Professional Bull Riders Out of the Chute Review (Wii)
As long as I have been on this earth, I have been able to use video games as an escape from life and all of its challenges. Whenever I have been in need of a distraction or some catharsis, video games have always been there for me. But after playing Professional Bull Riding: Out Of The Chute, for the first time in my existence, I used life as a way to distract me from having to play video games.
To prove this point I submit to you a list of things I did while avoiding playing and reviewing PBR: OOTC.
-I watched Texas Tech upset Texas in the best finish of the season; I decided that in two weeks Oklahoma is going to blow out Texas Tech and move past Texas in the BCS Standings somehow, and Florida is going to play them in the National Championship game after beating Alabama in the SEC Championship Game. All this will happen while Penn State stays undefeated.
-I also played a season and a half of my Cristiano Ronaldo career in FIFA 09’s BAP: Seasons; he is now a 99 overall and perfect in every category except defense.
-I caught up on anything that I recorded on DVR.
-I took out the trash.
-I put more trash in my room so I could take it out again.
If you feel as though I am being too rough or unnecessarily harsh on PBR: OOTC, I am going to say something nice about it. It honestly is not really all that terri-bull if you don’t like good video games. But then again, what are you expecting to get out of it?
For starters, the game does everything that it says it will do on the box. When you put it in your Wii, the system will not spontaneously combust, and the disc will in fact load. You have the option to play as 12 real riders or 12 real-life bulls. There is an interface and it works. When you click the single-player option on the menu, the game does take you to the single player setup screen. In the arena, the game is very simple and not challenging.
You play as either rider or the bull. As the rider, it is your job to stay on the bull for 8 seconds. As a bull, kick the rider off in 8 seconds. For riders, the goal is to get as close to 100 points as possible. If you're the bovine, you want a score near 50.
The best part of playing as the bull is once the ride is over, you get about 10 seconds to run around wreaking havoc on the dirt field. You are able to knock over a barrel and trample the rider and two other cowboys/rodeo clowns that happen to be on the field. This is made all the better by the fact that as you turn your bull in circles, he has a magical center of gravity that allows him to spin on an axis as if he has a pole coming out of the middle of his stomach. This leads to the most fun part of the game: helicoptering your bull into the NPC that was just riding you, then spinning on him until he is a limp and lifeless virtual body.
To clarify, the version I am reviewing is on the Wii. With that said, you need to use zero buttons on easy difficulty, and at most 3 buttons on hard difficulty. In order to move the bull you move the thumbstick on the Wii Nunchuk, and get the bull to kick by pressing C or Z. As the bull, you control everything with the Nunchuk and don't even really need the Wii Remote at all. As the rider, you keep yourself balanced by moving the thumbstick in the opposite direction of the bucking bull, trying to stay on the center of the beast (but you don't even have to do that, see note below). You press the "B" button to grip and the "A" button to power-up on the harder difficulty levels.
The game could have been played with a Classic controller as opposed to the Wii Remote. The only time in the game you are able to take advantage of the motion sensing capabilities is when you flick your Wii Remote up to dismount the bull after the 8 seconds are up, followed by a downward flick to land on your feet.
Honestly, the developers could have replaced the Wii Remote by making a dismount button, rendering the Wii’s motion abilities completely moot. In retrospect, that is something I would have appreciated much more than just giving me only one time in which I had to use my wrist. If I own a Wii, I want to be able to take advantage of its one key selling point because the sounds and graphics are simply not impressive.
(Note: While trying out the difficulty levels, on easy difficulty I was twice able to get a score of 84 without moving the controller once -- a reasonably good score considering I did nothing. While playing on normal difficulty I was able to score an 85 holding the thumbstick in the down position and mashing the "B" button to grip.)
The sounds of Out of the Chute can only be described as boring and repetitive. The sounds of Out of the Chute can only be described as boring and repetitive. After about 20 minutes of gameplay, you have heard every sound in the game. You think the "boring and repetitive" quasi-joke I did above was obnoxious; listen the announcer say, "I don’t know if he can handle this bull but if he can this could be huge," or the Rodeo Clown say, "Yar -- all right!" four times in a row really fast. I think he was trying to say, "you are all right" but that is not what he said. He just kind of slurs at the player -- can virtual characters be drunk? Perhaps these clowns are not drunk, but they are sluggish nonetheless.
The Career mode, the main mode of play in PBR, is 10 events including the championships. The mode takes about 30 minutes to complete if you are lollygagging. The game is designed with multiple playthroughs in mind as you are rewarded with new unlockables with/for each playthrough. You can earn two additional bull riders and two additional bulls. Then there are "Flint Moments."
By far the oddest portion of the game is the Flint Moments. These are little video vignettes of Flint the Rodeo Clown. These scenes come in the form of either "Flinterviews" (interviews of professional bull riders spliced together with Flint) or videos of Flint talking to a crowd about things like, how old people wear their pants too high and young ones wear their pants too low: "The good Lord gave y'all a waist, y'all ought to use it."
Yes, the game is indeed designed for multiple playthroughs and does try to reward you, but you really don’t have to play it again. In fact you really should not play the mode at all, since that is just what Crave Entertainment wants you to do.
The publisher of PBR is Crave Entertainment, a company that has given us such games as NRA Gun Club, The Bible Game, and Pinball Hall Of Fame. Looking over the list of games the company has published, Crave seems to have found its niche as a gaming company: It releases lesser-known titles with fewer expectations for less money; PRB is going to be in stores for $29.99 on the Wii. Crave also seems to specialize in games that are comprised of a number of mini-games. Looking over that list it is interesting to see how many of the games the company has put out is simply a collection of mini-games.
PBR is essentially a mini-game that lasts 8 seconds. Granted, there is an option to have the ride last as long as you can stay on the bull, but "Unlimited Mode" is still just the same mini-game, except while playing this mode you wish the game would be restricted to 8 seconds.
Putting aside the issues that I have mentioned, this game’s biggest problem is its price. It is in no way worth $30. If this game was an Xbox Live Arcade title released for $10, it would still not be well received. This is because no matter how many times you feel like playing it, it does not deliver when it comes to fun for your dollar.
Final Thoughts: I know who Crave made this game for: Negligent parents who do not know or care much about their own child, and have heard their child at one point or another talk about video games and bull riding. I assume fans of video games are not going to go out of their way to buy this game. However, if they do, we need to find them and take away their membership cards.
In The Slop: Play as rider, bull or not at all. The choice is yours (unless you are reviewing it).
Graphics: Serviceable, but the only way they could be viewed as impressive would be if the game was released on the PS2's launch day. You can easily distinguish who is the bull and who is the person, and isn’t that all we should be asking for in the graphics department?
Sound: At most four songs are in the entire game. The music while navigating the menu screen does not change; it simply repeats. After 20 minutes of gameplay, you have heard every sound in the game.
Entertainment Value: Not so much. Mindless and not worth your time unless you love bull riding and hate video games.
Learning Curve: I have been able to ride the bull for 8 seconds by literally pushing "down" on the thumbstick and pressing the "A" button repeatedly. This is on normal difficulty. On easy difficulty, you can win by not doing anything.
Online: No online play, just the ability to use two controllers; one as rider, one as bull. That is just fine by me.
Overall Score: 3 (Bad)