PURE (PC, Xbox 360) Review

by Eddie Turner on September 29, 2008 12:00 AM EST

Gameplay Overview

As stated before, PURE is a brand new game from a development studio with a brand new name. Formerly known as Climax Racing, Black Rock's accolades include the largely popular Moto GP series as well as the ATV Offroad Fury games, which contain many of the same elements you'll see in PURE. Even so, the game makes a fair attempt to differentiate itself from the Fury series with increased speed, imaginative tracks, and jumps that take you and your ATV to new heights. Now a part of Disney Interactive Studios, Black Rock's new direction is to instill a high level of originality into their racing games. PURE exemplifies this originality and is a welcome addition to the racing genre of PC and console games.

When the game begins, players will be introduced to its core mechanics: driving/handling, boosting, preloading jumps, and pulling a few tricks. The ATVs in the game handle quite well on tracks designed in such a way that braking is almost never needed. Aside from letting off the gas on the occasional hard right or left turn, it's full speed ahead. Preloading is done by pulling back on the left analog stick of your Xbox 360 controller or pressing the corresponding key on your keyboard as you approach ramped terrain, then flipping the analog stick forward or releasing your key as you reach the top. This is the equivalent of leaning forward on your ATV and then jerking back to get the maximum amount of air once you leave the ramp. While PURE can be enjoyed using the mouse/keyboard controls, a gamepad is highly recommended in order to obtain the much needed sensitivity. Once again, the Xbox 360 controller for Windows is the gamepad of choice as its settings are mapped out perfectly on the PC version. Now let's take a quick look at the control configuration for pulling stunts.

Along with the left and right trigger buttons used for accelerating and braking comes a clever control scheme players will use while their ATVs are airborne. In the image above, you'll see the game's boost bar. When players are not focused on the action, this is what will be referred to constantly. With each successful trick pulled, the boost meter increases, allowing players to press and hold the X button for burst of super speed. The amount of boost is indicated by the blue flames as shown in the image. As the meter becomes increasingly full, access to new tricks becomes available. Each new level of tricks is represented by colored highlights that surround the silhouettes of the ATV and its rider within the bar. Conveniently, the colored highlights match the colors of the buttons on the 360 controller.

Available immediately is the first level of stunts that are limited to simple actions like your rider kicking out a leg or raising both legs above the ATV's handlebars. We'll call these Level A tricks as the A button on the controller is used to initiate them. After pulling off a few of these, your boost bar increases and unlocks Level B tricks, again coinciding with the B button on the controller. These stunts are a bit more impressive with moves that will have your rider's body above the vehicle while still grasping the grips of the handlebars. The next level of stunts, Level Y includes even more death defying moves including the rider turning flips while completely separate from the ATV. Each level of stunts allows for different tricks that are initiated by holding down the corresponding button and moving the left analog stick one of eight different directions as indicated in the image.

The action doesn't stop there though. Once your boost bar is completely full, a bright white star appears giving you access to the most insane level of tricks the game has to offer. When these stunts become available, holding down both shoulder buttons on the controller and moving the right analog stick will have your rider upside down doing the helicopter with outstretched legs spinning as you soar hundreds of virtual feet above the earth.

With jumps of all sizes on each track, the amount of hang time players will experience varies greatly. While some jumps provide just enough lift off to pull a single trick before landing, many will provide sufficient air time to pull off two or three stunts. And then there are the jumps that take your ATV over the edges monstrous ravines and deep valleys. These are the big jumps that provide enough time to eat a sandwich on the way down. Of course I'm being facetious here, but so is the ability to land an ATV after a 500 foot drop. Even so, this is where the game shines. In these instances, players should have no problems pulling off four or five-trick combos that provide a significant increase to your boost bar. Landing your ATV is also part of the game's strategy as players can adjust the pitch of their ATV in mid air, insuring a smooth landing for uninterrupted speed. This is fun stuff indeed, and we recommend checking out some of the videos on the official site for a closer look. Honestly, though, playing the game in person is a much better idea, since videos don't really convey the sense of control or timing.

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  • MonkeyPaw - Monday, September 29, 2008 - link

    Actually, it reminds me a lot of ATV2. Interesting scenes, ridiculous jumps and tricks, and even boost. If it has a "kick" feature where you can boot riders off their quads, then it sounds like it's the same game. That would be fine, since ATV2 was a blast, and this could be the graphical update for the next gen. :)
  • computerfarmer - Monday, September 29, 2008 - link

    It is nice to see a game of this type. Fun is the name of the game.
    What are the system(PC) and graphic card requirements?

    ON Board - ATI 790GX - nVidia 8300
    ATI HD-4670 / nVidia 9600GT
    ATI HD 4850 / nVidia 9800GTX
    ATI HD 4870 / nVidia GTX 260
    any of the above
  • EddieTurner - Monday, September 29, 2008 - link

    128MB DirectX 9.0c-compatible 3D video card supporting Shaders 3.0.
  • wumples - Monday, September 29, 2008 - link

    Why is there no mention of the horrendous loading times on the PC? I have a fairly decent wee PC (similar to the one posted in the article by the sounds of things) and thought the load times were abysmal. With owning a PS3 / 360 I was hoping something would be mentioned about this.
  • EddieTurner - Monday, September 29, 2008 - link

    You are indeed correct. I did notice the difference in load times. However, in my experience, the difference is pretty much a given between the two platforms. But yes, I did feel that the PC's load time were a bit lengthy. Totally worth it nonetheless.
  • unclebud - Saturday, October 4, 2008 - link

    thanks for mentioning that! its a deal breaker for me to have long load times. i HATE waiting. this is just as bad as crysis warhead having ea's securom (i returned it back to circuit city unopened). why do reviewers leave this kind of stuff out??? ugh.
  • Subzero0000 - Saturday, October 4, 2008 - link

    *Firstly, none of the editor function (Bold, https, Quote...) works on any of my browser (IE 7, Firefox 3, Opera 9, Chrome), why?

    Anyway, here is a quote from their official FAQ :
    "Why does Pure take so long to load?"
    Normal loading times for Pure average between one to two minutes. This is an acceptable load time for a 3D graphics-intensive game. In some cases, pressing the Space bar or Enter key will advance you to the main menu in less time; however, this would not be an indicator of any issue with the game or your system.

    Well, they think it is perfectly acceptable to wait for one to two minutes. You can't complain.
    It's ridiculous, even Crysis doesn't take that long.

    The FAQ link :
  • Sabrewulf6000 - Sunday, October 5, 2008 - link

    This worked for me. Based on a post at the Pure's message boards, there is a problem with this game, VSync and NVidia cards. Turn off VSync in Rivatuner or the NVidia control panel (I set up a game profile in Rivatuner) and the load time were greatly improved. Weird huh? Hope its works for ya.

  • Sabrewulf6000 - Sunday, October 5, 2008 - link

    Here's the link - http://forums.purevideogame.com/n/pfx/forum.aspx?t...">http://forums.purevideogame.com/n/pfx/f...sages&am...
  • Subzero0000 - Sunday, October 5, 2008 - link

    Thanks for the info. But it doesn't seems to improve the situation.

    Mine still takes about 30 sec to load. By the time the stage is up, my hands already cold.

    My other PC is ATI4850 though. I might try that Vsync on it later.

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