Five seconds. That's how long it took for our jaws to drop when we recently popped in and saw Disney Interactive Studios demonstrate Pure to us. Sure, we didn't get a chance to play the game, but after witnessing the game we came away extremely adrenalised and started counting the months until Pure's release.
Let's step back a bit. Pure is a quad bike off-road arcade racer from Black Rock Studios (who were previously known as Climax Racing). If you've never heard of them, you may have heard of their work. Black Rock Studios actually worked on the Moto GP and ATV Offroad Fury series, and has also had their hand in several other racing games. Quite frankly, they know their stuff.
Pure is best described as SSX on wheels, with an even greater emphasis on tricks. The first thing that we realised about Pure was that the gameplay we witnessed was intense. The game utilises a unique little trick and boost system, which acts like a risk/reward option. Players gain boost (which is represented in the far right hand corner of the game) as they race and as they gain boost they will fill up their trick meter. There are three different "levels" of boost and tricks. The first two levels of tricks are realistic tricks that professionals are pulling off now on their quad bikes. The third level of tricks are signature moves (the moves that would probably kill you if you tried them in real life). Tricks appear easy enough to pull off, and players can pull off tricks by just pressing a face button on the directional pad, but we're promised their will also be some more complex tricks for those who want to challenge themselves. While we didn't get a chance to try out the trick system ourselves, we're still excited by the possibilities. Imagine you're at the last corner of a race, you're a little bit behind and you've got the option, use your last bit of boost or possibly pull off a trick and win the race.
For those who like a little more complexity, before you hit a jump you can actually preload a jump, which will give you a better chance of hitting the jumps. Believe us, you'll want to. The track we got to experience had jumps that were absolutely insane. We're not talking one moderately sized jump, followed by jumps that resemble speed humps, we're talking death defying jumps that give the player a sense of vertigo. We were only watching and we were still very impressed with the jumps. There are plenty of them too and it's clear that in Pure there won't be long to ride until the next epic jump.
Apparently the build that we had a chance to look at was an older build, so it is rather surprising that we didn't notice any frame rate hitches in the game at all. Even at an early stage Pure looks beautiful and though there are months of development left, the game already seems rather polished. It is the little details which leave us so impressed, things like like the sound going quiet when you jump over a large jump, or the rider's t-shirt flapping in the wind simply add to the experience.
If you're looking at Pure and wondering whether it'll be worth picking up with a raft of other racing titles on the way (such as MotorStorm Pacific Rift and BAJA) we should clarify that Pure is very different from both of those games. While Pacific Rift is sure to have multiple routes, Pure kicks that up a notch, with hidden areas and not just linear courses that should mean every race is played differently. Pure is also quite an arcade style game and the trick system will set the game apart from other racers.
The final version of Pure will include lots of gameplay options and bonuses which have us rather excited. Players will be able to build their own ride, utilising fully licensed parts. In the 'build a ride' mode players simply start with a frame and then add a few components from the list. According to the developers, the total number of parts, paints and liveries mean that there are over 100,000 different combinations. You'll also be able to take your ride online, which should mean you never see a bike like yours.
Pure is a game that will grab players by the throat and won't let them go. Even though the game is months away from release, it's already shaping up to be an arcade racer to keep an eye on. The beautifully detailed courses and adrenalising gameplay should ensure that this is a game any arcade racer should have in their collection.