'Black Rock Studios' comes off the starting line with an impressive off-road racer titled 'Pure.' Published by the unlikely 'Disney Interactive,' 'Pure' makes a statement showing that the genre of ATV off-road racing can still fling dirt. This one is for all the racers who have ever enjoyed the adrenaline and unpredictability of off-road racing.
It shouldn’t be much of a surprise that the development team Black Rock Studios could pump out an off-racing game at this high level of quality. Black Rock, formerly Climax Racing are the talented minds behind a number of racing games including MotoGP, ATV Off-road Fury and Rally Fusion. Black Rock certainly has the chops and it shows because Pure is one of the best ATV racing games ever released. Uh huh, it's that good.
The best aspect about Pure is its pure ability to make the gamer feel like they are in the middle of a high-speed quad bike race in some of the craziest, yet realistic courses on the planet. The pacing of the game is keep at a quickened pace with a lot of breakneck corners and high mounds of dirt to jump off of. This is ATV racing at its finest. Sure, there are some issues that can be expanded on, but for a sophomoric effort Pure is more than we expected. ATV games have been getting a little stale as of late, so Pure feels like a breath of fresh. The strange part of all this is that Pure pulls all this off without being too innovative, it just feels right.
Set up your gears
Starting up a new game in Pure prompts you pick on of the generically supplied riders and then fast pans into an ATV assembly line in order for you to create your very own custom racer. Pure has a clean cut look that has become trendy in racing games as of late which keeps things look professional and smart. Pure takes the stereotypical redneck racing off ATV’s and throws it out the window, not that redneck racing is a bad thing... it’s one of those been there, done that scenarios. During the production of your racer you will compile you ATV from ground up with a 24 customizable options available. Nothing has been overlooked as Pure approaches the sport empowering the gamer a hands-on knowledge of how to build an ATV.
The clean cut imagery of the menu system comes into contrast with the dirty worlds created for Pure. Although the worlds are basically exaggerated dirt trails, they look amazing in HD on the PS3 and Xbox 360. Black Rock has done an excellent job boosting up the visual quality of Pure making it the most beautiful ATV racer in the market. Inspired by real life terrain you will blast over desert dunes, through rivers and along mountain edges. Each track has their own distinct feel with multiple paths to explore. What makes the graphics stand out aside from the excellent level design is the touch of detail that seems to flow through ever mile of the game. Plus, Pure is sharp, really sharp. This is a great game to show off your new entertainment set up or impress friends who still down own a newer console. Keeping this all intact is a rock solid framerate that is solid without too many slight slips.
From the main menu most gamers will head straight into the World Tour mode. This starts your ATV racing career off in a series of races broken down into different tiered races with three categories (racing, tricking, and freestyle). As you progress the difficulty excels and makes you pull of all your tricks to land that first wheel over the finishing line. As you start putting one’s in your win column new parts and vehicle slots will become available so you can customize more bikes and have a few options before you start you next race. The game might present itself like a simulation styled game, but Pure is nothing more than a sensible arcade racer. Things aren’t too over exaggerated making the game has an authentic feel to its arcade nature.
In the race
The racing mechanics are simple to get and if you can pass the tutorial level then you be fine for the rest of the game. Turning, jump positing, boosting and stunts are all addressed and easy for most gamers to grasp the first time around. Pulling off successful jumps gives you boost that is filled up on a meter. As you boost builds you have access to more and more stunts as the boost rises. The boost does more than fills you stunt meter, it can also be used to give your ATV a wild boost of speed. Using this is a balancing act during the game. Speed is important but so is saving enough to be able to make a comeback if you slip in your standing. Races are usually all under five minutes which also makes Pure a great game to pick and put down at your leisure.
The Soundtrack in Pure is a mixture of interesting artists that help keep the adrenaline pumping. A few artists in Pure are Wolfmother, Jeff Beck, DJ Hyper, My Luminaries and Silvertone. In total Pure only has 25 listed tracks, so listen to your own playlist is a must in long sittings. The audio also features a few overdubs that fit each custom racers personality; however these are slimmed down to unimportant one liners. The real picker comes down to the engine and terrain sounds which sound excellent cranked up on your system. I’m not sure how detailed Black Rock took the development of capturing the right sounds for each engine, but it sounds just right. Along with the excellent graphics, gameplay, and sound, Pure measures up to one hell of a ride.
I have built Pure up to be one perfect little gem of gaming, well in certain ways it is, however Pure isn’t totally perfect. Pure suffers from a few minor repetitive issues along with a limited amount of tricks and no replay feature. These are minor issues that cam be addressed of there are plans of making a second offering (or via a patch). Moreso, the online mode could use more unique options. Racing online is good and fun, but it can’t compare to some other racers who have excelled their online presence like Forza, or the late-great Project Gotham Racing.
Pure is an adrenaline shot in a box, a quick paced action packed racer with streamlined gameplay and excellent production values. This is the perfect game to pick up if you have been looking for a decent, fast paced off-road racer. Even though Pure only features the four-wheeled quad they pack in one hell of a ride. You can forget about the ATV games of the past, Pure is the new standard in off-road quad racing.
Reviewed by Downtown Jimmy | 10.27.08