By the way, before you go thinking this one's coming out of left field, Pure has a pedigree worth talking about. Black Rock earned its chops in this particular area as Climax Racing, when it worked on both the MotoGP and ATV Offroad Fury series in the past. If you're into racing games you've probably heard of those.
Pure is akin to SSX and other trick-focused racers in that you spend as much time in the air, hanging from the handlebars with your legs flailing out into space, as you do running circuits on the ground. The three-tiered trick setup is pretty simple. You start out with access to only basic short tricks, which you pull by hitting the right face button and one of the four cardinal directions on the analog stick. If you stick one or more tricks and land right, you'll build up some turbo boost you can use to go faster.
But don't burn your boost as soon as you get it, because building up the first third of your boost (referred to cloyingly as the "thrill bar") will unlock the second tier of tricks, which take longer to pull off. So, naturally, you need bigger air to do them. Getting two-thirds boost will then open up tier three. The game basically makes you balance your use of boost, which you can use to hit ramps faster and get more air, with your desire to keep the better tricks available for those times you do hit the big jumps. It's a constant tug-of-war that you have to manage sensibly as you're tearing around tracks in Wyoming, California, Italy, and Thailand.
If you're a total ATV neophyte like me, preloading means bearing down on the bike's suspension just before you hit a jump, then pulling back up as you lift off to get extra hang time. The game pops up a percentage meter whenever you jump that seems to indicate how much of the potential lift you actually managed to grab. I found that meter useful for perfecting my preload timing on subsequent jumps.
Your ultimate goal in building up boost is to fully fill the thrill bar (ugh) so you can access your "special" trick. That's just a long-ass character-specific trick that you need a huge jump to complete. But if you do, you get a fully boost meter again when you land, so you could theoretically keep your boost full all the time by catching massive jumps and special-tricking like a madman.
Pure has a multiplayer mode for up to 16 people that ropes in the three main single-player modes: race (long laps that require lots of tricking), sprint (shorter laps without big jumps), and freestyle (racers compete for score while picking up trick-related power-ups). Disney showed this mode off at an event, and the 16-player action seemed to work fine over their local network. There's a fourth mode, freeride, in the multiplayer that focuses on all racers adding to their own cumulative score based on all the things they do in a race.
There's some additional depth in the trick system, but otherwise there isn't a lot more to know about how you play Pure. And I like it that way. When these sorts of games get too technical, they lose me. I'm a little concerned that the game throws an awful lot of parts and upgrades at you as you win your way through the world tour, and it doesn't seem like there's an easy way to figure out what the best parts are at a given moment. But at least the game will build you a freestyle or racing bike automatically on command.
Like I said, Pure is a damn fine-looking game, but rather than take my word for it, how about you look at this gameplay montage. I made it myself! (For a not-so-secret bonus, watch through to the end to see the clip I made while learning to cut video in the horrific iMovie. I'm kinda proud of it.)
Kotaku also brings us the game's full soundtrack list, if you feel like you haven't heard Wolfmother's "Woman" enough times yet.
- The Answer - "Into the Gutter"
- Fred Baker - "Genius Touch"
- Jeff Beck - "Grease Monkey"
- Calyx & Teebee -" Dual Processed" Featuring MC Verse
- The Datsuns - "Maximum Heartbreak" and "Sittin' Pretty"
- Diet Kong - "With Magic"
- Adam Freeland - "Spin Machine"
- The Futureheads - "Beginning of the Twist"
- DJ Hyper - "We Control"
- Midfield General - "On the Road"
- The Music - "Strength in Numbers"
- My Luminaries - "The Sound of Music"
- Noise Control - "Cities of Dreams' and 'Mud Bath"
- Pendulum - "Granite' and 'Showdown"
- Pop Levi - "Wannamama"
- Qemists - "Drop Audio' and 'Stomp Box"
- The Radishes - "Good Machine"
- Silvertone - "Try"
- The Subways - "Rock and Roll Queen"
- Tapeworm - "Getting Through"
- The Whigs - "Need You Need You"
- Zero DB - "Late in the Day' and 'Redline"
- Wolfmother - "Woman"
- We Are Scientists - "Inaction"
- Blindside - "For the Nation"