This title was reviewed on Xbox One, but is also available on PS4.
There’s no denying that at this point if there’s a sport, there’s a game of it. Wrestling has WWE 2K, football has FIFA and PES, Golf had Tiger Woods PGA Tour, and Tennis had Virtua Tennis. While a lot of these sports are popular and warrant the demand for a game, I have not once in my 20 years on this planet heard someone ask for a bull-riding game. Don’t ask and you shall still receive, as 8 to Glory is here, the official game of the Professional Bull Riders. Does this obscure sport spawn an obscure gem? Or is it a load of bull? Let’s find out.
Right away, the graphics are rather mediocre. Textures are muddy and rider models are poor. Any would-be neat effects are also ruined, such as the ‘PBR’ written on the ground in fire at the beginning of each event, while it can be a cool effect, the fire looks so poor it makes the fire sprites in Duke Nukem 3D look like a real inferno. The models of the bulls are the highlight of the game, as they do look decently detailed with their veins and the like, there’s no 3D hair, it’s just part of the textures, but it’s something.
As expected, the game has you riding bulls, and it’s about as simple as it sounds. You have 3 game modes: career, arcade, and multiplayer. Career has you go through 20+ events riding bulls, arcade has you riding bulls, and multiplayer has you riding bulls against other players. Yeah, there’s no real difference between the modes, which can make the game feel repetitive, but trust me, you haven’t seen nothing yet.
The gameplay is very basic. Once you get into an event, you have to build up your grip by pressing the A button at the right time, three times, and you can redo it if you don’t get enough grip. After that, you and the bull are released, and you have to maintain balance by timing your RB button presses and tilting the analogue stick left and right. After that, you have to pull off a combo, in which you press the four face buttons in the right rhythm like Guitar Hero. After 8 seconds, the ride ends and you move onto the next event, being scored on your performance. And…. That’s it. Every event is the same basic formula I’ve just described with almost no variation, and this glorified quick-time event gets old very fast. The only time it varies comes from the different stats the bulls and riders have, but it’s a barely noticeable change.
There is another element to 8 to Glory, but it’s not a good one: LOOT PACKS. Yep, there’s loot packs in this game, allowing you to earn cosmetic items and level-up cards for your riders. While it doesn’t make the game pay-to-win, and the packs are very easy to earn, there’s still that RNG factor that hinders it, because the level-up cards being in said packs means that the one person who watches PBR and has a favourite rider may not be able to main that rider because he doesn’t have the level up cards necessary to keep up with other riders, which sucks.
8 to Glory is rather decent from an audio standpoint thankfully. Commentary is decent, the crowd cheering is good and does the job well, and the sound effects of the bulls are well-done. The soundtrack, while not my cup of tea, fits the game well with plenty of country tracks that fit the bull-riding scene like a glove.
8 to Glory is not good, at all. The graphics are mediocre (apart from the bulls), and the gameplay is practically non-existent. Every event is one glorified QTE that lasts about 15 seconds and the three modes are all exactly the same. The stats of the bulls and the riders also have little effect, meaning the game just feels the same constantly. The icing on the cake is the loot packs, and while they aren’t pay-to-win, the RNG in the level-up cards can upset the handful of fans of the PBR who want to play as their favourite rider but can’t level them up as they don’t have the cards. Some well-done audio doesn’t save this absolute kick in the guts.