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Xbox 360 Review: Bully: Scholarship Edition

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Bully is a game from Rockstar Games, who are best known for the Grand Theft Auto series. Bully originally came out on the PlayStation 2; this version is a port of that one. While the game shows its age and its origin, it is surprisingly fun.

Instead of playing as an adult criminal, you play as a juvenile delinquent. You play as Jimmy Hopkins, a young punk who has been kicked out of every school he has ever attended. At the game's start, he is entering into Bulworth Academy, a small private school. He quickly discovers that most of the teachers and students are nastier than he is and bully any below them in social standing. The game follows Jimmy as he strives to become social king of Bulworth by taking over the various cliques.

How do you gain respect from the cliques? Through fetch quests, fights, bike races, stealth missions, and a few other types of gameplay. You can also engage in other activities outside of the story missions such as in-game errands, making out with other students, bike races, playing arcade games, shopping, attending the carnival, and being a general nuisance.

You are also supposed to go to class every morning, but you can skip them if you are not caught. Attending classes can unlock items and clothing and improve your attributes. 

The brawling and racing controls are simple and intuitive. The stealthier missions are not too hard if you have a bit of patience. The controls for the classes are horrendous. All of the classes are minigames. Some are timed button-presses that work fine, but some involve a lot of dragging and dropping items with the control stick. These controls are very unresponsive and frustrating; they seem to have been designed for a mouse rather than an Xbox 360 controller.

The game does not look very good at all. It does not seem like there was any improvement over the PlayStation 2 version. To add insult to injury the game suffers from long load times as well.

Unlike the Grand Theft Auto games, Bully does not feature a massive playlist of licensed music. Instead is only has a few tunes that act more as a score. They are unobtrusive and help set the scenes for the games.

The amount of different voice actors used for the game is staggering. Nearly every single character has a different voice, and there around 100 characters in the game. Each character is a stereotype, but the voice acting is so good it overshadows that.

The story mode is about 10-15 hours long, but if you want to get 100% completion it could take you around 30-35 hours.

While the game is not a looker or a game of the year contender it is surprisingly addictive. I found myself completing errands, egging cars, competing in bike races, and generally messing around instead of advancing the story. There must be something to doing what you sometimes felt like really doing in high school. Bully is definitely worth a play.

 

Bully:Scholarship Edition is rated T (Teen) by the ESRB for Animated Blood, Crude Humor,Language, Sexual Themes,Use of Alcohol and Tobacco, Violence This game can also be found on:Wii

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About Mark Kalriess