Bully Scholarship Edition
Content at a glance:
Computer Platform: Nintendo Wii
Produced by: Rockstar
Price Range: $41-50
Learning curve time: 1-30 min.
Age level: Teen to Adult
ESRB Rating: T (Teen)
Reviewed By: James K Pratt
VOLUNTEER GUEST REVIEWER
Genre: Other Sandbox
Christian Rating: 2 of 5 (poor)
Gameplay: 4 of 5 (good)
Violence: 3 of 5 (mild)
Adult Content: 2 of 5 (heavy)
Bully Scholarship Edition for the Wii is a remake of the original Bully game. Both were created by Rockstar games who made Grand Theft Auto (GTA) series. Like GTA, Bully is a sandbox game in which players are invited to explore the game world and ignore many of the games objectives if they like.
The game centers on Jimmy Hopkins, abandoned at Bullworth Academy as his mother leaves with her new husband on a very long honeymoon cruise. Jimmy has been kicked out of many schools, but Bullworth proves rougher than the rest. He quickly finds that Bullworth lives up to its Latin motto, Canis Canem Edit (Dog Eat Dog) and decides he needs to bring “law and order” to Bullworth.
The original game was released under the title ‘Bully’ in 2006 for the PS2 and met with protest even before its release. Take-Two the parent company of Rockstar implied players would take the roll of a school yard bully. This was not exactly true, in the story line players took the role of a student fighting against school bullies. Jack Thomas a Florida Lawyer said the game was a “Columbine simulator,” but this is not true. In the game Jimmy Hopkins doesn’t use guns or kill anyone. Bully is rated T (Teen) meaning it’s suitable for people as young as 13. Note this game may not be a “Columbine Simulator” but it has content many parents will not approve of.
While there are numerous activities for players, at the start you can only travel around the school campus. Which is fine since it’s fairly big and no shortage of options for players; you can choose to skip class and sneak into the girls dorm, or play penalty shots with a kid who taunts you to hit him with a soccer ball, you can find rubber bands or collectable cards laying around, break into people’s lockers, beat up bullies or even be a bully, or if you like you can take one of the many classes. Once you pass the first chapter you get to go into town and more options open up to you.
The classes are perhaps one of the most interesting features. Each subject is a mini games and are varied, for example art requires quick reflexes while others like English require you to make words out of a limited set of letters. The game rewards passing a lesson with new items or skills.
Time is a very important feature in this game. Certain missions will be available anytime and others may be done only after dark. Also the passage of seasons is shown by snow during the winter quarter.
Playing with the Wii mote makes the game a joy. Each controller represents a fist so all that is required to punch is a thrust of a controllers. So don’t be surprised if you break a sweet as with other Wii games. I found some advanced fighting moves rather difficult to perform.
The game play did fall a bit short in one area. Although the game is generally fun I found many of the challenges where easy, allowing me to breeze through. Despite my generally effortless progress the game was enjoyable if only because the characters are interesting and the game play is open ended and worth playing to completion.
It should be noted that the XBox 360 version of Scholarship Edition has been widely criticized for its numerous flaws, the game crashes easily. Given the choice between the XBox 360 version and the Wii I recommend the more stable Wii version.
Depending on what you’re doing the music will change. For example Jimmy passes out at 2:00 AM, to the sound of slow music, unless he goes to bed. While on bikes the system plays another tune. The bully theme tune plays through most of the game, but it didn’t feel repetitious. All the music was well composed.
Though it may have been added as a joke, Jimmy Hopkins can kiss a male bully in the game. The feature is not referred to in the manual or in the in-game instructional sessions, but the option is given when you try to interact with that character. Students will dare you to shove others into lockers or trash cans and town folk might encourage you to vandalize cars.
Also Jimmy shows a great deal of disrespect to adults in the game. The principal and his assistant speaks down Jimmy from the beginning and he talks back to them throughout. There is also a subplot where the gym teacher flirts with students and shops for porn but, the material is not shown in the game.
The game is not without positive elements. Jimmy helps a kind teacher fight alcoholism. For all the bad adult role models Jimmy meets a number of respectable teachers. He does stand up for those getting picked on which is part of the story line mission and the general game. In the end Jimmy helps restore order to the school to the principal's approval.
The overall theme is about standing up against bullies in a very fallen game world. But the game shows violence as the primary way to solve problems. Bully is more mild that its Grand Theft Auto cousin, yet the protagonist can still be a thug at the gamers whim. Though its rated T for teen many Christian parent will not want there teenagers playing this game. Wii players who like sandbox games may want to give this one a look.
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Year of Release — 2008
[tags] 3.5 stars, Other, Nintendo Wii, T (Teen), Rockstar [/tags]
Disclaimer: The opinions expressed in this Spotlight review are those of the reviewer (both ratings and recommendations), and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Eden Communications or the Christian Answers Network.
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