Pure” is a slick, physics-defying racer that makes up for its lack of substance by hitting all the right notes on style. This simulation of over-the-top ATV stunt racing doesn’t have a storyline or even a sustainable backdrop, but it perfectly balances pick-up-and-play accessibility with a rich feature set that will keep fans’ engines in high gear. Though “Pure” isn’t good enough to crush the competition, it does provide Disney Interactive with a fast start off the green flag in the increasingly crowded racing genre.
The Mouse House’s fast growing videogame unit acquired U.K-based Black Rock Studios (formerly known as Climax) two years ago with the express purpose of establishing a new motor sports brand with all the possibilities for TV shows, theme park rides and more. The result is “Pure,” in which Disney has decided to stand out from the season’s competitors like “Baja: Edge of Control” and “MotorStorm: Pacific Rift” by focusing less on speed than on crazy tricks like handlebar hops and back flips.
The game kicks off in a garage that lets players tear apart or put together a racing ATV in loving detail. Everything from the grips to the engine and shocks can be swapped out, tweaked and even painted in a streamlined interface that’s relatively easy to use. Those who just want to start racing can pick a premade ATV for their style, while true gearheads can not only get down and dirty, but even store several vehicles for use in different races.
Events include some focused entirely on speed, some on racking up points by performing tricks and some combinations of both. Players can compete online with up to 16 racers at a time, though the lack of split-screen for those who want to take on a friend in the same room is disappointing.
Tricks are performed via combinations of the right thumbstick and buttons that become more complex to match the insane spins and even mid-air dismounts that expert racers can perform. Well-executed tricks provide “boost” that can be used for speed bursts and to perform even more complex stunts. The need to balance the use of boost for both purposes gives “Pure” a strategic level that helps to set it apart from other racing games.
The tricks themselves are beautifully animated and, at times, so outrageous that watching them closely can result in a crash. All 12 locations are nicely rendered with jungle foliage, splattering mud, and even the occasional natural tunnel. While “Pure” forces players to stay on the track, the courses are wide enough and there are enough intertwined paths that it never feels limiting.