Pure - updated impressions

Soar to thrilling heights and lose your lunch

Rarely have we seen a game that made us want to throw up in a good way. Watching director Jason Avent preload up a gravel-laden peak and launch off amidst gondolas and hot air balloons in the cloudy New Mexico sky was all at once mesmerizing and lunch rejecting. The soundtrack mutes, the trash-talking rider Supermans his body while barely grasping the seat. Quickly, he plummets down to earth. Jason%26rsquo;s trajectory is off and the rider crotches himself on the seat before painfully smashing into a boulder. Such is the life in Pure, a more-than-basic ATV racer with shades of SSX. If ournew screensare any indication, Pure will speed away from the pack of other drab racers.

We already got a good look at Pure%26rsquo;s racing dynamicsearlier, but today we were able to get a clearer sense of how the trick system worked. On your HUD, the system is represented by the Y, B and A buttons for high, middle and low level tricks respectively. Tricks and boost are essential to winning races - hence our SSX comparison - and strategizing when to use each will dictate your chance of victory.

You build up boost by performing low level tricks - or the A button tricks. Successfully pulling off one of these can start to build up your mid-level boost, to perform B button tricks and so on. What you want to be able to do is build up your meter to execute Y button tricks, which net you not only a crap ton of points, but also grant you some big air. This will enable you to vault ridiculously high over the competition - even clearing large segments of the track - and can even propel you to shortcuts not available with %26ldquo;normal%26rdquo; driving.

And you%26rsquo;ll be soaring over some incredibly detailed locales at that. We took in the breathtaking sight of snowcapped mountains in Italy and tumble down a track surrounded by crumbled castle walls and statues. You%26rsquo;ll weave in and out of a decrepit logging town on a forest-peppered Wyoming track. Besides the incredible vertigo-inducing draw distance - up to 30 miles! - each location has a lived-in feel not usually found in other hum-drum racers.

One last thing to mention is the Garage, enabling you to build your own Frankenstein ride from parts unlocked during the single-player World Tour mode. Almost every part is completely customizable from the frame, to the engine and even shocks. As you mix and match, you can see the stats - speed, acceleration, handling, boost and tricks - change in real time. With so much customization at your disposal, it%26rsquo;s said that 60,000 bikes are possible to build, decreasing the chance you%26rsquo;ll see a clone of your bike online.

We were assured that every single-player mode would also be available online, including Freestyle. While not discussed at length, Freestyle mode would go beyond a typical high score trickfest. With its release in September, Pure has a few months to make some tweaks to the AI and the already handsome graphics. We should go hands-on with Pure in the coming months, so check back soon and make sure to bring a cup (for your nuts).

May 2, 2008

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