Review

Bully: Scholarship Edition

Reviewed by Shawn Kennedy, Posted on 2008-03-21

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Developer: Rockstar Vancouver Publisher: Rockstar Games
Release Date: March 4, 2008 Also On: PS2 & Wii

First released in 2006 on the PS2, Bully was another controversial title from Rockstar Games where its content seemed to stir up nothing but problems. There were a lot of stores that threatened not to sell Bully because it allowed you to beat up teachers and little kids, supposedly promoting violence towards these groups. This really is not the case of Bully at all. Although I never got to play the PS2 version, I have had the luxury of being able to play through both the Xbox 360 and Wii versions of this game. Lets just say there is more to Bully than just senseless violence.

You will take control of Jimmy Hopkins, a trouble schoolboy from a bad family. His mother and new stepfather drop him off at Bullworth Academy for a year long honeymoon. Bullworth is not exactly the greatest boarding school. The school is a dump and full of cliche rivalries. At the beginning, you are the most hated person at school, as the new kid always is. But as you progress, you try to unite the school by teaching each cliched group a lesson. Of course, your rival Gary wishes to take over and rule the school instead.

Visually, Bully has made a rather large jump from how it first looked on the PS2. The environment is much more textured and detailed. While I would not call it amazing, there is significant improvement. There are a few issues, however, with dropping frame rates and random freeze points in the engine. Rockstar has promised a patch for this, although we still have not seen it as of when this review has been publish. So these issues should be hammered out eventually, but out of the box and for offline users, you will get frustrated a bit by this.

Voice talents in Bully are actually very well done, as are most games by Rockstar. The cast truly brings this crappy boarding school to life. With there being different cliches in the crowd, jocks, preps, geeks, greasers, and drop-outs, each actor portrays their role very well. There really is not much to the sound effects, but the music was rather well done as well. The only problem I have had with it, is that there is not any variety in it like in Grand Theft Auto. Then again, you will not be driving cars or listening to the radio at Bullworth Academy.

I am torn on the game play between the Xbox 360 and Wii. I must say that I enjoyed the way Bully played on the 360 more so than the Wii. I felt as though the Wii controls were very clunky in terms of its combat and I did not enjoy it as much. Some of the classroom mini-games were clunky on the Wii as well. Overall though, Bully plays extremely well, giving you a load of different things to do. Besides attending class, there are a variety of different missions to complete, as well as side missions like paper routes, lawn mower, carnival games, go-kart races, and bike races. There are multiplayer mini games for you to play, but they are offline only. You really will not spend much time there.

The biggest downside with Bully however is the length. You really will only get about 20 hours of solid gameplay out of it. I clocked in at about 13 hours when I finished all of the missions, but there are many side quests and collectibles to find that will keep you busy a while longer. Bully is a fantastic port of the classic PS2 game and a welcome addition to your gaming collection. It really does not add too much to the original, but there is still a lot of fun to be had for those that have not played it yet. If you have not tried Bully before, I highly recommend you pick this one up. I promise you will not regret it.

Graphics: 7
Sound: 9
Gameplay: 8.5
Creativity: 8
Replay Value/Game Length: 8.5
Final: 8.2
Written by Shawn Review Guide

Reviewed by Shawn Kennedy

1039 Views