There are loads of racing games on consoles. They’re everywhere, and rarely do they excite me. When I play games I want a rush, a buzz, a sense of fun, a level of excitement I don’t get in my day to day life. For me, most racing games simply don’t give me the rush I desire. A few of the racing games I genuinely enjoy would include Burnout (any of them), Trackmania, Mario Kart (snes and N64 versions mostly), and that’s about it… until today. Today I got my teeth into Disney Interactives latest racing game, and it’s great fun.
Pure is a quad bike based racing game. In my opinion quad bikes have a less than stella video gaming history, but Pure takes things back to basics. It’s about racing, and stunts. It’s about getting huge air and doing cool stuff – and travelling incredibly fast!
Before the racing begins you have to complete a very simple (unskippable) tutorial. Once complete you can start the World Tour, but not before building your ATV (All Terrain Vehicle). The quad bikes are built up from scratch, you have to choose the brand and design of every element. There are thousands of combinations of different bike parts, with loads to be unlocked, but personally I found this to be rather overwhelming and don’t really see how they would be that different. It would have been nice if there were some preset bikes you could start with and then customise as you go but I can see it being lapped up by the stats junkies.
The game is split into a variety of game modes but the main one is the World Tour. In it you race in a series of championships earning points according to your finish position in each challenge. Earn the specified amount of points and you will open the next championship. There are 10 tiers with 4 to 7 races in each. Within this there are also 3 types of event. Race, my favorite is a traditional first to the finish line affair, with 3 laps of long complicated tracks. Sprint, is 5 laps of much shorter, simpler, faster tracks. Finally Freestyle mode gets you performing tricks to earn as many points as you can, hopefully doing better than your competitors.
Of the three events the traditional racing is my favorite, with the freestyle levels coming in second. In freestyle mode stunts are key so thankfully they’re easy to do. Before a jump you have to crouch down and then flick up with the left stick, then when in the air press a button with a direction, the more stunts you perform, the more power you earn, which in turn opens up more complex tricks. The power can also be used to boost, making you move even faster.
The races are frantic affairs – you start in a crowd with 15 other racers all pushing for the front. The tracks are very wide and there are loads of possible routes – I love the way the tracks criss cross each other and you can jump from one section to another without getting penalized. There are places where you will get reset by the computer, but mostly you can go wherever you like and this adds a sense of freedom, and realism, where other games often skimp.
For me the elements of the game that make it that something a bit more special are…
- The sense of speed. Something I often find lacking in racing video games – why do I always feel like I could walk faster than the cars in Need for Speed? Burnout gets the speed thing spot on… so does Pure!
- The vertigo inducing jumps and the way the music cuts out as you plummet to earth – simply awesome!
- The wonderful vistas. Many times you will see some roads off in the distance, at the bottom of a ravine, only to find yourself driving along them a couple of minutes later
One thing I do miss is some sort of offline multiplayer, I don’t have XBox Live but would love to have a race against some friends – but that’s just not possible at the moment, however when stacked up beside the rest of the game this is a minor problem everything else is very good indeed.
There really aren’t many things I’d change with Pure, the simplicity of the gameplay, the beautiful art, and the frantic races all add up to make something that really is just, well, Pure.