Bully: Scholarship Edition review
Second Time's a Charm
-Town and School
-Size of School is small
Rockstar is a controversial company that makes good games. They are most well-known for the Grand Theft Auto franchise, which has been under heavy scrutiny over the "Hot Coffee" mod that was found in the game years ago. Now after that, they made another controversial game, called "Bully", which had critics thinking this would teach kids to bully others. When it came out, it was a mini version of GTA. No blood, but the kind of violence that would be expected from high schoolers in real life. It still only had a T rating, and wasn't bad. Now, they decide to port it to the other company consoles that didn't get it. Here comes Bully: Scholarship Edition.
The base game is like GTA, you roam around in a sand box style game, where you do missions. Simple. But of course, the game is far from that. Let's start with game play. You can use weapons, and your fists to hurt people, and knock them out. The weapons aren't guns or knives, they are bottle rockets, and slingshots, things that kids use. In GTA, you could do what the title says, commit grand theft auto. In Bully it's a bit different. After the second chapter, you can go into the town. People there ride bikes and mopeds, and you can jack those, not cars.
The characters in this game feel like they are real. There aren't thousands of the same clone going around, there are different kids and teachers that have their own personality. You can interact with them, talk, compliment, mock, and yes, bully. There are five different cliques in the game, the Nerds, Bullies, Jocks, Greasers (think Grease), and Preps. There are also little kids, girls that don't belong to different groups, and the Townies, or dropouts. Each one of these groups, except the Bullies, have their own chapter, where you have to try to bring them down, and be their new leader, which ties into the story...
The story is simple, you are Jimmy Hopkins, a fifteen year-old boy whom just had his mother married again to a rich prick that he doesn't care about. They go on their honeymoon, and leave Jimmy at a boarding school, Bullworth Academy, which is in Bullworth the town. He must go to classes and try to fit in. He makes a new "friend" named Gary. Gary says he wants to take over the school, and needs Jimmy's help. During the first chapter, you help Gary go on the take over the school. You start beating people up, and making sure they don't talk back. You befriend the nerd group, and at the end of the chapter, Gary betrays you and has you fight the biggest bully in school, Russell. After all of that misunderstanding, you are now friends with the Bullies and the Nerds. In the nest chapter, you have the take over the Preps, Greasers, Jocks, Townies, and eventually you face off with Gary.
Just like in any sandbox game, you gets to roam around the town, and do other missions that aren't apart of the story. The school is the only place you can go for the first chapter, but like any GTA game, the sections of the town open up with each chapter that passes. When you're not in any mission or classes, you can go into town and vandalize, fight, play games, race, buy clothes, explore the town, and many other things. If you do decide to do things that aren't morally right, then your trouble meter goes up, and the prefects/cops try to catch you. If they do, you can get out if your trouble meter isn’t in red, but if you can't escape, then they take you back to school, or give you detention, and take away all of your weapons.
The audio in this game is very well done. In GTA games, you could listen to the radio while driving around. Since Jimmy can only ride bikes, he can't, but the music is still great. There are great bass-lines in it, and has a very jazzy feel to it. During different times of the day, there are different themes playing. The off bike music is different from the on bikes which is different from the off bike nighttime, and so on.
Some new features to the Scholarship Edition are some new classes. The classes are minigames that are played five times with increasing difficulty. There are fun ones like Biology, Music, Geography, and some are painstakingly difficult, like English, Math, and Art. When you complete them, you win different clothes or upgrades. Some are more useful than others. When you complete Art for the final time, you can now not give a girl flowers and still have a 100% kissing bonus when you kiss her. Math's are stupid, you get some useless clothing that you will never wear.
The replay value to this game is great. After you get 100% completion for the game, you can play the main story line again and feel like it's new. The actual 100% completion for this game can take awhile, so while you're trying to make enough money to get all of the clothes in the game, you forget about some of the missions and want to play them again.
There are also some races in this game, like the GTA's. But you race on bikes of course. There are several races per part of town, starting with seven in the Vale, and ending with one in the school. You earn a lot of money through the races, and they are fun enough to distract you from some mission that you may be having problems with. The one problem with the bike races is the catch-up AI. Once you have the moped, you surely must be destroying the kids that are on the second worst bikes in the game, but no. They are just as fast as you, and if you make one mistake at the end, you will lose. Aside from bike races, there are eight go-kart races. There are five that start in the carnival, and then three in different spots in the town. The first five are hard, since the competitors seem to have no trouble turning on a dime, while the last three are very easy, since there is no catch-up AI. Once you complete the eight go-kart races, you unlock it to stroll around town in.
Now to the negatives. The graphics are bad, just as to expect from giant game like this that is still only a port. The animations are choppy and there are glitches of course.
The size of the school is very small. All of the building looks impressive from the outside, but when you get in, they're cramped. The main building looks like it has about twenty stories on it, and it only has two when you get inside. There are only about eight actual buiding in the campus, but all small.
The multiplayer is very disappointing. I expected a great game where you can have your friends play as different character and cause mayhem around the town. Sadly, that is not the case. You and one other play the class minigames. That's it, nothing else. The minigames by themselves are fun, but not when you have another player playing them when it is clearly meant for one.
All in all, this is a great bargain of a game. You get a very long game that has great replay value, and can keep you entertained for a very long time.
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