SSX on ATVs? Motorstorm 2 beware...

We're being shown new ATV sim Pure by developer Black Rock's Jason Avent. "It's almost like a platform game," he says as he nudges the right analogue stick forward to preload his vehicle's suspension, then yanks it back to jump off the crest of a muddy hill, crash-landing on a cliff track that isn't part of the main course. "You've got to think vertically".

Jason's used to thinking vertically, of course. Formerly a producer with Climax Studios, he worked on the ATV Fury and Moto GP games. Now he's putting that experience to good use, working on a less gravity-restricted take on ATV racing. Pure uses the same physics as other bouncy four-wheelers - the key to keeping your speed up is riding the bumps and hitting the downslopes when you jump - but for size, scale and scares, the jumps match anything of the drops in the SSX series.


The amount of airtime on offer also means that Pure can mimic the snowboarding series' array of stunts, too - obviously there are standard ATV moves like the Nac-Nac, but a three-tiered trick system makes bigger and better moves available as you store up boost. With a full meter, signature tricks like the 'Superhero' become available - picture a Superman seat grab where you let go of the seat and pirouette - giving you a burst of speed and refilling the meter if you land them.

The team have even had a go at tricks themselves - "I can jump about six feet," claims Jase - and recruited ATV extremist Wes Miller to help. "He got stabbed in a bar in Mexico while we were following him around."

And then there's that other game. So how does Pure match up to MotorStorm? Well, the big surprise is... it could be even better. It's certainly prettier. Sony's dustbowl derby might do well at scorched mudflats, but Pure spangles its courses with thousands of blades of grass and tiny flowers. "The obvious comparison is DiRT, but when you see them side by side it's sort of unfair," claims Jason, "We've got about ten times the amount of detail and foliage they have."

The draw distances are enormous, and the courses are labyrinthine - again, the SSX comparison comes in as there are entire stretches that you'll only be able to access with a keen sense of timing and/or a supremely grunty ATV.

Location, location
The game will have seven distinct locations - or styles of scenery - but with their graphical style already established, creating different routes within them is fairly simple for the devs. And you shouldn't get lonely - although the AI needs a bit of tweaking at the moment, having 16 riders in each race keeps things frantic. You'll also be able to play with just as many people online... although there's no word yet on whether you'll be able to punch them off their ATVs.


When we pointed out just how much Pure reminded us of the mighty SSX Jason was quick to point out that "You can go up hills," in Black Rock's racer, but he shouldn't be so quick to shrug off the comparison. This generation of consoles needs a terrifyingly OTT racer. Will it be Pure? There's a chance of it...

The verdict

We'd have liked to see some MX vehicles as well - but the physics are convincing and the graphics glorious. This could be special.

PlayStation 3
Disney Interactive
Racing / Driving