In recent years it has been stated on many occasions that as the videogames industry grows, more-and-more big players from other industries – especially other forms of electronic media – would most likely attempt to expand their presence. Warner Bros. commitment has been well documented, as has that of Google’s interest. Disney Interactive Studios, however, is a company which has quite a history building up to this, its entrance into the Current-Generation, PURE.
The pedigree under which PURE has been developed is obvious from the start, with an inventive take on the now commonplace Tutorial taking place before the player is even faced with a Menu. Five basic challenges comprise an effective introduction yet leave plenty to be discovered.
The formula for the game won’t be unfamiliar to anyone au fait with typical game conventions; racing off-road ATV’s through one of twelve locations, with large jumps providing air-time for boost-enabling tricks. However, it’s precision and detail that PURE is delivered with that make it so uniquely involving. The game moves at a lightning-quick pace and features so truly absurd tricks.
The game features three basic Event modes: Race, Sprint and Freestyle. Race and Sprint are your typical Racing game Events, with Sprint taking place on drastically shorter tracks. Freestyle, however, is undoubtedly to most original feature and most likely the games biggest draw. The player competes against fifteen opponents (as with all Events), performing as many tricks as possible under the strict limit of the Fuel Gauge. The tracks are littered with Power-Ups – from score multipliers to extra fuel – and finding the right combination of tricks, track route and Power-Up collecting can create some nail-biting last-minute runs.
Each track features multiple routes with varying inclines, and jostling for position can often be avoided by last minute decisions – for which the game allows room with some incredibly stable handling. At first, the jumps witnessed in PURE are – although remaining completely in the realm of fantasy – limited in their scope. Once progression has been made in World Tour Mode however, players are faced with the sorts of extremes featured only in the likes of ExciteTruck and the 1080˚ and SSX series.
The Trick System is perhaps the best yet seen in such a release on the Current-Generation. Completing basic tricks fills your Thrill Meter, which allows for more complicated tricks to become available. However, this same Thrill Meter also acts as your Boost Gauge, creating an intricately balanced risk/reward system; finding the player often faced with the choice between grabbing two or three places now, and gambling for a chance to head-up the pack. Filling the Thrill Meter allows for a Special Trick to be executed, and landing this trick will immediately fill your Thrill Meter once again. Much like ExciteTruck, the system and the tracks are designed in such a way that, for a heavily experienced player, once reaching that initial full Thrill Meter boosting throughout the rest of the track is highly feasible.
PURE is a game designed to be played by all. The placement of the player back onto the track after a crash is quite generous, often negating what would typically be several places lost in other similar titles. However, the penalty lies elsewhere, as a crash will reduce your Thrill Meter by a large percentage. The angle at which you land your ATV after a jump is important to your success, but far from as unforgiving as that in MX Vs. ATV Unleashed. The opportunity to build your own ATV will add depth for those wishing to utilise the feature – the array of parts available is quite simply astounding – however to most, bar the Achievement value – it will simply involve an extra trip to a Menu before each Event.
Blackrock Studio have created an attractive looking game. PURE is colourful an incredibly well drawn. The variety of locales is pleasing an each is distinctive, and while the characters themselves are quite clearly generic, none present themselves as the offensively syrupy personalities most games of this ilk seem to revel in. A fantastic adrenaline-pumping soundtrack including the likes Pendulum, Wolfmother and We Are Scientists rounds-off a neat and crisp presentation with a distinct character.
Comparisons to MotorStorm are to be expected, but PURE never aims for that territory. Disney Interactive Studios may be using PURE to step-up it’s presence in the videogames industry, but no-one could deny the game knows what makes it tick. Checking all the right boxes with a robust online feature, and creating a challenge for the Hardcore Gamer that is unexpectedly welcome, PURE proves that it can be all things ATV to all people.