Tuesday, May 12, 2009

10,000G, 100% PURE Class

Not that long ago I posted about reaching 1,000G in a game for the very first time.

Today, I announce my newest gaming achievement. Minutes ago, I reached the five-digit GamerScore! 10,000G.

I gotta admit, I never thought I'd see that number under my Gamer Tag! As I said when I reached 1,000G in Burnout, I wasn't very big into GamerScore until I went online. I think it also helped that I started hitting benchmarks, like the first thousand, and I began to realize just how close I was getting to the 10,000 mark, which lent an air or excitement to each new Achievement I unlocked. Once I was within just a few short points of the big round number, I decided that I wanted to hit it exactly, and searched around for some easily reached Achievements that would give me just the right amount. Conveniently, Saints Row 2 hand a few five and ten point Achievements that I had yet to unlock.

But while Saints Row 2 might have brought me up to the magic number, most recently it was PURE*, a quad bike racing game by Disney, that added a sizable chunk of GamerScore to my tally. Having played the demo months ago, I grabbed this while it was on sale in HMV. It's an awesome racing game, that kicks things up a notch with an incredible tricks system. The tracks are stunningly beautiful, and the character models are fantastically detailed. I love how the bikes and riders start fresh and clean at the beginning of every race, but slowly get covered in a layer of mud and dirt that seems genuinely realistic. The immerse quality of the game can best be defined by revealing that this is the first game in well over a decade that I have found myself leaning side-to-side around corners, or twisting the controller in odd ways as my bike leaps off the apex of a hill into the wild blue yonder! The odd faces I make, and the little yelps of pain only add to the experience. Playing it with an audience adds a further soundtrack of cheers, howls of laughter and gasps of horror, depending on the outcome of some particularly spectacular jumps. I was particularly impressed with the veracity of the locations when a friend called over, looked at one of the loading screens for the start of a race and accurately identified the location. In fact, he had been standing roughly when the image was taken from, and had used the cable car that was visible! Nice!

The game itself is incredibly fun to play. I'd be lying if I said it was difficult, but Disney have successfully walked the thin line that separates easy from hard to create a game that remains fun right through to the end. I managed to get first place in every race fairly easily, but I enjoyed every minute of it.

One of the cooler aspects of the game is the bike creation feature. You get to build your own bikes, with an incredible ten slots to unlock and fill in your garage! Everything can be altered and customised, from performance affecting parts like the frame or engine, to purely aesthetic features, such as the grips, nerf bar or mudguards. Noel, Bob and Chris have all designed bikes for me, each with their own unique take on how I should use them. In all cases, I have gone on to use their bikes over my own! Chris designed a killer stunt track ATV, Bob's bike is great for races, proving that red truly does go faster, while Noels PaleHorse is the perfect all-rounder!

With such great gameplay, amazing graphics, beautiful locations and crystal clear commitment to fun, PURE is a game no racing enthusiast should be without. Seeing the Disney brand on the cover might turn some people off, but this is no Avatar! You earn your Achievements, and it feels great when you do. I pumped the air so often while playing this game I think I strained a shoulder muscle!

That, or I'm just having sympathetic pains for all those times I landed my onscreen rider head-first into the track.

* - I linked to a review of PURE on Xbox 360 Achievements instead of the official homepage, as the games site is entirely Flash based and immediately starts playing sound and music once it loads up. If you'd like to visit the official homepage, just click here. Just remember, you have been warned.

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