Sometimes an excellent operating system can be made even better
Rockstar Games Bully: Scholarship Edition
- Fantastic gameplay, lengthy single player mode, hilarious situations
- Underwhelming presentation, imprecise controls
The game's controls were frustrating, which is disappointing because Bully offers incredibly entertaining gameplay that's worthwhile, but the improvements that should have come with the jump to the more powerful Xbox 360 hardware just don't pan out.
Price$ 79.95 (AUD)
Like a high school senior held back a year, Bully: Scholarship Edition graduates onto Xbox 360 a little late. It may get passing marks on gameplay, but issues with the controls and presentation keep it off the honour roll.
The New Kid
Bully plays like a "Saved by the Bell" episode that's been mashed-up with Grand Theft Auto. You're cast as new kid Jimmy Hopkins who's besieged by jocks and geeks alike as they attempt to keep you at the bottom of Bullsworth Academy's pecking order. Between daily classes you take on missions that vary from using a slingshot to knock out football players during practice to assaulting the geeks' observatory hideout, all in the name of upping your status amongst the school's rabble. Of course, you're also free to wander about the Bullsworth campus and adjacent town scouting out collectibles and side missions as well.
It's all good fun – in fact, it's far more enjoyable than any real high school experience could ever be. The opportunity to stick it to the school's bullies and endlessly skip class is a teenage dream come true. Added missions, mini-games, and a new multiplayer mode help extend the hijinks, even if they do little to really enhance the overall game.
Unfortunately, there are some problems. Despite improvements to the graphics, which are noticeable in spots, the Xbox 360's superior hardware doesn't provide smoother performance over the PS2 version and the high-definition polish applied to the textures doesn't cover up jaunty animations and blocky character models.
Also troubling are the game's controls. The left thumbstick, for instance, moves Jimmy at inconsistent speeds. Sometimes he runs when pressed all the way forward and other times he walks. This is particularly frustrating when trying to outrun a school official only to get caught because the game registers your input as walking, not running. Flaws like this make you feel as though the game is bullying you instead of the other way around. It's disappointing really because Bully offers incredibly entertaining gameplay that's worthwhile, but the improvements that should have come with the jump to the more powerful Xbox 360 hardware just don't pan out. Maybe a true new-gen sequel will get things right and graduate at the top of the class?
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