Disney Interactive and Black Rock Studios have teamed up to bring us PURE. An over-the-top off-road quad-biking trick-racing experience. There's not many titles like this on our next-generation consoles, so I wasn't too sure what to expect. In my eyes titles of this type either flop or go onto become a success.
PURE is named after what the game is all about; PURE adrenaline, PURE vertigo and PURE exhilaration. You start your PURE single player journey in the World Tour. There isn't a storyline as such, you choose a player from a choice of 8 (each player does have slightly different tricks, but their overall performance doesn't differ), and enter into different stages. There are 10 stages for you to complete, and within each stage you can participate in up to 7 events, varying from Race, Sprint and my favourite, the Freestyle event. You need to gain a certain amount of points in each stage in order to progress onto the next stage. To gain these points you have to finish as high as possible in every event, trying to beat an impressive 15 other AI players.
Each stage also requires you to have a different engine spec for your quad, which you can either build up from scratch, or quite simple quick build the quad. According to Jason Avent, Game Director from UK developers Black Rock Studio, there are somewhere between a rather impressive sixty and seventy thousand different quad bikes combinations. Many of the parts add to your bike’s performance and change handling, trick speed, acceleration, top speed and boost abilities. You can also change the look of your bike by changing the colour, adding sponsor stickers etc.
The 24 tracks available in the game are absolutely littered with rather large and impressive dirt jumps, and this is your key to success. Time your jump well using the pre-load technique, and you will have more time in the air to perform a various number of fun and exciting tricks. The bigger tricks you pull off in the air, the more boost you get. The more boost you get, the higher and further you can jump at the next big ramp. The boost works in 2 ways. You can either use your boost to, well, give you a boost, or you can save up your boost allowing you to perform more complicated but more impressive tricks. Once you have saved up enough boost to trigger your 'special trick', it's up to you whether you try and use it or not. You need to make sure you use it on a big enough ramp though because if you crash, your boost deteriorates and you will have to build it back up again. Performing what I call the 'make me crap myself' special trick is great fun, and really intense. These special tricks are completely over the top, but they simply add to the excitement of the game. In the bigger tracks you can also choose which route to take. For example longer routes might have more jumps in them so you can use them to do tricks and build up your boost whereas the shorter routes will have fewer jumps but get you to your destination quicker. It really depends on what event you are participating in.
My favourite and the hardest to master event is the Freestyle mode. Your aim is to score as many points as possible pulling off big ass air tricks like the Superman or the Kiss of Death. Combo your tricks up, and your points will double, triple or if you're fast enough even quadruple - Pun intended.
The detail on the tracks is superb. By the end of each event your character will be splattered with dirt from the mud on the track. The scenery is also fantastic. Very picturesque and something you would see in the movies. Black Rock Studios have really put a lot of effort into this aspect of the game, and it doesn't go unnoticed.
Apart from that your single player journey is almost over. You can do time trials in any 3 gametypes, or hit the single event mode. One thing I was rather surprised to see, or not see rather, was that the inclusion of split-screen was missing. Ever since the invention of online gaming the splitscreen aspect of some games seems to have gotten the chop. This was really disappointing to see, as playing with a friend offline would have provided hours of fun. O well, I suppose I was glad that you could still have hours of fun playing online.
There is rather a lack of offline modes, which is also disappointing. As in single player you can take part in either of the 3 gametypes in Ranked or Unranked matches. It would have been even better if they had included some sort of free-roam mode, in which you could go anywhere you wanted on the map. The fun online begins straight away though as you can play with up to 15 other players, and the best bit, absolutely no lag or slowdown whatsoever. It's a perfect smooth dirty experience that is mega fun. Watching 16 quads fly jump over a massive ramp, with each driver using different tricks, is amazing to watch. It's just a shame that a lot of the online players seem to be a lot better than me. Better keep practicing I guess.
Overall PURE is a breath of fresh air. A lot of games these days are trying to be way too realistic, and they forget about the fun aspect of a game. PURE accelerates in this department, and I will personally give someone £20 if they can find someone who hasn't found PURE a fun game to play - I won't really, but you get the jist. Although PURE doesn't have a deep Forza-like single player mode, it's definitely worth a purchase, especially as you can pick the game up for reasonable cheap.