Pure Review
Xbox 360 | PS3
Pure box art
System: X360, PS3, PC Review Rating Legend
Dev: Black Rock Studios 1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid 4.0 - 4.4 = Great
Pub: Disney Interactive Studios 2.0 - 2.4 = Poor 4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy
Release: Sept. 16, 2008 2.5 - 2.9 = Average 5.0 = The Best
Players: 1-16 3.0 - 3.4 = Fair
ESRB Rating: Everyone 3.5 - 3.9 = Good
Purely Fun
by Joseph Catalanotto

Racing games have evolved a lot over the years from simple kart racers to a genre that now contains a ridiculous amount of depth and variety. Whether you favor a more realistic racing simulation or a classic, arcade-style high-speed racer, you’ll find something out there to enjoy. The newest addition to this ever-growing genre of games is Pure, a racing title that puts aside complicated driving mechanics in favor of a more straightforward, adrenaline-pumping driving sensation.

Pure screenshot

In many ways, Pure very much achieves what it set out to do. There are certainly some problems with the title, but from the moment you power-on the game, you get the sense that the developers are on a mission to impress you as much as possible. From some really breath-taking courses to huge jumps and a fantastic sense of speed, Pure feels very, well…pure.

The game’s controls are mundane and might suggest that this is just another run-of-the-mill racing game; thankfully, such is not the case. Right and left triggers control gas and brake, respectively, with the left analog stick your virtual steering wheel. You’ll pull off a variety of different tricks with the right analog stick and three of the four face buttons, with the fourth assigned to boost.

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In terms of modes, what you’ll likely be playing most by yourself is Pure’s World Tour mode, which essentially serves as the game’s career mode. You create a character, modify your vehicle, and hit the track in several varied races attempting to come out on top in the end. There are three different event types to play: Freestyle, Sprint, and Race. Each requires a different racing focus, and there’s enough variety with these three modes to feel like you’re actually playing differently each time.

Pure screenshot

These modes are spread out over a spectrum ranging from more precise (Sprint) to absolutely crazy and over-the-top (Freestyle) with Race falling in the middle as a happy balance. Race is obviously the more traditional racing game mode, but the other two also offer a lot of fun. Regardless, the point here is that Pure manages to spread out the content a bit so the focus isn’t all on one facet of racing. While the awesome air-grabbing sequences characterized by Freestyle mode are probably the most fun, you’re never pigeonholed into playing a certain type of racing game. The freedom that Pure gives you is impressive and appreciated.

That said, you will probably have most fun with Freestyle mode because it’s here that Pure’s strengths come most to light. The best time you’ll have with this game is pulling off tricks, building up your boost meter, and taking your ATV off massive death-defying jumps. Since Freestyle is all about racking up combinations of tricks and keeping the clock alive, it’s a mode that’s very conducive to the title’s central fun factor.

Pure screenshot

The tricks throughout Pure are one of the most impressive parts of this package, because they’re very cool to look at and there’s a great variety of them. You perform tricks with the right analog stick and three of the face buttons, and it’s a really simple, intuitive system. You can even modify tricks while in the air with the controller’s bumpers. Pulling off tricks fills up your boost meter, but overusing tricks nets you fewer points. As a result, you’re encouraged by the game to constantly try new things, attempting to max out your points and refill your boost as often as possible.

The game’s solid graphics also serve to bolster the experience. The tracks are varied and well-designed, and most of them are absolutely beautiful. The panorama that you’ll see when wheeling over a ridge or flying off a drop are breathtaking, and it’s certainly true that the technical accomplishments of Pure go a long way in making the races more enjoyable.

Screenshots / Images
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