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.