Pure-ly Spectactular

Okay, I admit that I've only gotten to play the demo and my experience with the game is limited, but the new ATV racing game Pure is absolutely fantastic. When I first viewed a trailer for this game earlier in the summer, my thoughts could be summed up as follows, Oh great, just what we need. Disney Interactive is putting out another moto-x trick game. Yawn.

Then when I was working on-site last month a certain well-known game designer had said he got to play Pure at a gaming event in Toronto. He had nothing but praise for the game. I believe "F'ing awesome" were his exact words.

So I downloaded the demo the other day and was immediately blown away, not just by the graphics which were impressive, but by the overall quality of the demo and the natural ease at which the game played. The game is indeed about racing four-wheelers (quads or ATVs or whatever other coloquial term you have for them) through mountainous terrain, but the game's hook is that the jumps allow you to literally fly hundreds of feet in the air and, thanks to the magic of whatever graphics engine they're using, you really do get a sense of vertigo. There is an intuitive trick system that features 70 different tricks. The races have 16 racers in them (single player career and online multiplayer) and the quads are all customizable with different parts and settings, supposedly allowing 100,000 different set-ups.

But games like this always rest on their ability to provide a fun diversion while offering a difficulty that balances challenge with frustration. I've been playing a lot of Sega Rally Revo over the past few months and that game goes too far into the realm of frustration for me to really recommend it to anyone other than racing-game masochists. There's no telling just yet if Pure will get the difficulty curve handled -- the demo race felt about perfect, if not a hair or two on the easy side -- but the addition of 16-player multiplayer makes this a must-buy for me regardless.

This game was so off my radar a month ago, I would have never given it a glance in the store. But now? September 16th can't get here fast enough.

(actually, yes it can since I have a deadline on the 15th)

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