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Pure

(Disney Interactive; US: 18 Sep 2008)

All Terrain Vehicles are known for their attempts to cover all types of ground, and cover all types of ground regarding Pure is what we are going to do today.  Now that the “next-gen” is the “now-gen”, certain terms are becoming redundant when describing the video game experience.  For example: Pure looks great, and in fact it looks so good and plays so smoothly that I sometimes felt as if I was doing a superman seat grab.  It turns out that I was just the sitting on my couch and was not actually gliding through the air, five hundred feet above ground, flipping around on a four wheeled scooter. 


Rather than embrace the realistic aspects of ATV racing, the kind we see during the X-games, Disney studios has decided the follow the Tony Hawk path and has embraced the fantastical side of the ATV rider.  Basically, Pure will only appeal to those who already ride ATVs and wonder what it’d be like to ride without our world’s current gravitational limits.  It seems counterintuitive, but there is only so much bending of reality that can occur within the framework of a franchise before it bottoms out, or bursts like a bubble, or topples over like a house of cards.  The Tony Hawk games are now boring, while Gran Turismo looks to be in its best shape ever.


With that said, there are a lot of details and customizability options, though not as many as I would have liked.  The garage and create feature let you control every aspect of the vehicle.  Unlimited customizability is yet another prominent feature of the “now-gen” games.  So far, Pure is the gaming equivalent of a well dressed dreamer.  He/she is a well dressed dreamer with a smooth gait.  That means that the gameplay is at times enthralling, getting me to at least sit up in my couch and lean towards the television, thinking it will cause me to go faster.  However, there are no motion sensitive controls, and thankfully so, as it appears that accurate real-time steering will have to wait yet another generation.


Where the customization is lacking is in the customization of characters and in the creating of new tracks.  There are only stock characters to choose from, each with their own “special move”.  The stock characters fill every demographic.  There are the white males, the black male, the latino male, the asian male, and a woman, who happens to be wearing all pink.  See? “Everybody”‘s covered.


Back to the gameplay. Pure‘s world tour has to be played through to unlock all the goodies, such as new frames, A-bars, and so on.  I learned a lot about the basic components of the ATV by playing this game, which is not necessarily a good thing.  There are 10 tours, ranging from D class (the lowest engine class) to A class (the highest engine class).  You have to progress from D to A, which honestly didn’t take that much time.  There are three types of races in each tour: the race, the sprint, and the freestyle competition.  Each is self explanatory.  The freestyle is the easiest to win, as computers are still “fast idiots” and the programming cannot make up for human creativity.  Winning the freestyle “races” in each tour helps to speed up the class D to class A progression.  The freestyle is also the least fun of the three, even though it is the only aspect of this game that really separates it from other ATV simulations.


For a product with so many commercials, the overall experience is disappointing.  I don’t see Pure or any subsequent reiterations having any crossover appeal.  There may have been a lot of commercials, but after playing the game for the purpose of reviewing it, I never had any inclination to go back and play it again.  It’s like going on a date with a cute magic pixie who you decide you would be bored of in real life if she actually did exist.  In other words, it would be like going on a date with Zooey Deschannel (which obviously would never happen) and thinking that you are going on a date with her character from the movie Elf.


Okay, that may have been one of the worst similes ever. 


The best aspect of Pure, from a design standpoint, is that the player is encouraged to try new tricks and different characters.  Repeating the same tricks over and over again reduces the amount of boost (turbo) gained from landing the tricks.  Encouraging creativity is a good thing, but why does it have to begin and end with the stock tricks.  Why can’t I create my own?  We might have to wait a year or so to find out.


Hopefully, all the chinks will get worked out for the next installment in this series.

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