Will Preston

Bully: Scholarship Edition

by on Feb.05, 2008, under Review, Video Games

Bully

Wayne Rooney: The boarding school years

Bully: Scholarship Edition is the 360 port of sandbox action game. As with other games from developers RockStar Games, Bully was surrounded with a degree of controversy as it allowed the player to take control as a schoolboy with options to commit acts of violence and vandalism.

Players take control of wayward teen, Jimmy Hopkins, a rough ginger thug with some morals. Jimmy’s estranged mother dumps her son at the gates of Bullworth academy, worst school in the country, and is immediately escorted to the principals office for a harsh talking to about Jimmy’s reputation as a thug.

Now a student at Hogwarts, I mean Bullworth, Jimmy has his own room at the boy’s dorm where he can save his game, sleep and, after progressing in the game, pick up weapons and supplies as well as change his clothes.

From here on the story follows the similar rags to riches narrative, only instead of a mob infested city, it’s a boarding school with a host of colourful characters. Colourful is probably to best describe them as they follow the similar gang motives seen in GTA.

Gameplay is ripped straight from GTA with no real changes. An interesting twist with the progression is the lesson system (we are in a school, remember). A lesson in the morning and a lesson in the afternoon ranging across several subjects will be required unless you want the prefects after you (Bully’s version of the police).

Bully gives a slightly fresh experience but falls into the similar trap that many GTA clones have tumbled down in terms of originality and clunky controls. Slow down occurs at a variety of times causing your grip of controlling Jimmy to loosen as he runs straight into a prefect instead of jumping over a fence to escape.

The characters seem to be pretty two dimensional; at times I thought I was watching a toned downed episode of Skins. Bully seems to be trying to do a lot of things at once that the player often feels like they are working to uncover the story rather then play a game.

With the major bad points aside, there were a few moments of genuine joy. Finishing off your opponents in a fight with an almighty wedgie or a Chinese burn has a nostalgic feel to it, which is probably the games hook. Not too original but worth a rent at least.

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