anyone that likes the ability to customize things in games. If you don’t want to create a bike then you can have the game make one for you so you can get right to the racing. As you race through the game you will earn more customization options and upgrades to your current parts to increase the performance of the bike.
Performance will be needed out of your bike while you take on all the different tracks in PURE. The tracks are of different lengths depending on the style of the event you are competing in. There are Race, Sprint, and Freestyle events and depending on which you choose they will have longer or shorter tracks with more or less jumps. The Sprint events are usually on shorter tracks with only a couple of jumps in them to get boost from performing tricks, but they are mostly about speed and taking the turns correctly.
Race events have a nice mix of jumps, flat regions, and turns to keep you busy. You will need to hit the jumps and perform tricks while in the air to gain boost that will help you stay in the lead or catch up if you fall behind. But, you need to decide when to use your boost and when to keep it to perform more extreme tricks. The more extreme the tricks the more boost you get, but as you use the boost you lose access to the more extreme tricks. This adds a layer of strategy to PURE that makes you keep a proper balance between tricks and boost that should keep you thinking.
The Freestyle events in PURE have long tracks with lots of jumps and places to perform tricks. Freestyle also has you trying to pick up icons for bonus multipliers, more fuel, access to special tricks instantly, and boost. In Freestyle you ride around the track trying to score the most points by performing tricks before you run out of gas. You can gain more fuel by running over the fuel icons or performing tricks. Being in 1st or last place in the Freestyle events doesn’t matter, since it is all about the freestyle points.
All of the locations in PURE look amazing and the tracks have a variety of jumps and turns to choose from and different paths to take. None of the paths seem better or worse, it is just up to you to choose which path you like to take through the track, but be on the lookout for shortcuts.
I can’t say enough good things about the graphics in PURE. It truly is one of the best looking games I have seen on the next-generation systems. Once again, I am not surprised by this since the MotoGP series developed by Black Rock Studio has always looked amazing. The character animation is great as your biker races around the track leaning left and right and performing tricks. The ATVs are also highly detailed and look like real bikes racing on the track and the riders sit on the bikes and fly off when they wreck just like you would expect. The environments are also great to look at while racing and feature blowing leaves, dust, splashing water, and more. The backgrounds and distance of sight are well done and make you feel like you are in the huge outdoor environment.
The outdoors in PURE get a little noisy when 16 ATVs hit the track in offline and online racing. The ATV motor sounds revving at the starting line and as they blast around the track sound as expect and add to the realism of the game. Your rider will also say different phrases as you do well on the track which adds to the fun. PURE’s music is a mix of alternative rock songs that I enjoyed and I think they fit the style of the game. The full list of bands and songs featured in the game can be found under our PURE Soundtrack Announced by Disney Interactive Studios news. I feel that the music will probably appeal to fans of the game’s genre and ATV racing fans in general.
PURE also controls just as well as it looks and sounds. Pulling off the stunts and making all the turns and jumps is challenging but not so challenging that it becomes frustrating like in some games. The game is also forgiving in that if you go the wrong way or crash it puts you back on the track quickly. The turns can usually be made without letting off the throttle and this gives the game more of an arcade and fun style that if it was more realistic and made you brake in every corner. PURE looks and feels realistic in a lot of ways, but the huge jumps and tricks you are able to pull off push the game beyond realism and into an awesome state.
Online play in the game worked well and you are able to participate in the same events online as offline. I noticed a little bit of lag a few times during a few of the races, but nothing that ruined the experience. Maybe it was my connection or the connection of the people I was racing against. The only glitch I noticed about the online play was that every time I tried to view the leaderboards my system would just sit there and never display anything. Hopefully they will fix this problem or maybe it was my connection the nights I tried it, but it was kind of annoying. The only way to get out of it was to turn my Xbox 360 off and back on again.
PURE is a great game that lets you experience extreme ATV racing that is challenging and strategic, but also fun and forgiving. The boost and trick balance keeps you thinking while blasting around the tracks and the bike customization should keep the people that like to tweak their bike setups busy. The game also has a decent amount of tracks and challenges, plus online play to keep you busy. The only minor issues I have with the game are that tracks start to look the same, since a lot of them have a lot of shades of green and brown in them, but I guess that is to be expected in a ATV racing game. Also, PURE gives you a decent amount of background story about the riders you can choose from, but doesn’t really elaborate on their story beyond that. It would’ve been cool if they had cut scenes with more story revealed as you progressed through the game. Maybe that will come in PURE 2, but for now you will just have to rely on your desire to win and unlock more bike parts, rider outfits, and tracks to keep you going. But, don’t get me wrong, PURE is a great game and definitely worth adding to your Xbox 360 collection if you enjoy racing and extreme sports games.
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