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October 9, 2008
Pure - PS3 Review
Release Distributor Publisher Developer Offline Players Online Players
30/9/2008FuntasticDisney Interactive StudiosBlackrock Studio12-16
Media HDD Space Resolution Sound Format Tilt Controls OFLC Rating

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Pulling a trick on the Italian track!
Racing games are big business, and getting a new franchise noticed takes some doing, but Disney Interactive Studios have done everything right, including a stellar presentation at this years E3 show which saw it walk away with a host of awards. Now, the final product is here and we are very pleased to confirm that this game not only meets, but exceeds, expectations.

Pure has been developed by Blackrock Studio, which is the new name for Climax Racing who have worked on other racing titles including MotoGP and ATV Offroad Fury - not a bad pedigree at all really. So, let's see what this game is all about then shall we?

Pure takes place in seven real-world locations from all over the globe with more than 30 tracks. These locations include the likes of Wyoming, New Zealand, Thailand, Italy and New Mexico. Each of the tracks in this game is brilliantly detailed, and superbly put together with massive jumps, multiple paths and often some shortcuts here and there. Stray too far off the path, or get stuck for more then a couple of seconds and the game resets you back onto the track - it's valuable time lost, but quick enough to not totally destroy your race.

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Vehicles, and riders, in Pure look great.
The main game mode in Pure is the World Tour. As you can probably predict, this mode sees you progressing through a series of events of ever increasingly difficult stages. As you progress through the levels new parts for your ATV are unlocked giving it improved abilities. There are three main types of events to enter on the World Tour. The Race is a standard, lengthy race of three laps around a circuit, the sprint is a very quick 5 laps sprint to the finish line (each lap only lasts about 20 seconds or so over a very short course) while the final event type is Freestyle where the object is to perform as many tricks as possible, and earn as more points then your rivals.

Loading times are pretty brief and the developers have given you an option to install just over 1GB of data to the Hard Drive to speed up this loading slightly. I really admire the fact that this an optional install unlike so many other titles on PS3 these days.

As well as being a racing game there is plenty of ATV customization available so you can build ATV's to your own liking with four classes available (A to D) and hundreds of parts which become unlocked when you complete events in the World Tour. In fact the game includes some 65,000 possible combinations of parts! If you don't want to spend your time building an ATV the game can quickly build a vehicle for racing or trick events.

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XBox 360 gameplay screen of Wyoming in Pure.
Rather then being a straight racing game the tracks have been set up to give you massive air time which allows tricks to play a major part in the game. There are three levels of tricks in total, each one corresponding to a face button (in the PS3 game they correspond to X, circle, and triangle). While the meter fills up to perform more impressive tricks, and you can modify these trick with the analogue stick and the L1 and R1 buttons, should the trick meter fill right up you can do a super trick by pressing L1 and R1 together. If you want though you can use this trick meter energy for a speed boost by pressing the square button while racing. Indeed if you've ever played EA's brilliant SSX titles then you will be quite familiar with the trick system used in the game.

While I was always of the belief that the single player would be good after seeing countless videos, and then the demos I was always concerned that the final game would struggle to cope with the 16-player online races. Those fears have been well and truly laid to rest though with a wonderful, pretty much lag free, mode which is every bit as impressive as any other online game. If there is a small complaint about the online game its a lack of options and more fully fledged lobby system. Sadly, and rather disappointingly really, there is no option for split-screen multi-player so there's no lounge room fun between friends which this game seems perfectly suited to.

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Smile for the camera over New Mexico!
As a first game in a new franchise it is impressive how well this game is built, however there are a couple of small issues that could have been addressed. I would have loved to see a couple more locations and tracks in the game - there are quite a few, but they start to feel 'samey' after a while. I would have also liked to see the physics interactions between the ATV's a little more realistic, they seem to bounce off each other rather then really being a major danger to your race.

One final disappointment is that while the XBox 360 version includes Achievements, the PS3 game doesn't support Trophies. We are trying to clarify with Australian distributers Funtastic if they will be added at a later date, but are still awaiting a response.

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Xbox 360 screen, PS3 should be identical.
As you can see from the surrounding screenshots Pure is an impressive title visually. While the game only runs at 720p (as with most other games we might add), the frame rate is rock solid and while claims that this game would include 'photo-realistic real-world locations' were pretty much laughed off by us here at initially we are now pretty happy to say that, yes, the graphics are very, very impressive indeed. Perhaps not photo-realistic, but certainly among the best we've seen. Each of the locations around the world from California, to New Zealand and Thailand looks different to each other and certainly has the 'look' of the countries they are trying to represent. Impressively as you are racing around the tracks your tyres deform the ground, something which is becoming more common these days.

Overall the audio experience in Pure is stunning with some wonderful dialogue and brilliant effects. I love the way when you go over a monster jump the audio seems to take a back seat to a lighter, airier sound. The ATV's all have wonderful engine noises, and the surface you are driving over can be distinguished simply by the audio as you are driving over it.

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Visually Pure is very impressive.
If there is one disappointment with the audio it's the 25 music tracks. The only band we knew was Wolfmother with their song "Woman" while the others remain unknown to us. While we were familiar with the others though the music isn't bad and suits the game quite well. I guess with no one knowing what to expect from this game sales wise it would have been hard pumping millions of dollars into a soundtrack when that money could have - and probably was given the overall product - put towards refining other area.

In a crowded market place any new racing game needs to really stand out to have an impact - both critically and commercially. Fortunately, that is certainly the case with Black Rock's Pure. It's fast, intense and most of all very entertaining with solid online support. Without doubt, Pure has the opportunity to become one of the biggest franchises in racing games over the coming years, and this first game is certain to be one of the best games of 2008. Add this to your collection now and prepare for plenty of excitement.

Review By: Dave Warner

Order your copy now from Gameswarehouse.
GRAPHICSGreat looking levels and effects, a technical achievement.
SOUNDNot as many 'known' bands as I would like for music, but this game sounds good overall.
GAMEPLAYThis game has been built for fun, and fun is what you will have.
VALUEIt could have contained a little more, including split screen, but you'll be playing for days.
OVERALLIf you're after some of the best 'pick up and play' gaming on PS3 then look no further, Pure is a rush from start to end.

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