machofantastico's Pure (Xbox 360) review



When you think of mindless racing fun, ATV's might not be the first form of vehicle to come to your head. But they prove to be more then just a bit of fun in Disney Interactive Studios and Black Rock Studios newest ATV title PURE hitting XBOX 360, PS3 and PC. The best way to describe PURE is to do a little maths, think the classic SSX Tricky meets ATV's and you have PURE. But that's not to say PURE doesn't have any depth of interest, it's ATV Building system can be surprisingly in depth and can defiantly help you feel more involved in the actual ATV sport on offer in PURE. A smart challenging trick system and some great tracks help PURE to become one of the best trick based games since.... well SSX Tricky.

Of course there as been ATV racers around in the gaming world for a good while now, so from just simply taking a look at a single screenshot it's a fair guess to wonder what's exactly new here or what makes PURE any different from past ATV based sport racing titles. Well to put it plainly, PURE doesn't look to be realistic. In fact it does a great deal to move away from the more realistic roots of the actual ATV sport by offering insane tricks, mad jumps and pure arcade styled fun. PURE isn't a simulation of the sport, if your looking for your realistic ATV fix then look elsewhere, though if your after some trick based addictive arcade fun then you can't go wrong with PURE. EA's SSX Tricky was a great game that PURE clearly learns lessons from, for those that experienced that title you'll know that it was a very newbie friendly game to those unfamiliar with the sport of snowboarding. It simplified things but also had an hidden depth in it's tricks that kept you coming back to play again and again, this is very much the case for PURE. I guess it also helps that the game looks fantastic and runs even better, even with the 16 racers racing at any one time on the many tracks avaliable. 


At the heart of PURE is it's trick system, it's not required to much in the early race, sprint and freestyle stages of the World Tour but you'll have to master it and get every drop from it at the later much differcult levels in the game to be sucessful. Thankfully the trick system is fantastic and a hell of a lot of fun to both mess around with or even master. Before a trick can be performed though you'll need to preload, which simply put is a form of jump that allows you to get better air for you to perform your trick. To preload you have to flick your left analog stick back then forward at a jump. Then you'll be shot up into the air for you to then get tricky with the 70 tricks found in PURE. To pertorm tricks you simply click one of the three requested buttons (they being A, B and Y) and one of the eight directions on your left analog stick to perform your trick. This system allows for a much greater variety of tricks to perform. From the very simple to the absolute unrealistic mad tricks which are stunning to see and again reminds you have much PURE can feel like SSX Tricky. At first you can only use simple tricks with the A button but you'll soon fill up your juice bar and perform better tricks with the B button and then eventually the Y button with each level the tricks geting more insane. You can also perform a 'Special Trick' which changes depending on which rider you are using. These tricks are often insane and more then often require you to do them on the tracks biggest jumps but I was able to perform three special trick moves using a specially build Trickster ATV using the ATV Building system found in PURE. You perform special tricks by pressing both back bumper buttons at the same time.
The trick system on offer in PURE is great, but what's also a nice addition is the fact that the game will punish you for using the same old tricks again and again, this feature as been seen in more recent games but it's still a feature that feels more useful in PURE then any game yet. It's simple, perform one of the same trick to many times and you'll get less juice to use as boost on your ATV. This requires you to be more varied in your ATV trick moves and opens up much of the games hidden depth. It's also nice that you honestly feel gratification at hitting those much tougher moves and eventually landing perfectly. It's a system that can indeed be very rewarding especially if you take the time to master it. It will surely be helpful when you go online.


It's quite obvious that PURE is a great looking game, it's one of the best looking games on this current generation of consoles. Now that might sound a little mad to some of you reading this, but the overall presentation of PURE is great and most important of all. It run's great which is important for a game of this nature. Be it the stunning landscapes or the fantastic moments at the start of a race when all 16 ATV Rider's jump the first big jump and do their tricks, PURE looks great over the whole experience. Much like Motorstorm, the game also features a varied track deformation effect such as tire tracks through mud, dirt or dust. The deformation isn't as deep or impacting as the one found in Motorstorm, it won't affect your ATV's handling to much or cause any serious driving problems, but mud is still mud and you'lll see your ATV slide against the mud in quite impressive style. What's also nice is that mud will splatter upon your rider's cloths and ATV and will stay there all throughout the actual race.

