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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  • MFK - Tuesday, September 30, 2008 - link

    Hey, not to be a pain in the butt or anything. But the reviewer seems to give a lot of credit to how fun and 'different' this game is.
    But the matter of the fact is, that this game is really no different than previous ATV racing games.
    Leaning forward and then letting go to catch more air? Already been done.
    Stunts on ATVs? Over done.
    Stunts done Tony Hawks Pro Skater Style? Is there any other way to implement stunts? I mean all games involving stunts, require you to move the stick in a direction and press one of the stunt buttons.

    So I really fail to see whats so different about this game. I will honestly confess that I am not the biggest gamer out there, but this game really does feel a repeat of all the ATV games out there albeit with a graphical update.

    Hell yea its fun, but it is nothing that has not been done before. I guess that is all I wanted to say.

  • EddieTurner - Tuesday, September 30, 2008 - link

    Not being a pain in the least. I did mention those exact sentiments though. To quote the second paragraph: . . PURE's style of gameplay isn't anything we haven't seen before . .
  • Sabrewulf6000 - Monday, September 29, 2008 - link

    Aside from the menu loading times (track loading isn't bad) and the missing riders on atvs problem I had that a clean graphics driver update solved, the game runs and plays fine, no hitching or pauses for me. One thing though, is there no AA support for this game, not that its a real problem with the graphic effects they use, its not too noticeable. Has anyone tried forcing AA yet? Also, are there any DX10 graphics differences that I am missing? The game looks fabulous in DX9, just like to know if I am missing out on anything.

    Athlon64 X2 5000 BE @ 3.2Ghz|ASRock 939 Dual-Sata2 W/AM2 Board|2x1 GB GSkill DDR2-800|Gigabyte 8800GT 512MB|Corsair 750W PS|XP Pro
  • error8 - Monday, September 29, 2008 - link

    I've played it on an 8800gt and a 4870 and above the terrible loading times, there is the stutter. Every now and then, the race makes a short stop for a fraction of a second and then it plays like nothing happened. What the hell?? It just kills the racing thrill, if there was any. ;)
  • Alphafox78 - Monday, September 29, 2008 - link

    I went to buy this yesterday so that I could play with my brother. it looked really good until we looked at the back cover and noticed that its only single player unless you have xbox live. what about split screen??? you cant do it. I had to pass.
  • mmntech - Monday, September 29, 2008 - link

    Seems to me that games in general are moving away from split screen in favour of online. I know Grid, Dirt, and Motorstorm are online only. It allows for more players but it isn't exactly a social activity.

    Pure is actually a pretty decent game. I enjoyed the PS3 demo. It offers a different twist compared to most other recent racing games. The graphics are decent, the gameplay with the tricks is interesting, and the tracks are pretty original.
  • Lonyo - Monday, September 29, 2008 - link


    PURE finds its footing among off-road racing games like MotorStorm and DiRT, with trick pulling elements that are more reminiscent of snowboarding or skateboarding games like SSX or Tony Hawk respectively

    Couldn't you just say:
    "It's a bit like motocross madness but with ATV's"?
  • Xavitar - Monday, September 29, 2008 - link

    I had the same thought. Motocross Madness and Monster Truck Madness 2 were both fantastic games.
  • StevenG - Wednesday, October 1, 2008 - link

    Loved Motocross Madness and Motocross Madness 2. One of my favorite aspects of those games was the "freeride" mode where there was no track to follow, just a huge hilly outdoor area where you could go anywhere. It was a blast exploring to find new lines with jumps that had just the right size and shape and landing zone to allow pulling off big multi-trick jumps.

    Anything like that in Pure? Or are you always following some predefined track?
  • EddieTurner - Wednesday, October 1, 2008 - link

    Sadly, no. However, many of the track are fairly wide open with multiple routes to take. A game I played this week called "Baja Edge of Control" did have that true free ride mode. The game had a lot of potential but the 1990's graphics was a big turn off on the 360 and PS3. I did have some fun with it though.

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