Many different games in the recent past have had HD remakes and re-releases on the next console generation, but very few are as successful and simply brilliant as Bully: Scholarship Edition. When the game was released for PS2 and PC it looked like nothing more than Grand Theft Auto in high school but as soon as the player enters the walls of Bullworth Academy they discover an entirely new franchise with new gameplay and an interesting story. The Scholarship Edition (released on PS3, PC, Wii and XBOX 360) added new classes, teachers and of course improved graphics. Whether it’s attending all the classes, completing all the minigames, chilling at the fair or fighting through the story to take over the school; Bully is full of things to do.
Whilst most games use classes to teach the player new moves or abilities, Bully has lessons that are QTE’s or puzzles and are actually fun! The customisable outfits and new abilities unlocked by the classes make your character the schoolyard hero he is. For completing Art class you earn bonus health every time you’re kissed. Shop class unlocks better bikes; English improves your ability to taunt or apologise to others; Gym unlocks better slingshot accuracy and so on…
If going to class is not your style or you simply can’t remember the geography of Asia and don’t feel like bringing up a map on Google, then you can just bunk off and explore the vast open world around you. Throughout Bullworth there are many different activities, from races and paper rounds to throwing water bombs off rooftops and visiting the fairground. All of these distractions are fun and give you cool new things to play with whether it is new clothes, attack bonuses or the unlockable scooter and go-kart from the fairground. These help kit out Jimmy with new toolls to help him beat down the bullies and take over Bullworth Academy. The story missions are relatively easy, either racing from one point to another for some reason or beating up every student that gets in your way; they are, however, amazingly fun.
The greatest selling point for Bully is that it is fun, the writing is expertly done and there are literally thousands of small and hilariously funny incidents, whether it’s a random comment from a passing student about what you’re wearing or when you kiss two girls near each other and they start fighting over Jimmy. These small laughs happen all of the time and throughout the game you will find yourself smiling at some of the most random events and the brilliant actions/comments made during cutscenes in story missions.
The gameplay itself is simple and focuses mainly on melee (you play as a kid for god sake) as you punch and kick your way through masses of fellow students. There are weapons you can use to add to the hilarity and the bodycount. These include: explosive firecrackers, a firework launcher, stink bombs, marbles and a lethal rubber band ball. These weapons are mainly used for bosses or having fun though as the two main combat techniques used throughout the game are the melee and the catapult. Both can put a bully on their arse in seconds and can easily take down an army of nerds, jocks, preppies, greasers or townies in the right hands.
Once you have completed the main story missions of the game and MILD SPOILER ALERT
Jimmy is king of the school and Gary has been expelled SPOILER OVER you are given an ‘Endless Summer Mode’ where you can fully explore Bullworth and complete any classes you couldn’t before, find all of the rubber bands or G+G cards scattered around the map or general find every little collectible or complete every single distraction for Jimmy. This will keep you entertained for nearly as many hours as the main story and lets you mess around in the wonderful world of Bullworth.
A MUST HAVE GAME for anyone’s collection, for the price (£11.99 on XBOX Marketplace) it’s an essential addition and is more than overdue a sequel.