by Adam Byrne - October 2nd, 2008
Pure exudes a breath of fresh air, although the comparisons to Motorstorm are undeniably there, it holds its own - providing an accessible, fun, speed fix. The beauty of Pure is that it doesn’t overcomplicate an already perfected formula, instead the aim is to relax on some of the many realistic touches usually associated with other ATV games, and instead rely heavily on a distinct lack of braking. This blatant disregard for safety results in some unbelievable leaps across sand dunes, lakes, and random gaping holes.However, the game is much more balanced than one would be led to assume; in order to win any of the harder races, the gameplay has to be split into the obvious racing and trick-making. Every time a trick is landed your boost bar is juiced up, this in turn allows you to surge ahead for a period of time, dictated by how much the bar is filled.The boost bar itself is split into 4 different stages; initially, you’re only allowed perform tricks that have been allocated to the x button, after performing some of these, your bar will have raised enough to allow you to use the o button, after time it becomes the triangle button and eventually leads to the ultimate manoeuvre, which differs between each of the characters. Like the natural progression of things, the further you go up in the stages, the more insane the tricks become. One thing to bear in mind, however, is you can just disregard any of these moves and every time you amass any boost, you can just floor it instead. Pure manages to be quite soft on the beginners. There’s nothing too difficult about the gameplay, after all, the amount of air you gain from ramps certainly makes the majority of the tricks easy to pull off. The learning curve isn’t as steep as some of the ramps contained in the game, and ultimately it benefits from that, because it’s just immensely fun.
On the graphics side of things, Pure is sprawling with lush landscapes, an impressive draw distance, and some pretty shiny mud, an obvious essential in any ATV game! It handles well in motion, the frame rate is constant and the only real slight gripe that can be drawn is the character models, which are lacking in a some detail.The game itself has three main types, Race, Freestyle, and Sprint. Race is your bog standard event with 3 laps, Sprint is a 5 lap contest; so naturally the tracks change accordingly. Next up is Freestyle, which is basically a hectic, trick-attempting battle royale, with every player vying for space to get their tricks down.To add to the pressure, your fuel tanker is constantly going down, meaning you’ll have to collect the power-ups littered around the stage as well get the tricks coming. Contained in each of the varied tracks are multiple routes that can be taken, some of which aren’t exactly easy to see, and it’s those ones that can really turn the tide in a race.Pure’s main mode is its ‘World Tour’, this amalgamates all of the three types into a ten stage sprawl, contained in each is different stages, winning these will award you points, which will allow to progress down the line, and up the rankings. It’s all extremely well-paced, each stage contains a host of different matches to ensure that the mechanics stay fresh. Adding to the longevity is the online mode, which sports up to 16 players online; with ranked matches, and just basic races. There’s no lag, but for some reason the online lacks the spark of the single-player.While the aforementioned lack of much realism is welcomed, it does become a hindrance at times. Landing tricks in other games is usually an acute combination of timing and angle in which you land. Neither really apply in Pure. It becomes often too predictable; while Pure exceeds the barriers of Human decency on an ATV, it wouldn’t hurt to ground it a little, and maybe apply some of the gravitational laws!
The sheer scale of unlockable bits and bobs for your machine is something to be really can’t go unapplauded. Every time a race is won, new bits and bobs are unlocked, leaving you to ponder as to how you’ll fiddle with your ATV next. You’ll begin with a class D Grade, but as you progress, and the more races you win, the parts accumulated become Grades higher, resulting in the overall improvement of your class. While the process is simple, everything becomes kind of overwhelming, having to flick through hoards of upgrades becomes quite a tedious process.Pure stands its own against all the big hitters, and it comes out swinging; providing fun, accessible gameplay, great heart-pounding jumps, and a stable foundation for, hopefully a sequel. While it doesn’t push the envelope too much, it ticks all the right boxes, and is excellent for beginners. It’s pure fun, and then some.