2009-02-22 22:48:57

Pure(Xbox 360)

Pure, a title that sounds innocent enough, yet is almost arrogant in it's use. When we talk about things that are pure, we tend to talk about things that are beautiful to behold. Purity, like pure water, virgins, and white linen. But there are other kinds of purity. like pure garbage, pure shit, and pure waste of time. I'll leave my readers to guess which applies to this game. Just kidding of course, this would be a rather short review if I did that wouldn't it? No let me showcase for you the hits and misses of Pure.

First I have to as always set the stage for what convinced me to try this game. My first experience with ATV racing game products was a bundled game that came with my initial purchase of a Playstation 2. This game was ATV Offroad Racing 2. It was a lot of fun, and was basically the Tony Hawk of ATV racing, rediculous tricks, with just a hint of realism to keep some kind of foundation. I played the shit out of that game until my wife wouldn't play against my anymore because I was a superstud at the game and could easy beat the game blindfolded. Anyway so that game got shelved for the past 3-5 years, So when I saw an ATV racing demo on Xbox 360, I decided to give it a download, and before I knew it I was preloading and performing wicked airial stunts all over the place like olden times. What I didn't realize was that this Demo sold the FUN parts of the game only, and left out ALL the bullshit. To get the bullshit to show, you had to buy/rent the full title. Thanfully as you all know by now, I rented the fucker.

Once you plop the disc in for this turdburger you're greeted by the familiar opening of the demo, and you even have to qualify on the same original track in the demo, so far so good. Afterwards you get to build your own dream ATV which I did, and I loved how it looked, I also got to pick which character would annoy me with repeatative shouting throughout the game(the characters only have like 2-3 voiced phrases they shout at key events, such as getting rammed into, or after landing sweet tricks, which happens all the damn time.) then after the first series of races the suck started to shine through.

The crux of the shittiness of the title is also it's biggest strength. The game features a very in-depth ATV construction suite, allowing you to choose from millions of parts to build the perfect ATV. Instead of leaving the choices made here to aesthetics/minor variations of ATV, they make all the parts make very strong choices about the 4 stats that each ATV has, so you are expected to come back to this screen again and again to build new ATV's or tweak ATV's for specific races. Now I understand that for garage enthusiests this is a good thing, and it was a good thing, up until the point of which I couldn't figure out which component I had to swap out of my bike to give myself that 1 extra drop of acceleration or top speed or whatever it was that was needed for the race that I kept failing over and over again. Most of this was because for every gain in an area, you lost something in another area, tradeoffs galore. So you would have to work trial and error all over your bike to try to figure out how to get the most out of it. That is precisely where a simulation goes from being a fun romp in the world of ATV'ing, and into a nightmare of the reality of being a ATV tuner. If I wanted to nitpick that much about my ATV, I'd buy an ATV and hit the track, not play it on 360. To be fair there are also quick build keys that will quick assemble a bike, but you still have to tweak those to get the most out of them else you will be losing races a lot.

The race tracks themselves and the character art is all very good, the ATV unique looks and custom building make for a great visual style. Visual style is apparently Disney's top A game, but they don't quite understand how to make something fun and not daunting, this can be witnessed by other Disney/Pixar game titles. You do some huge air in a lot of rocky places, such as one area that looks like the ruins of greek temples. Graphically this game is gorgeous and filled with eye candy, at least when it's not filled with mud being slung from the back of your ATV.

Audio you can't really get worse than this product, each character has 3 taglines they say depending on if the pass someone, get passed, get hit, or complete a stunt successfully. I could only handle so much "YEAH! YOU KNOW IT BABY! WOO!" before my head exploded in a shower of pain. That isn't to say the music is bad, because the music selection is itself very high quality, the failures all land in with the voice work, and in some part the ATV sounds. all the ATV's sound the same, no matter the engine size, it's the same noise, I know that a lot of ATV's undoubtably sound very familiar, but there should be some small nuances in the sound output of a bigger engine compared to the smaller ones. Apparently that is a nuance that Disney couldn't be bothered with..

Last but not least the controls, the controls for the game were intuitive, and easy to understand, working much like other 4 wheel simulation titles, with the exception of the special trick stunt control. Whereas with other stunts you hit A X Y to do the stunts(with harder stunts progressing clockwise around the gamepad) and using left bumper to pop tweaks, special stunts required you to press a direction and both bumpers at the same time, which takes your hand off the gas/brake and off a lot of the control space, making it harder to recover from and just breaks the natural flow of the control scheme. you don't need to make the trick harder to do on the controller for it to be appreciated. So cut it out! Also the rumble in the game was so bad that the vibration caused my hands to frequently go numb after short periods of gameplay, making it actually painful to play this game! When your controller feedback system causes enough vibration shock to cause numbness and pain, it's time to reconsider your design.

Reason Rank
Start 10
Build a bike starting with a bare frame all the way up to the body shell. +7
You'll have to keep building and tweaking all the fine details forever before you get them right. -6
Beautiful race tracks and graphics +2
Great Music +1
Controls that cause literal hand pain -6
Total 2/10

The game ends up with a 2/10, which it has some very shitty things going for it there is definitely some innovation in the game itself that makes it a possible good foundation to build off of. Less fine tuning of ATV's and perhaps a better racing AI that can adjust to the players capability would help the race experience. Less vibration in the controller would help the numbness factor, and more voice acting would round out the sound better. Once all that is done this would be a perfect game. If Pure gets a sequel, it damn well better have these features..