|System: X360, Wii||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Rockstar Vancouver||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Rockstar Games||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: March 3, 2008||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Teen||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
Despite all that Bully: Scholarship Edition has going for it, it's not really worth a purchase unless it offers an improvement upon the original Bully. And thankfully, it does. There are four new classes to participate in (which translates into four new mini-games), and the controls have obviously been revamped to take surprisingly good advantage of the unique Wii Remote functionality. Fighting is a lot more fun, intuitive, and responsive than it was in the PS2 game, which essentially involved a bunch of button mashing. Shaking the Wii Remote or Nunchuk will throw punches with your right or left hands respectively. You can grab things (or people) with a tap of the Z button while simultaneously reaching out with your left hand. Little combinations can be formed even with these simple controls; for example, grab a kid, push him into a locker, and then throw a couple of quick punches to put him out of commission.
Graphically, Scholarship Edition is a bit disappointing, only because there's no real improvement over the PS2 version of the game. I'm sure if you played the PS2 and Wii versions side-by-side, you'd find a couple of minute differences and improvements on the Wii side, but it's nothing that's all that noticeable. On the other hand, the sound is surprisingly good, with some entertaining and immersive sound effects and good voice acting that complement some decent-looking cutscenes.
Finally, there's a multiplayer component to wrap things up, but sadly it really doesn't bring a whole lot to the table. No, you can't traverse Bullworth Academy with the help of a friend; instead, you can engage in some competition over the title's mini-games. Sure, it's fun, but it's a pretty shallow collection especially compared to some of the titles out there that are solely mini-game compilations. Additionally, the developers didn't even bother to include all of the main game's mini-games in this multiplayer mode. As a result, it suffers just from being far too shallow to be any fun for much more than a half-hour or so, and serves as nothing more than a quick distraction from the real meat of the game.
It's by no means perfect, as there are certainly some areas in which Scholarship Edition could have been significantly improved, but I personally feel that this version of the game is superior to the version released two years prior. That said, while Scholarship Edition is a better game, the extra content and much-improved controls simply don't warrant a fifty-dollar purchase from somebody who's already played the PS2 version of Bully. But if you haven't, and you're looking for a fun, engaging, and lengthy Wii gaming experience, it's certainly tough to go wrong with Bully: Scholarship Edition.
CCC Freelance Writer