Bully: Scholarship Edition – PC
Developer: Rockstar New England
Publisher: Rockstar Games
Release Date: October 21st, 2008 (North America, PC)
Nerd Rating: 7 out of 10
Have you ever wanted to punch that jock that steals your lunch money every day, or perhaps you’ve wanted to be a bully yourself and punch a nerd? Well, that is now possible in High School Simulator 2008, err.. Bully: Scholarship Edition! This controversial game is brought to us by none other than that company that can’t release a game without it being controversial, Rockstar Games! (That’s why we love them, right?)
First thing I’d like to talk about is the story. Like most Rockstar games, the story was rather boring and it was much more fun to go around creating chaos in Bullworth Academy (the school in which you attend.) That being said, if you buy the game, play the campaign and side missions just because you can. It may not be the most fun you’ve had gaming, but it’s not so bad that you shouldn’t touch it. The story is small, and won’t take up too much of your time. I’d say it takes about 15-20 hours (it took me 20 hours, but I don’t even pretend to be good at gaming.) Not to mention, by playing the story you will receive money and unlocks for which you can buy clothing, vehicles, and other ways to wreak havoc on your poor fellow students. If good for nothing else, the story will give you a few laughs here and there.
One thing I feel like many people misunderstand about Bully: Scholarship Edition, is that it is not Grand Theft Auto and it is only rated T. The game does not have blood, killing, or vehicle jacking. However, the game does have fighting, and weapons like slingshots and potato cannons. The game has police and other authority figures like teachers and prefects; however, they will not kill you, they will simply restrain you and you will be “busted.” In no way does that make this game kid friendly though, as warned by the rating T.
The gameplay of Bully: Scholarship Edition isn’t terrible, but it isn’t amazing either. For one, the controls are simply annoying and I feel they could’ve done a better job porting it to the PC. I feel like ports shouldn’t be obvious, but you can so easily tell that the game was ported from the Wii, and 360. The port is primarily obvious due to the game’s terrible controls and lack of key-binding options. It’s also very reflective in the fact that the game allows you to play using a 360 controller, and also in the lack of modding capabilities (shame, it has so much potential), which are generally present in Rockstar games. At the initial PC release of Bully: Scholarship Edition, the game was said by many critics to be barely playable. Thankfully, Rockstar did fix the major problems with the original port. Bully: Scholarship Edition is also missing waypoints, which made me tend to get lost more than once, a lot more than once. Needless to say, the game annoyed me more than it should have when I played it. The game encourages you to go to the classrooms by adding mini-games which in turn act as your classes. While the mini-games are sometimes fun, they do get boring and repetitive per class, and really don’t encourage you to attend class. One of these mini-games includes animal dissection, which honestly makes me sick. As an animal lover, I don’t like killing animals or seeing dead ones, even in games. I did two of the dissection missions and then they became too much, and I will not touch them.
This review has been pretty hostile towards the game, so now it’s time to talk about the major good quality of Bully: Scholarship Edition, and why it has such a decently positive nerd rating. While the graphics of the game were pretty ugly and definitely not a strong point, the detail put into this game is simply amazing. You can tell the staff put so much time and thought into the small details, and that is what made the game worth it, in my opinion. Not counting the adults, there are 60 unique NPC students attending Bullworth Academy. Each NPC you meet has it’s own name, personality, unique appearance, and a unique dialogue that makes their personality very obvious. As you travel the land of Bullworth, from the Academy to the Asylum, you will hear the student NPCs having conversations that are quite funny due to each unique dialogue and how they merge together. I also respect the money that went into voice acting, as each character has it’s own voice. The NPC students are programmed to simulate the average high school day, as they proceed around campus going to class/playing hooky, engaging in fights with each other, playing sports, shopping in the town, etc. As you progress through the game, the seasons change and you can celebrate the holidays. The students will dress up for Halloween and can be found warm and cozy during the winter with their winter clothes.
I’ve made it very clear that Bully: Scholarship Edition is not my favorite game, but at the same time, I feel like you are missing out on a good experience if you have not played this game. The Scholarship Edition has added missions, NPCs, classes, and items to the game, however, in my opinion, they are not worth re-buying the game if you have already completed the older version on the Ps2. The graphics may not be the prettiest you’ve ever seen, and the controls surely aren’t going to be your favorite, but the pure amount of detail and time that went into this game shouldn’t be ignored or looked past. Upon release, this game was already at a disadvantage due to being released on the Ps2 after the newer generation had already started, and Xbox 360 games were on the rise. All that being said, I must admit, I do look forward to the hinted(1) sequel(2).
Do you agree with my review on Bully: Scholarship Edition? Perhaps you feel that I am completely wrong? Feel free to add your own opinions in the comments!
Share This Post