Me and the racer genre have the worst relationship in history, probably worse than Tiger Woods and his wife. We constantly bicker, we have no grounded discussing and we can never seem to fit in with each other. There’s no spark between us, we’re completely different people, but yet I am still inclined to defend. I am forced to defend Gran Turismo 5, even when it has just been delayed for the ONE MILLIONTH TIME! Whenever people complain, whenever they bicker that it’ll never be released and might as well be called “Gran Turismo 5orever”, I must defend it. There’s nothing I like about Gran Turismo, I think it’s boring and for sad lonely people who wish to do unspeakable things to cars. Or they could just have a nice little interest in cars or cars or… automobiles. Everyone at Polyphony Digital is going through exactly the same thing, trying to make the best product possible and complaining will not help them along. I mentioned criticism for Gran Turismo because I want to bring up what criticism was made for Pure, and you may laugh at this next bit.
Pure was slammed for being a racing game without ‘depth’… without depth?! In the very same sentence the writer, who will go unnamed, wrote that it was a “fun, arcade racer.” How on Earth can you expect ‘depth’ from an arcade racer, that’s like expecting great change from Obama (oooh snap political joke!). It’s like expecting well written articles from Nathan Hardisty (oooh snap self-deprivation!) . It’s like repeating the same joke over and over again and expecting a laugh from the readers (ooo…oohhh… ugh). I can totally see where the writer is coming from, actual games to be more specific. He’s probably had a rich diet of big, meaty shooters and RPGs, and to be handed a copy of Pure by his editor is like giving a T-Rex a hamster to eat for the rest of his life. Some gamers are spoiled, and games journalists can sometimes be that person, they lose appreciation and a sense of fun in other genres. They expect all games to be arty and story driven, and have ‘depth’. Well, newsflash everyone, Pure isn’t deep at all… it’s just too much fun.
Pure is about fast, fun and beautiful racing. It’s not sophisticated or realistic, it’s just downright off the road fun to the end. To explain it is to explain Mathematics to a Mathematician, it is really easy to figure out. You accelerate with the right trigger, easy enough, and wiggle around the track with your left stick, durh. Since this is primarily a ATV focused game, there’s a lot of emphasis on jumps and movement, so when you come to a hill or a jump, you have to slam the left stick down and then back up again to ‘Preload’. This allows you to get bigger air and land better tricks. To perform tricks, while in the air, you move the left stick in a direction and press A/X. This fills up your juice meter, which allows you to perform styles with your tricks by holding the left or right bumper. After a certain amount of time, you can then perform tricks with the B/circle button, one in which you jump off the ATV and cling with one finger on to the back of the vehicle. You can style with any of the buttons. Once your meter fills up even more, you can pull off special tricks with the Y button, these last ages and require big air to do. All the while, this juice meter can be cashed in for juice by holding down X or Square, pushing you above those big jumps and getting huge air to pull off massive tricks. Once your boost is completely full, you can hit that huge drop and drop a special trick by holding both bumpers.
Hope you got all that, I’m not explaining it all again.
There’s really nothing sophisticated or deep in this game, it’s a completely fun and simple way to play a racer. There’s a real rush of adrenalin, as the music just stops and lets you soak in the moment, as you are drifting in the air. There’s some absurd and unrealistic tricks, but we’ve already got boost that is fuelled by pulling off dangerous stunts so we may as well go the whole hog. Simply put: Pure is fun. The studio that developed it, Black Rock Studio, also developed the ATV Offroad series, which (from what I can tell from Youtube videos) is very similar. The thing that isn’t seen there however, in the sparse clips I can find, is actual huge, outdoor tracks. There are… a lot of tracks, some of them set in the same area as another, but mixing the tracks at different start points really changes the pace of each race. Pure is constantly reinventing itself, even when you’re playing it. If you leave it and come back the next day, you’ll get your ATV handed to your on a silver plate, it’s a brutal learning curve and one which can’t be learnt in just a day. You have to manage both of your thumbs and you’ll be scrambling for a different trick.
That’s not to say Pure is hard, but it is definitely challenging. As you go along deeper and deeper into the World Tour, you’ll start to taste other areas of the game. ATV customization is vast and vital to your success, it looks pretty in depth to me (TAKE THAT ANONYMOUS WRITER!), but on the flip side of things there is multiplayer. You might not find a few games nowadays as it has been quite a while since Pure was released. It’s one of the cheapest titles I’ve reviewed on this column, which makes its replay value almost too good to be true. Multiplayer doesn’t really change up anything we’ve seen in past arcade racers, but it doesn’t do anything wrong. It’s got those few moments you find in the campaign too, where it’s just a second between success and failure. There’s a real great sense of greatness and achievement when you cross that finish line, I even bravely compare it to Demon’s Souls.
What this honestly reminds me of, is a multiplatform Motorstorm. There’s a constant shift in gears, as you shift your ATV around the track and pull off tricks, by the end of the race you feel you’ve accomplished something. Aside from the brilliant gameplay, there’s some vistas to be seen and a great choice of music. Not those annoying eight annoying rock tracks, which I only liked two of, you saw in Motorstorm. There’s some truly great songs, which stop when you’re flying in the air, to give that brave sense of tension not seen in any other racer out there. You’ll be perilously hanging off your ATV and then be cursing at your television when your rag doll flies off it.
The developers are also developing a favorite over here at Platform Nation… Split/Second. You might want to try Pure out, you know, it could be alright… might… deepen your interest… hehe