When I first heard of Pure, I wondered if ATVs were a subject vast and interesting enough to be used singularly in a racing game. I thought not, that the game would be boring without cars, motorbikes or something else to make it more varied, but the final product has demonstrated beyond any doubt that this class of vehicles can do it pretty well by itself.
The first thing that announces the quality of the game is the Black Rock Studios logo, former Climax – a company with quite some experience in this genre, which was acquired by Disney Interactive. After a very good intro, we get in the main menu, beautifully presented with background movies and all kinds of sub-menus that open in cascades, where the choice is simple: we can play the World Tour (the basic mode), Single Event or Trial Mode, or go and play Online or in a LAN.
After a short tutorial that explains what Pure is about, why we should make tricks during the races, how to obtain nitro so that we can use it afterwards alongside with the preload, the game also offers us some video tutorials, with in-depth details about controlling the vehicles.
The minutes spent watching these tutorials are followed by the assembling of an ATV that is supposed to take us to the finish line as fast as possible. In the beginning, we can build one only for the D class (the slowest one), but afterwards we can improve it or exchange it completely for one in a superior class.
The process of assembling is extremely simple and intuitive, with 26 different components to choose from for obtaining optimum results. We start with a frame, than we continue with parts such as the engine, suspensions, wheels and brakes and ending with aesthetic ones or those that protect the driver from mud, omnipresent in the game. Unlike the components, the ATVs aren’t licensed; this may sound a bit odd, but it makes sense if we give it a thought, because an ATV that’s built from scratch by a player doesn’t really exist in the real world.
When it comes to choosing between parts in the same category we have a good selection, each with its own distinctive characteristics, but at start only a few are unlocked. The chassis and even the performance parts can be painted in any color we want, and on the pure esthetic parts we can also apply vinyls. This wide choice of ATVs also sustains the multiplayer, because we can build ATVs that are quite different from those of the competition, resulting into a feeling of uniqueness amongst our competitors.
The races are split into three categories: freestyle, classics and sprint. The freestyle ones are by far the most entertaining and require more attention than the other two. They also give us the best parts if we manage to win. An important aspect is the fact that the ATVs can be built from scratch keeping in mind the type of race that they are intended to win, so we can specialize them.
Regarding the bonuses from creating a race specific ATV, we can assemble one that’s good for all, but the recommendation is to have one for each race type, especially because the parts, once unlocked in World Tour, don’t cost you a dime.
In freestyle, tricks trump all and the parts that give you a bonus or a power-up during the race are going to be a big help. Because in a Freestyle race, it’s the score that counts, not who crosses the finish line first. At the polar opposite are the speed races, where acceleration and top speed come first.
If we tackle a sprint event, in which the handling makes the difference, there’s no need for a personalized ATV, one for speed races makes a good stand in these races as well. It is worth mentioning that lazy players can always opt to automatically build an ATV for the desired race type.
Once the ATV is assembled, we can choose from 12 locations around the globe, such as Thailand, Italy, New Zeeland or California, which are varied enough to keep us interested. At the beginning of each race, an introduction movie presents the most impressive environment elements or man-made structures that are to be seen in that level.
The courses are extreme, worthy of such a sport, off-road in all its grace. Every circuit has a lot of shortcuts, so the player is invited to find them out and see for himself if they are worth the effort, the design being very good regarding this aspect. So if we wanted to see how a map of the race would look like, we couldn’t even imagine it.
The minimap is not present and this may look like a disadvantage, but in this case, considering the winding of the levels, its utility could be doubtful. So wandering around the map is interesting, letting us use whatever routes to achieve our goal, getting across the finish line. Preferably in first place. The only drawback here is that there could have been more races. Not because the game has a smaller number, but because more is not a bad thing, especially for such a title.