PURE features a large number of different surfaces that will offer different driving issues and offer different interesting graphical affects. For example the white dust is easy enough to drive but leaves a white powder over your rider and ATV, there small but great details that help PURE come alive. But PURE is more arcade based then anything so it's clear Black Rock didn't want to make the games many varied surfaces have a huge affect on the actual gameplay. But it's small details like that, that I often notice and enjoy seeing in the newest generation of Video games. So it's nice to see this in PURE.


Another great hidden depth to PURE is in it's ATV Garage mode which allows you to build a great number of personally customized ATV's for your own use both offline and online. The garage mode might seem like a poor add-on at first sight but as you play along you'll realise you'll have to mess around with your ATV's to get the best ATV to win that freestyle or race stage you just can't seem to win. ATV's will either come in two main forms. Race or Freestyle, in Race you'll be building a vehicle around speed and handling while in Freestyle it's all about the tricks, so it's important to build an ATV that as a good engine and good suspension. You can of course to a quick build which will see the game build you a quick ATV for use rather then you spending the time to build an ATV one part at a time. But honestly spending the time to build your own means you can create the ATV to use around your best or worse abilities in PURE. For example, good at driving your ATV to the limit? then why not make sure you have the acceleration and max speed you want at the cost of the ATV's handling. Or do you find your falling off your ATV one time to many when performing tricks? then why not make sure your ATV is suited to handle the landing pressure of high flying tricks. It may sound simple but there is great depth and honest interest to be found in PURE's garage mode and with the great variation of ATV's to build. You'll defiantly be able to build a unique looking and peforming ATV for online play.

In the later stages having the right ATV becomes much more important, at first you'll build any and it'll probably do the job just fine but later on in the World tour you'll need to build an ATV around your style of play or depending on what type of mode your racing. It's best to have at least one of each race class avaliable, so have a specially made freestyle ATV or a Race ATV build around in your garage at all times. This is because despite a good few questionable odd A.I moments, the overall A.I is good and can be a real tough challenge if your not up to your game or lack the right type of ATV. But there not super humans, they will often make mistakes like yourself which sees them flying across the tracks leaving their ATV moving right into your path of direction or they might get a turning wrong and lose a place in the race. The A.I works well without being to punishing, though you will hit a wall where you'll have to start using your ATV building mind to build an ATV best suited to your abilities to beat them. This may be an area of PURE that will frustrate some, but the quick build should also do a fine job at making sure you have the ATV for the job. Though as I have already stated, sometimes it's best to build a ATV part by part around your style of play if you want the best results.


PURE features the expected offline and online modes as you'd expect with any racing game nowadays. The single player campaign is very much a case of 'haven't we seen this before' with it's Tour Mode which sees you enter different competitions which include around five stages of any of the three game modes featured in PURE. These are Race, Sprint and Freestyle. Race is as you'd expect to be honest, a race of a number of laps with the first to come through the winning flag being the winner of the race. Simple and we have seen it all before. Sprint is very much the same style of mode but based on much smaller tracks and finally freestyle, which is the most interesting of the games modes. In freestyle you perform tricks to both get a score and fuel for your ATV. You need to get the most out of your tricks and much of the skill found in freestyle is mastering the many tricks avaliable. You won't get far using the same trick again and again, you can also obtain extras usually found at jumps which will help you in these modes. These includes the ability to freeze your petrol bar and the ever useful special trick ability which allows you to perform a special trick without needing to spend the time filling up your juice bar. Freestyle is the most interesting of the modes, but can feel a little frustrating at times, especially if your ATV isn't suited for the job. 

