There once was a development studio called Climax Brighton, they made games like ATV Off-Road Fury 3 (not one and two), then Disney came along with their better mouse trap and now they are called Blackrock Studios. None the less, Blackrock, or the team rather, has a descent past reputation of building descent off-road titles.
When I first received the demo of Pure back in August, I was a little hesitant on writing a preview. Why? Because these racing titles tend to be, hit and miss, especially in the online racing department. Luckily for Pure, I immediately was attracted to the game. But, the better part of my conscious told me to wait and see what lies ahead with the rest of the game. The online multiplayer, the career mode, handling, etc these were crucial questions that I really needed answered before going bananas over this game.
Then finally the final retail version showed up on my doorstep, I have to admit I was excited. Since, the last off-road title I played was MX vs. ATV Untamed. (see our review)
First off, keep in mind Pure doesnt have free roaming environments like MX vs. ATV Untamed and the ATV Off-Road series, its more of a linear type racer such as Forza, or Outrun. Dont get me wrong, you can take alternate routes on the numerous tracks, but the wide spectrum of free ride just isnt there.
You start the game off in the World Tour, which is basically the career portion of the game. Each series has anywhere from four to seven events within a total of ten series. Within those series you get to choose between the different types, such as Races, Sprint and Freestyle events. After you choose a rider, this part is essentially what type of riding attitude you want and rider model. There is no real different between the various riders, as far as abilities and skills.
Here comes the fun part, building your bike. If you hold the Y button, it will auto construct a random ATV for you. This is nice and fast if you want to get a jump start on the game. As you progress in the game, youll be able swap out various parts on your ATV to make it handle better or go faster. Depending on the amount of patience you have, this can get tedious. But, fortunately this part is not as in depth as Forza 2, where you start to split hairs. Pure, is meant to be fast and arcade-like. You start by fitting your ride with a D class motor, these puppies are SLOW, but the more you play the better upgrades you get, sound familiar?
As I played though the game I quickly discovered on some tracks (like 5%) it was feast or famine. What I mean by this isif you are pulling tricks when you are suppose to and were close to winning a race, you probably are going to place in the top three positions. If you are losing, and crashed a lot, or got hung up on a rock you might as well start the race over, theres a very slim chance of catching up and winning the, this was more apparent on the Sprint tracks. Thus leaving you in sixteenth place and that doesnt cut the mustard.
I found the racing and freestyle portion of Pure were the most fun overall. With Sprint there was just too much too fast. If you messed up, once...it was famine. I imagine online its a lot more fun, but in single player against the AI, it needs to be looked at closer by the devs.
Where the game really comes alive is online. Pure is able to pull off an awesome sixteen player Xbox Live experience and it didnt hiccup once! This is the first online off-road title that Ive seen support that many racers on the starting line. Blackrock Studios has essentially captured what its like to race against a lot of people online, the only pet peeve I had with it was that everyone didnt start in a straight line together, ATVs are scattered all over the place on the start. An interesting thing to point out is that, if someone decides to drop out of the race it doesnt ruin the race for everyone else.
Like in all games, there are flaws. The large flaw in Pure is the AI. There were several occasions where wed all sixteen of us would take a jump and theyd bump me off the track in mid air, or land on me. Or simply drive me off the sides. Other times, the AI would cut me off like they had eyes in the back on their heads. Come on guys.
Graphically, Pure looks simply amazing. The graphics are not only beautiful, but they run at an extremely high frame rate. The attention to detail is awesome; the mud splashes on the ATV look great! On a personal level I wish you could deck out your guy in some real racing gear, from what I was able to tellyou were stuck with the back-woods redneck look permanently. With the exception of a few un-lockable costumes as you progress through the game.
The music in Pure is pretty good, seems to fit the style of game that it is. But, the ATV sounds just arent there, Im not sure what they are riding there at Blackrock Studios. Pure is not the only game that suffers from the same problem, MX vs. ATV Untamed had out of control revving sounds. Personally, I dont know if there is a fix for these type of issues, but I know that todays consoles have enough horse power to deliver a realistic ATV or motocross bike sound. Unfortunately, the ATV sounds like a lawn mower.
Ive played numerous Off-road titles, from Motocross Madness to 98% of off-road on the market today. Looking past the various flaws of the game Overall, I highly recommend Pure. Its a pile of fun online against some friends.