PURE (PC, Xbox 360) Review

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

Multiplayer and Graphics

Multiplayer in PURE is as straightforward as the events you'll experience in the campaign, offering players a choice between the three available types of events. In addition, the game also has a free ride mode for those who'd rather just tool around and maybe check out their friends' ATVs with no winner or loser tagged. In this mode, players may simply check out stats that show things like who made the highest jump or the most impressive trick.

During my time with the PC and Xbox 360 versions of PURE, I was able to check out all of the available online modes and I am happy to report that the game performed flawlessly with absolutely no lag or graphical glitches experienced on either platform. While I can't promise a bug-free experience for everyone, I think it's fair to note that there were multiple instances where the conversations between players centered on how well the game performed during online play. Since the game is fairly new, I was not able to apply my criticism to an online match with the maximum sixteen players the game touts. However, I did experience as many as twelve racers on both platforms and the same smoothness in PURE's multiplayer modes applies to both. Sadly, online play is limited to one player with no split-screen option for online or local play. A fifth or sixth event type or multiplayer mode would have increased the game's already high replay value, but what's here is indeed satisfying.

Graphically, PURE is simply a gorgeous game. The environments you'll race though are vividly detailed with blooms of light and eye-catching structures throughout. On the PC front, PURE is hardly a game that will put today's upper-midrange graphics cards to the test. Equipped with a single 8800GT, an overclocked Core 2 Duo, and plenty of memory, my machine achieved an unwavering 60 FPS throughout most of the game. Whenever my GPU did take a hit, the effect was minimal with frame rates only falling to (at worst) 56 FPS. Even on its highest settings, similar results were achieved with a 6800 GT, suggesting great performance even on midrange machines. (Granted, 6800 GT doesn't support DX10 effects, but it still looked good and ran very well, which was rather surprising.)

While the PC version may have the upper hand in performance and graphical quality, the gap between it and the Xbox 360 version of PURE is not enormous by any stretch of the imagination. In fact, aside from the 360's signature blur effects, there isn't a whole lot separating the two save for the obvious difference in frame rates. Even though an interview with one of Black Rock's finest stated that the target frame rate for the console versions was 30, I am inclined to believe that the goal was exceeded. In the end, you've got an excellent performing game that looks and performs great on both consoles and PC. While I was not able to try out the PlayStation 3 version of PURE, I figured the deal breaker would be its online performance over the PlayStation Network, which is known for having its issues. However, the buzz seems to be pretty positive among the gamers who participate in the forums at PlayStation.com.

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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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