|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 4, 2008||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-2||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Teen||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Adam Brown
Bully, or as I like to call it - Grand Theft Auto Junior, made a huge splash when it was released for the PS2. Many people, including every gamer's favorite lawyer Jack Thompson, were up in arms about the prospects of what a Rockstar game targeted at a younger audience could contain.
As with most of these situations, this was clearly just an overreaction by people who don't really understand anything about video games and fear them because of their overwhelming ignorance about the subject. The original Bully was an excellent sandbox game that was both appropriate for a teenage audience and extremely fun to play. It isn't hard to see why Rockstar would choose to revamp and re-release this game on the next generation consoles (sorry, PS3).
As with the original Bully, the Scholarship Edition will center around Jimmy Hopkins, a troubled youth who is sent to Bullworth Academy against his will. Immediately upon his arrival, he discovers that Bullworth is an extremely hellish school filled with more mean teachers, bullies, and all around jerks than can be counted. Since no one at the school knows you, you will need to build relationships with other students in order to survive. There are several different cliques in Bully, like in real schools, that you will either befriend or annoy depending on what you do. Most of the characters in Bully are over-the-top stereotypes, like the typical disgusting lunch lady, stupid jocks, or rich snobs. While the character design is a little shallow, they do a good job of portraying things that we all remember from our high school days. The story is a decent approximation of what it is like for younger students in this day and age, although it can often seem somewhat over-exaggerated. Still, it is a great story of teenage angst that is quite easy to relate to and will surely satisfy almost anyone who plays through it.
Bully will have you playing through several days in the life of Jimmy. You will wake up every day and attend a couple of classes, then use your evenings to take on any of the slew of missions that are available. You are never actually forced to attend these classes, but if you don't, you won't receive any of the benefits that are gained by completing them. Attending class consists of showing up to the correct room at the correct time and then participating in a mini-game to see if you pass that day's test. Along with all of the classic mini-games that were included in the original Bully, the Scholarship Edition adds some new ones including biology and music. The music mini-game is not very exciting, having you pull the left or right trigger to match falling notes. However, the biology mini-game is quite fun and yet entirely gross at the same time. To complete these classes successfully, you will need to dissect various animals before your time limit runs out. While these surgeries may not have been on par with the likes of Trauma Center, it did work rather well. Dissecting animals virtually is definitely a lot more fun and slightly less disgusting than having to do so in real life.