Bully Scholarship Edition
Gameplay - 8
Presentation - 7
Story/Creativity - 7
Lifespan - 8
Fans of Rockstar games will enjoy this even if it is just a dumbed down version of Grand Theft Auto. It is definitely aimed at a younger audience but the in game humor will bring a smile to anyones face. Bully Scholarship Edition isn't a grade A student, but a it's a solid performer in the class. School has never been so much fun.
Bully Scholarship Edition follows the story of Jimmy
Hopkins and his last chance of salvation at Bullworth academy. Jimmy has been expelled from numerous schools following a turbulent personal life. Now is his chance to go from being a bully to taking them down.
Each in game act follows Jimmy taking down each faction in the school. The underlying plot follows Jimmys struggle to remain a student in the school with certain people conspiring against him.
Bully Scholarship Edition plays and feels very much like all Rockstar games such as Grand Theft Auto and Red Dead Redemption. The game is predominantly set in the third person perspective. The camera is generally ok, aside from when riding a bike when even the slightest pressure on the analogue stick reverts to a view looking behind Jimmy, making navigation a pain. In the bike race and go kart sections, this can lead to unnecessary crashes resulting in mission failure.
The difficulty is not particularly challenging. It’s almost like a watered down version of Grand Theft Auto. This is most likely due to the lower age rating and audience the game is aimed at. Veterans of other Rockstar games will breeze through the campaign missions with only select sections offering a genuine challenge. An example would be the mission protecting the nerds fort from invasion, where if one jock gets through its game over. Frustrating is an understatement.
The control mechanics are very much like previous Rockstar games. The only glaring annoyance is when riding a skateboard, even bumping a kerb spins the board around, which when on a timed mission, can lead to some very angry outbursts. The overall layout of the game is clear and concise. It’s not a massive game world, each part of the town has its own collectables, bike races, missions and so forth. It’s nowhere near Grand Theft Auto size, but for a game like this, that would be unnecessary
There is good variety in the missions and side quests. There is a mixture of stealth, fighting, racing and plenty of rewards. These range from funny clothing to better taunts depending what task you complete. The weapons are funny versions of what would be in the grand theft auto games, with spud cannons and fire crackers being among the most amusing. The auto aim can be a bit temperamental at times but that only tends to happen when multiple enemies are on screen at once.
Graphically Bully Scholarship Edition shows its age compared to modern releases. Then again it was released in 2008 so this is forgivable. The same characters are recycled, so you will see a certain nerd in a cut scene, then see the same nerd at least 3 or 4 times wandering around the school or town within minutes of each other. Each town looks similar to the previous and traveling about during missions can get tedious with the same recycled scenery.
The soundtrack is minimal but when it does kick in, usually during a mission, it does the job. All Foley effects are spot on and the voice acting does well to give certain to voices to certain factions. The posh group have a posh tone to their voices, the jocks have deep grunting voices showing lack of intelligence and so forth. It does make you think that they do resemble the stereotypical faction they represent.
The map is easy to navigate and map markers when on missions are clear and always where they should be. There can be slow down and lag when things heat up on screen which can be frustrating. This does not last long mind and does not cause any problems such as freezing of the game. The unlockable costumes are genuinely funny at times and the in game arcade games such as nutshot do provide additional entertainment.
There is plenty to do in Bully Scholarship Edition. In total over the 5 acts there are 75 story missions. On top of this there are the 14 bike races, 8 go-kart races, 56 errands and a ridiculous amount of classes to finish. Then there are the collectables, with 72 rubber bands and 40 game cards to find. To 100% the game there are also additional tasks to tick off such as pulling the fire alarm twenty times and completing all paper round and lawn mowing tasks.
For the Xbox 360 there are 38 achievements worth 1000G to complete. Alongside the standard complete each act and finish all bike race achievements there are some more imaginative ones. These include knocking out 200 enemies, riding 50km on the skateboard and playing each carnival game once to name but a few. Some of these are very tedious to grind to the required amount but it isn’t too hard to get 100% completion. A time of around 30hours would probably be sufficient.
There is also a multiplayer mode to play however this is pretty much redundant now and no achievements relate to playing it, but it is there.