This is also where I found my biggest critism of PURE, considering Black Rock's more arcade direction it was taking PURE compared to other ATV games they have made. It seemed odd that they only offered these three game modes when such other great modes could have been put in here and would have offered more variation in actual game modes for the tour mode. A Big Jump mode would have been nice where you would take it in turns to perform as many tricks as possible and get the best score possible in huge jumps, think Burnout's old superb crash mode but with tricks. Theres a few other modes that could have been seen here, so only having three seems disapointing but theres still a whole lot of fun to be had with these modes. Both Race and Freestyle require some track strategy as the games many tracks offer different paths for you to race down, and honestly some of the paths found on some of the tracks offer huge benefits so mastering the tracks will also be required if you want to be the best online against real players from around the world. The games variation of tracks is great and you'll definatly find your favourite, they all look great with a real sense of speed and design. 

PURE also features a very solid Online component that when you consider features 16 real players from around the world, runs better then you'd expect. In my experience of racing games I have found few games that run perfectly online and PURE is often no different. But I have also had some lag free races that have been a hell of a lot of fun. You can tell your racing against actual players rather then the games A.I as they'll sometimes race dirty or try a trick to many and crash in an honestly painful way and simply make normal human errors. All three of PURE's game modes feature online aswell with Freestyle being the most fun much like it is in the games Tour Mode. The game features time leaderboards which allows you to check your lap times and such against PURE players from around this tricky loving world of ours. The online mechanic will be a little hit or miss with some, is the lag sometimes really worth that extra real ATV riding moments? great credit goes to the games A.I which will offer you enough challenge to keep you interested in the single player component if online racing isn't your thing 

The game also features a quick race mode where you can simply select a single race mode and race on any of the tracks you have unlocked, you of course unlock these tracks through the games Tour Mode. You also unlock character costumes, ATV Parts and tricks through the games Tour Mode so it's very much the meat to the overall experience and despite it being a mode we have seen all before in games such as the classic Burnout games (before Paradise) and most of the racing games on offer today. It's still a mode that will last you a good few hours if not more depending on your skill and how much time you spend in the games Garage mode. The games surprising depth is there if you wish to use it, if not then the game allows you to get along without even making an ATV part by part despite it offering a much tougher path later along in Tour Mode. 


From my experience with PURE, I have been thinking what one feature of the game trully stand out and makes this a fantastic current generation racing title. When I though more about it, I came to the conclusion that it's all about the fun. Video Games are meant to be fun but more often these days games try to be to complex and lack the fun that games like SSX Tricky or PURE have. It's a great racing title that's worth it's purchasing price if not a simple rent from GameSwap (or GameFly fo you Yanks). You won't feel cheated by the price of PURE as it's clear that Black Rock Studios wanted to make an ATV title that would appeal not just to those who love the sport of off road ATV racing but to those who simply like trick based racing titles. It might seem limited in areas but what's to be found in PURE is fantastic and makes it one of the sleeper hits of the year so far and worthy of your hard earned cash. Even if your still unsure, rent it my friend because if your looking for that mindless fun racer you won't go far wrong with PURE.


PURE is a fantastic trick based racer. With a solid offline and online experience, it's the games hidden depth that may surprise you more then anything. A great easy to use Garage Mode makes building the best suited ATV's easy and fun with a huge amount of personal customization. Racing might be to arcade orientated for some but the trick system alone is a blast and opens up a lot of possibilities even if actual game modes can be limited with just three. It shows theres great possibility for expanse in future PURE titles and hopefully we will see the games modes expanded to offer more modes that uses the games trick system to it's upmost. Graphically PURE is  a stunning game with beautiful graphics and well designed tracks that offer a a honest to god challenge. Sound is fine even if the actual soundtrack is a little unspectacular. Online gameplay is solid despite some race lagged experience I had but I suspect there will still be a good community to enjoy this game online and the overall package is finished to a very high quality. PURE is a must have tricked based racing ATV title this year.

- Beautiful Stunning graphics.
- Smart Trick system, which is easy to get the hang off but hard to master.
- ATV Building and Garage mode offer hidden depth.

- Lack of variety in game modes (just the three).
- Six choosable characters have little bearing on the actual game, just cosmetic.
- Online experience can be a little hit or miss.

SCORE: 5 Stars out of 5.

Reviewed by Joseph Bayliss (TrueEnglishGent)
Art and Wonder!

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