Pure caters to lovers of speed and over-the-top tricks.
- The game looks amazing from the racers to the environment.
- Tricks are fun to watch, great sense of speed reminiscent to Burnout.
- Online play for up to 16 people.
- Simple control scheme that works well.
- Would have been nice with more modes.
- AI is frustrating to deal with, seems like it's based a bit with rubber-band mechanics
- World Tour Mode is a bit too short.
Gameplay can be condensed into a comparison of Burnout and SSX. Pure has a great sense of speed (similar to Burnout) with a wide variety of tricks and opportunities to pull them off (e.g. SSX Tricky, Amped 3, and so on). The controls are easy to latch onto but are diverse. Accelerating and braking work the same as in any racer using the triggers. The face buttons, except for (X) which is boost, perform tricks when applied with a direction. For instance, pull the left thumbstick up and pressing (A) will be a different trick then pulling it down and pressing (A).
As you fill your meter up more tricks are given to you. Now this is just a temporary bar, it's not an upgrade or anything. That being said, you can lose progress on your meter by crashing or failing tricks but it does not carry over to the next race anyway. Since you begin with tricks using (A), you then unlock more advanced tricks with (B) and (Y). Another set of tricks is available via tweaking any combination, such as doing a trick and holding a bumper.
When the bar is full access is gained to special tricks. These are the greatest tricks in the game obviously also being the most lengthy. Whether the special trick is your character doing a front flip on the ATV, or hanging off the rear after doing a back flip, there are at most 8 available but each character has a specific and different special.
There are 5 characters to choose from, and beating the game gets you another. They are diverse and can provide a nice change, a Japanese guy who would yell out different remarks in his native tongue being my favorite. You can switch between the characters on the fly, so the main mode isn't tied to any specific one. Which brings me to the garage, up to 10 slots to fill with customized ATVs. You'll usually have 2 for each class (speed classes being D, C, B, then A), one for races/sprints and the other for freestyles.
The back of the box boasts over 65,000 combinations and it seems like it. You have a bunch of categories from handlebars, sprockets, body types, engines, and more. A lot more. The aesthetic parts don't always affect your ATV stats, whereas parts like aforementioned engines, handlebars and brakes can change how the ATV performs greatly.
Burnout is an again mentioned comparison in how the main meat of Pure progresses. If you remember the old Burnout games, you'll usually have a couple sections each one having events. Events give you points based on your placing, up to 16 points for gold. So for instance, the first event may have a maximum of 64 points (therefore having 4 events), but you can pick and choose which events to participate in and move on when you meet the minimum requirements, the first section being 32 points to progress. You can then go back and finish up later or immediately. It continues like this for 10 sections, always having 4 to 7 events per section. This leaves maybe 5-10 hours of gameplay based on how you progress.
The event types of Pure are simple. Race is self-explanatory, Sprint is basically a faster version of Race on a smaller map, and Freestyle is point-based challenging you to do tricks and chain them together while also throwing a bunch of ramps on the map. You can play any of these online with 16 total players, but there's also a mode with no time restrictions of objectives which leaves you and your friends to ride around and do whatever.
This game looks amazing with bright and natural landscapes. The characters also look fantastic, displaying some nice animations. I had no problem with the soundtrack, but if desired there's an option to change what tracks play. All of the sounds are top-notch overall. It's a very polished game in every way.
You may ask if this game, simply put, is worth the cash or not. Well it depends on how much replayability you can milk out of the game. Other than the main mode (which is over all too fast) and associated solo ones, there's online. Can you enjoy 16-player competitive sessions for a long time? World Tour took me 2 days to complete, and wasn't too interested in the online myself.
I recommend this game as a rent before you buy, it's a fantastic game that suffers from a lack of things to participate in. Would have liked to see some challenges and more modes. If you can appreciate these games for longer periods of time then go ahead and buy it.
There is a demo on the Xbox Live Marketplace which accurately portrays the full game so give it a try if you're on the fence.