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Review: 'Pure' Races Between Speed, Showing Off

Racing games that add stunts into the mix often thrive on one aspect while letting the other fall into a secondary role.

Disney's Interactive's new all-terrain racer "Pure" ($60 for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3, $50 for PC) manages to strike a balance between speed and showboating, rewarding spectacular high-altitude performances with higher-level tricks and speed boosts that can help narrow the gap between you and a speedier opponent.

"Pure" scores strong in visuals, offering scenic off-road tracks in a variety of locales.

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There's plenty to look at — from mountains and pine trees to hot air balloons and high voltage power lines — and your best views will come from high above the tracks.

Small details such as splashing mud and wind effects add to the atmosphere.

The off-road tracks often offer multiple paths, but it's not always obvious at high speeds what's considered in bounds and what's considered out.

The game's accelerate, jump and show-off formula doesn't break new ground, but "Pure" does a nice job of starting with the basics and adding in more complex controls over time.

The game's tutorial mode first guides you through the basic racing controls while teaching you how to pre-load jumps by pulling down the left joystick and then jamming it up at a hill's peak to gain maximum airtime.

At first you can only use one button and the left joystick to create tricks, but landing them successfully during a race opens up more dramatic combinations using other buttons.

And you can't get away with performing the same standard trick over and over as you'll be branded "Stale." Keep it "Fresh" by varying moves and combining different ones in mid-jump.

It'd be easy to skip the tricks if your goal is simply to win the race, but you can't get away with that in World Tour mode.

You'll need to build up your trick meter to enable nitrous speed boosts, which must be conserved for just the right moment to gain some ground on fellow racers.

Victories in World Tour events are rewarded with new parts, and these upgrades are a must if you want to race others online.

Most opponents have completely pimped out their rides, and I learned quickly that jumping right into an online with an out-of-the-box ATV race doesn't yield much success.

It'd be nice if new parts were automatically added to your vehicle, but you'll have to return to the garage each time to tweak it for the next race.

The game features two racing modes, Sprint and Race, and a Freestyle mode in which racers can battle for the highest score while gathering power-ups such as extra gas and trickier stunts.

Though "Pure" offers online multiplayer for up to 16, there's no way for two players in the same room to compete on a split screen.

But if you're looking for an arcade-style adrenaline rush with gorgeous scenery, "Pure" is worth a look.