Pure (Preview: PS3, X360, PC)

I must admit, I was a little concerned when someone told me that I would be playing a quad-bike racing game from Disney. Luckily, Pure surprised the living hell out of me.

I must admit, I was a little bit concerned when someone from the office told me that I would be playing a quad-bike racing game from Disney.

“Disney?” I said thinking of my favourite characters like Stitch and Buzz Lightyear. I was skeptical of it being good.

But after playing some of the preview code, I am pleased to say that I’m wrong.

Damn, was I wrong.

“Pure” is a new game by Black Rock Studio, a Disney Interactive Studios connected group who have got some pretty good titles behind them. Previously known as Climax Racing, you’ll know their work if you’ve ever played titles from the ATV series of games (ATV Offroad Fury, ATV Quad Power Racing) or the MotoGP games, titles which thrived on the actual need for speed and not just the whole idea of “speed”. Games like MotoGP emphasized speed beautifully and were often as hard as their real-life counterparts, except without the thick bodysuits, broken limbs, and bruised egos. Ok, maybe the bruised egos: you try playing against motorcyclists and see how you like getting your ass handed to you.

Black Rock’s new title of “Pure” takes their development into the waters of new IP, an area that looks to be something they’re certainly having fun with as Pure blends the thrilling fun you get with quad-bike racing with beautiful graphics, tricks, and a ridiculous amount of customisation that’ll please any fan.

You’ll start off in an easy tutorial that lets you get a feel for the trick system and driving. It’s pretty easy and anyone – and I mean anyone – will find themselves interested in how fun and simple it all works out. From there, you’ll get to make your very own quad bike from the sheer incredible amount of parts there are to choose from. I was at this screen for around ten minutes before I realised how much time had gone by. You can either do the parts & paint job by hand or set it all up to go quickly and just get on with the racing.

In game, the racing is spectacular with a multitude of racers competing with you on massive tracks. While some racing modes will offer strict tracks for you to stay on, most will give you the freedom to take whatever shortcuts you want provided you don’t screw up the trick and plant your vehicle (and your body) in the ground in a brilliantly broken fashion. Even if you do manage to take yourself out – and you will – Pure puts you back into the game without much of a place drop or loss of face giving you your fun back pretty much instantly.

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It really is a well designed game.

The graphics are looking very slick with some of the most detailed courses I’ve seen in a long time. From the hilly greens of New Zealand to California’s Max Max-ish desert, Pure is looking incredible.

Sound I didn’t get to experience much of sadly but it does sound like a quad-bike game.

I think the thing to remember is that while Pure doesn’t seem like it’s aimed at the hard-core ATV enthusiast, it is meant for anyone to have fun. While I love racing games, I haven’t gotten into a quad-bike game before as easily as I had with Pure.

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Multiplayer I unfortunately didn’t get to test but I expect that it’ll be as polished as the rest of the game. Sadly, it doesn’t look like there’ll be two-player gaming on the same console like many of the other racers out there, but I expect this has more to do with the sheer scope that the landscape and tricks take up when playing the game more than anything else.

As for Pure, I’m more surprised than anyone. I expected hype mostly. What I got was far, far, far, far, far better than I could have ever expected. This isn’t a review, mind you, but if the final release of Pure is anywhere near as fun as it was in unreleased code, I’d be buying it in a heartbeat.

Previewed by Leigh D. Stark