IGN Review of PBR: Out of the Chute
Have you ever wanted to experience the excitement of riding a bucking bull without taking on the health risks associated with actually mounting the nearly one-ton beast, being thrown from its back and then being chased down and possibly gored or trampled? Or, conversely, have you ever watched professional bull riding and found yourself cheering for the bull to toss its rider and then add injury to insult? PBR: Out of the Chute is your chance to live the dream. But, how does the visceral experience of bull riding translate into the digital arena?
PBR: Out of the Chute isn't the most ambitious game you'll ever play, far from it. The game is simple: You have the choice to either play as one of the top bull riders on the professional circuit and ride your way into the history books, or play as the most menacing bulls around, bucking riders mercilessly on your way to infamy. Either way, the game's control scheme is incredibly simple and allows gamers to jump right in and compete.
It takes just a couple of minutes to go through PBR's tutorials on how to play as a rider or as a bull. The primary controls are very, very simple -- as a rider you'll move the left stick to keep your rider centered on the bull, or, as a bull, you'll move the left stick to spin and buck to throw your rider (the PC version requires gamers to use a controller). The controls get a little more complex when you graduate from easy to medium difficulty, as you'll need to adjust your grip as a rider to avoid being bucked or to kick as a bull to try and jostle your rider free. And, when you make the jump from medium to hard (in Season Mode) you'll also unlock the ability to use power ups that cause the game to slow down (as a rider, making it easier to stay balanced on the bull) or speed up (as a bull, making it easier to buck your rider).
Gamers who chose to play this title on the Wii will find that it makes minimal use of the Wii remote's motion controls. The only aspect of the game that does is when riders dismount their bull at the end of the 8-second ride limit. A simple upward flick on the remote makes your rider jump off the bull, while a downward flick as he approaches the ground causes him to stick his landing. On the PS2, PSP and PC versions you'll dismount using the X or A button and stick your landing the same way.
PBR's two primary single-player modes are both very simple and straightforward. In "Unlimited Ride" you get a chance to ride a bull for as long as you can – the traditional 8-second time limit is turned off (and, as a bull, you'll get to keep on bucking and kicking until your rider has fallen off). That's the entirety of it. In "Season Mode" you'll make your way through the 10-event PBR season, including the World Finals as you vie for membership in the Millionaires Club.
Either way, Out of the Chute didn't provide enough variety of gameplay to keep me interested for long. Good thing that you can get through an entire season in about 15 minutes (each ride lasts for a maximum of eight seconds and each event affords you attempts at three rides).
The game's Multiplayer Mode doesn't do much to enhance the Out of the Chute experience either. It's the same exact game as the single-player action, except it affords you the opportunity to square-off against your friends in less-than-spectacular rider vs. bull action rather than testing your skills against the CPU. I recruited Contributing Editor Jack DeVries to help me check out the Multiplayer experience and neither of us was able to stomach more than three rounds of gameplay (lasting for a total of about a minute and a half) before we tossed our controllers aside.
"That minute and a half felt like forever," said DeVries.
Out of the Chute has a nice variety of real-life riders, bulls and venues, but that variety is mostly in name. You won't notice any major difference in look or gameplay when you switch between riders, bulls and venues, so the variety doesn't give much of a boost to the gaming experience. PBR also features myriad unlockables, ranging from riders and bulls to venues and videos, but none serve as sufficient motivation to keep you playing this lackluster title.
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