627th played so far

Platform: Playstation 3
Year of Release: 2007
Developer: Evolution Studios
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment

I genuinely struggle sometimes to distinguish different types of off road(ish) racers. Pure‘s quad bike racing is probably the game that most exemplifies the genre to me, as it was the first we really covered and one that really struck us as a good game. This is obviously an earlier game to do it, and I’m sure we’ve had more that do it.

What makes them interesting is that they certainly are a sign of technology progressing. When a racer is on a track, it’s easier to put more on the track and get performance out of it, as you can determine where the player can and can’t go, and only focus on making that look good. As you open it further, you need to plan paths and time them, and make them balanced, as well as keeping them performing and running well. That latter part, especially, creates performance and AI challenges you wouldn’t otherwise have. You also need more work to make it look good and realistic – asphalt doesn’t move much, and the objects are more defined, while you want more variation when you go off road. It’s different, but we saw that it could be pulled off in Pure, compared to the lesser Stunts (4D Racing) and similar games from the past.

Our Thoughts

I’ve had some problems with the game. At its core it was a decent, fun racer, with an interesting Mad Max-style framing story. The desert setting works well, making for a bunch of different natural (seeming) tracks that’ll let you around the arena simultaneously. These are mostly for different options for different vehicles – lighter ones having more jumps and going higher, while heavier vehicles stay low, but often on the straighter path. There’s more to balance it, but that’s what makes that interesting.

Sadly, I also ran into a couple of issues that made the game more frustrating than fun. First of all, there are places where the track is incredibly dark and I ran into things because I didn’t know what was there. Brightness settings weren’t really strong enough for that. Another more annoying visual issue is that vehicles coming from behind can block your camera, and more than once the camera clipped through the vehicles, making it even worse. It feels this should be really easy to fix, but now it just adds an artificial difficulty to the game that shouldn’t be there.

Now, I might have been bad at this game – I certainly was in parts – but I never could get a lead. There was certainly some rubber banding going on, a bit more in the back when trying to catch up than in the front, where I think I just crashed too often for it to take effect. Most levels took some time to get used to, but I never could get that comfortable gap. Of course, the lack of track map did make me wonder.

Final Thoughts

In the end, when not too dark, the game looks good. The music works really well too, it’s very good. It just gets quite difficult at times, and I’m not sure I really reached the point where I was good enough to get the further levels.

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