What does the word Pure make you think of? An abstinence of immoral vices? An untouched tropical beach? Orange juice? We'll hedge our bets and guess that 99.9% of people won't be thinking of ATVs racing around cliff tops. OK, so it's only a name, but tell that to the makers of Juiced who've had their series written-off because nobody knew what it was about amongst established titles like Need For Speed, Burnout and Ridge Racer. It's the same situation for Disney's off-road racer as it goes up against established names like MotorStorm, MX vs. ATV and DiRT.
Pure can certainly hold its own in terms of gameplay, mind. Like a cross between MotorStorm and SSX, Pure combines frantic races around wonderful landscapes with equally wondrous tricks. You have to pump your jumps by pulling back and pushing forward on the left stick - just like the MX series originally introduced.
Once you're gliding through the air you use q and a direction to pull off basic moves like a Can-Can or a Look Back but, like SSX, you'll build up a power bar when performing these. Unlock the next stage of skills by doing loads of q tricks and you'll get to use e for more stylish moves that will eventually open up the w move-set. Like the Tricky bar from SSX Tricky, you'll then open o and u specials that will see your rider perform gravity-defying loops and pirouettes. Obviously, these are essential for winning the trick events, but once your gauge is full - again like SSX - you can hit r to sacrifice your skills for a quick speed boost.
The engine room of Pure is the World Tour mode. This is basically a career mode where you compete in huge races, sprints or trick events with up to 15 other riders. Straightforward races take place across beautiful tracks from pseudo-real locations across the world, including New Zealand, Italy and America. And they are huge. From terrifying leaps through the tops of trees to skilfully bombing over huge cliffside chasms, Pure provides enough eye-candy and thrills to keep you glued to the action for hours.
Some of the tracks have almost vertical sections thrown into the mix to take the racing to a whole different level. Sadly, Pure isn't as free-roaming as, say, MotorStorm, so there's little to no scope for ever taking a cheeky shortcut because you'll be flung back from whence you came.
The great thing about the World Tour mode is that you can build and customise your own ATV. Here you can choose what colours to paint your motor, adjust parts to create either a racing or trick quad, and even slap a leopard-skin print on your seat. And as you charge to the number one spot on the tour, you'll unlock more garage slots so you can handily design and store specific machines for different types of events.
You can't argue that Pure doesn't look stunning with its next-gen glow, big and bolshy ATVs, and beautiful vistas, and you have to admire how the developers have produced a sterling debut on PS3, but it does become samey real quick. The courses start to repeat after a while and races take a familiar pattern of you and one other rider battling for first place, plus it goes without saying that the lack of any form of vehicle variety grates on its durability. Surely they could've thrown some motorbikes into the mix? And, although there are a few different characters to choose from, like the cockney rider who annoyingly shouts "bruv" at every turn, or the token feisty lady who looks a bit like Pink, the tricks set - bar each character's two special moves - are identical.
Thankfully, the trick events are addictive enough to keep you coming back to smash your high scores, and the 16-player online races (online review next issue, folks) should be worth a look. But for now, Pure is a Chesney Hawk of a game; it looks the part, and for a solo performance it manages to hit all the right notes, just don't go expecting a sequel any time soon.
Overall You'll love it at first but Pure soon becomes far too familiar.