The year has been a great year for racing games. From the simulation-based Gran Turismo 5 Prologue and GTR Evolution to Burnout Paradise and Grid for a more arcade-like experience, there's been something for everyone. Pure, Blackrock Studio's newest off-road endeavour, falls very much into the latter category and epitomises pick-up-and-play gaming better than any other racing game this year.
Pure and MotorStorm Pacific Rift have often been pitted against one another as contenders for this year's off-road racing crown. But while MotorStorm is portrayed as a more serious off-road racer, Pure is all about having fun. The game's developers haven't tried to reinvent the wheel here. Pure is a simple game; a bunch of tried and test formulae that come together remarkably well to deliver a thrilling racing experience minus the frustration of frequent crashes and tough opponents.
At the core of Pure is its simple arcade racing style with some extreme tricks; Burnout meets SSX. The game's remarkable track design ideally suits its over-the-top approach to racing. Environments vary from sand dunes, to glaciers, to lush tropical forests. The different environments vary slightly from one another in terms of how your quad behaves on the racing surface. For instance, your vehicle will slip around on the icy glaciers, while acceleration will be visibly reduced on the sand dunes. These subtle variations, however, won't pose much of a challenge to most thanks to the game's basic driving mechanics.
Furthering Pure's easy approach to racing is the steering assistance. If you take off on a jump slightly misdirected, very often the game will nudge you back towards the track, reducing the occurrence of crashes and allowing you to focus on the tricks rather than your positioning.
However, occasionally, a misdirected jump will send you flying into a tree, and the game won't come to your rescue every time. The PC version of the game also supports the Xbox 360 controller, but the implementation and not as seamless as in many other games. Although the controls work fine, on-screen prompts still show keyboard keys rather than the corresponding controller button
Some of the tracks in the game have jumps that are so big, that very often you will land in a bone-crushing crash unless your ATV hits the ground in the right position. The best way to land a jump is to ensure that all four wheels hit the ground at the same time. This can get tricky at times because landing surfaces are usually sloped and you will have to gauge these slopes in mid-air, often in the middle of a ridiculously cool trick.
Photographs: Blackrock Studio
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