Developer: Black Rock Studios
Release Date: 9/23/2008
Also Available On
The Good: Beautiful graphics, realistic physics, cool and robust trick system, deep ATV customization, fun event types, fast sense of speed
The Bad: AI is painfully difficult to beat, only 3 event types, no rider customization, gets old after awhile
When I saw the Pure demo on XBLM I just blew it off. After seeing how people were having so much fun with the game I downloaded the demo and boy was I in for a treat! The game was super fast, super easy to play, and super beautiful! One thing I just have to say is that I was surprised at how great the game looked. The game is truly next-gen with beautiful open soaring vistas, crisp blue lakes and waterfalls. Free flowing grass, flowers, and weeds. Mud that really stick to your ride and makes you feel like you’re slipping around in mud. The game is just so beautiful to look at especially when you’re going 120 mph over 200 foot jumps off cliffs! Yeah this game is all about tricks, speed, and pure awesomeness (maybe this is why they just named it Pure so you can fill in the rest?) the game really feels fast, but the tracks are open and big enough for you to slip and slide around in without feeling cramped.
The name of the game is all about building your ride and doing tricks (ok the name is actually Pure, but work with me!) When you start out you can build your ride from scratch, and I mean straight from the frame and you add shocks, tires, drums, brakes, the body, foot rests, the whole nine yards. You can even change what your hand bars look like, the color, decals, I mean customizing your ride is insanely detailed and nothing like this has been done in an ATV game before. Of course you can pick your characters as well, but there’s not customization in that and I thought that was pretty lame since you look at your character more than your ride anyways. You can unlock new parts and upgrades for your ATV as you win races (yes 1st place on every event or you don’t get the good stuff). There are plenty of parts and you slowly get better and better upgrades to keep up with the competition so there are no worries on that part and as you unlock more ATV slots you can just make endless different types of ATVs.
You’re probably wondering what it’s like to actually race right? Well that’s the best part! You preload your jumps like in all ATV racing games and you press the right stick in any direction plus one of the face buttons to do a trick. Ok it’s a lot more involved then that and there is a unique twist to all of this here. The trick system is integrated into the boost system so you can spend your boost with the X button as normal OR you can save it and unlock new buttons to perform new tricks with as your bar fills up. Get it half way up and you get the B button which lets you do intermediate tricks and these take longer to pull of than the A button tricks. Get your bar almost all the way up and you unlock the Y button tricks and these are the cooler more advanced tricks that take the longest. Get your bar ALL the way up and you get a special trick bonus and you can perform a special trick by pressing the right stick in any direction plus pressing the RB+LB buttons. This takes a good 4-5 seconds to pull off so only do this on the SUPER high jumps! But wait there’s more!
You just can’t keep pulling off the same trick over and over since there is a rating system. Every time you do a new trick you’ll get a “Fresh!” star next to the name of the trick; do it again and you get a silver “Tame!” star, and three times you get a bronze “Stale!” star. Tame stars give you a tiny bit of boost and Stale stars don’t give you any boosts. Link tricks together and you can get major boost…umm boosts and you can quickly unlock the other buttons. Wait there’s more though! You can also tweak your tricks by pressing either the LB or RB buttons; while these take longer to perform they give you an extra boost.
Tricks also have different effects in different race types. There are only three types, but they are very fun: Race, Sprint, and Freestyle. The Race event is what I was just talking about, so you race three laps and you have multiple branches throughout the track that you can take to cut off the other racers and hopefully gain a lead. These are a must learn since there is a strategy to winning each track. Sprint is 5 laps of a 25-40 second track that maybe has 2-3 small jumps on it so you must nail these to get your boost! Freestyle is probably the most robust event where you have a “gas gauge” and you have to get the highest score before your gas runs out. Linking tricks together give you a multiplier timer and picking up pick-ups along the way can help this. Some range from freezing your gas for a few seconds, some give you an automatic special trick, some double your score, some give you boost etc. The Freestyle event is always fun and the gas tank meter keeps you on your feet.
Now all of this is fine and dandy, but the game does have some flaws. The AI can be very hard and frustrating since no matter how well you race you can never make 1st. I had to start races over dozens of times to nail first place and you have to memorize the track and drive flawlessly to get first place. Like I mentioned you can’t customize your character, there are only 3 event types so this makes multiplayer kind of drab. The game also starts to feel very old and repetitive after awhile since there are so many tricks to pull off and the game is just the same over and over again. Still though you’ll have lots of fun with this game and I hope the sequel provides more Pure awesomeness.