Bully: Scholarship Edition

This was definitely a game I was hesitant about purchasing (and not for the ridiculous negative press this game has received – honestly I think that if Rockstar released Tetris it would be accused of sending a bad message to our younger gamers!) but because it is yet another GTA clone. Sure enough some have done well (Crackdown was certainly a very enjoyable game) but with so many similar titles on the market I wasn’t sure the 360 needed one more. I gave it a chance on the grounds that if anyone can make a memorable GTA clone it’s got to be Rockstar themselves…and I am thoroughly glad I did.

The game starts you off as Jimmy, young tearaway, ditched by his Mum and new hubby whilst they honeymoon for a year (nice for some, eh?) and put in a private school that is in fact even more overrun with delinquents than his old school. So Jimmy does what any naughty school boy would do when there are worse people around – start a mission to clean up the school!

The game is set in chapters and the first gives a fairly linear impression of the game. You can’t leave school grounds and with strict curfew it takes some impressive ninja skills to get things done after curfew at this point. Your day consists of two classes which take the form of brain training tests. These range from easy (adding chemicals at the right time) to downright ludicrous (anyone for geography of the American states?) but each class does give you a reward when passed, and we’re not talking a gold star here, a supply of stink bombs becomes available in your room for passing one class.

After the first chapter you find yourself able to leave school grounds and free periods start to crop up if you manage to clear out some classes. This leaves you free to play truant at the fairground, egg the town hall, buy choccies for your loved one, or just wreck havoc by completing some of the missions that now become available. Like GTA the area you can roam in starts off fairly small but as chapters progress you are able to obtain more hideouts and more areas to explore.

Ah, collectibles. We all love them to start with but when you only have 5 or so left to find they can drive even the most hardened gamer insane which is why Rockstar have kindly put in rewards for Geography classes as mapping where collectibles are on your map. This makes what could easily be the most frustrating part of the game far more bearable and certainly gives you more of a chance of obtaining all the achievements.

For a game so surrounded by controversy for violence I must say there is nothing horrific and as the game progresses there is less and less need to even hit anyone. I’m not saying you can’t if you don’t want to, but generally you’ll just find in trouble with the teachers. The fighting system is simple to pick up with many of the moves you can learn unnecessary but aesthetically pleasing to some, just make sure no ones looking first!

The one definite criticism with this game is that even after the patch was released to stop the game from crashing there is still a major problem with the errands. This may not bother those who simply want to rent it for a weekend but for the completionists out there it can cause a problem. In many places errands will stop appearing at all with the only answer being to save and run back to where the errand should be and repeat until
a) insane or
b) the errand finally pops up.







6 responses to “Bully: Scholarship Edition”

  1. Tony avatar

    Oh dear – it seems you and I can’t agree on anything! I bought this as it seemed like my kind of game, ie. quite like GTA. But I found the classes really restrictive – the free roaming was spoiled for me by the fact that you were constantly supposed to be in class or in your dormitory. It was sort of fun, but I quickly tired of being caught and locked up all the time, and simply gave up…

  2. Simes avatar

    You just need to stick at it. Once you complete a class you no longer have to be in school while it’s on, and most of them also give useful bonuses. By the time you’ve unlocked most of the world the classes ought to be a distant memory.

  3. Tony avatar

    Fair comment. I’ll maybe go back to it and give it another bash when I’ve finished with GTA IV.

    Which may be *some* time yet…

  4. Simes avatar

    It occurred to me that for all the talk of how Rockstar’s games promote bad behaviour, in Bully you really get on better if you actually *don’t* play truant. 🙂

  5. James avatar

    I would get it… If it wasnt for the teeny tiny fact I own the PS2 version already 😛

    Anything to actually reccomend it to the PS2 peeps who already own the original?

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