Luckily, it’s hard to look away for the simple reason that Pure is a seriously beautiful game. Black Rock has created tracks inspired by real world environments like the Italian lakes, the mountains and glaciers of New Zealand, the Californian deserts and the sierras of New Mexico, with the odd tropical excursion to Thailand for good measure. Each has its own distinct atmosphere and some truly stunning scenery. Gorgeous mountains, exotic temples, glinting glaciers classical architecture – this one packs it all in. In fact, the only thing preventing you from admiring the view is that you’ll be hurtling through it all at a dizzying speed, trying desperately to keep your quad bike on the track or concentrating on pulling off the perfect trick in the split-second before your rider dives nose-first into the ground. The animation of bikes and riders is awesome, with realistic movement and lifelike suspension on the bike. Maybe Motorstorm has a little more detail in the vehicles, but there’s really very little in it and Pure has more in the way of scenic variation.
The main single-player mode is modelled as a world tour, with ten tiers each consisting of several events. These begin with simple three lap races, but soon take in sprints (fast, five lap races played out over shortened courses with the emphasis on speed) and freestyle events (earn as many stunt points as you can before your fuel runs out). These additional events add some spice to the action, the sprints acting like a breathless distillation of the regular races, the freestyle events giving you more room to trick and more immediate rewards for doing so. Impressively, Black Rock has also got the difficulty curve almost spot on, with the first few tiers providing a nice, simple intro to the game and the intermediate to final tiers offering a successively bigger challenge.
And by the time you reach those later tiers you’ll be pulling off some truly impressive tricks, chaining together the basic manoeuvres with rolls and spins and some neat little arm and leg-waggling tweaks that prove you are the man when it comes to daredevilry and daring do. Make no mistake: Pure is THE game of the moment for show-offs. Get some mates round and take turns playing it on a big HD screen. They’ll love the style, they’ll love the crunchy rock soundtrack and you’ll get the chance to showboat like there’s no tomorrow. Who couldn’t love the way the screen takes on a spectacular slow-mo blur effect when you pull off one of the super stunts? Pure is just that kind of game.
In fact, my only real worry about it is that it might be a bit superficial. Black Rock has made a bold attempt to add depth by adding a selection of riders – each with their own signature tricks – and an extremely detailed bike customisation and upgrade feature, but neither is 100 per cent satisfying. The customisation feature allows you to build several specialised bikes using a huge library of custom parts, more being unlocked as you make progress through the game.
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