Review: Bully: Scholarship Edition

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Bully: Scholarship Edition is the XBOX 360 and Wii port of the problem-plagued 2006 PlayStation 2 title: Canis Canem Edit (Latin for ‘Dog Eat Dog’) with a few added extras. These extras include eight new missions, four new classes, four new characters, two player mini-games and achievements. Read on to discover whether Bully: Scholarship Edition is a great addition to your collection, or whether it should be expelled.

Players control 15-year-old Jimmy Hopkins, a mischievous teenager expelled from at least seven schools, who has been sent to Bullworth Academy boarding school after a falling out with his mother and his new step-dad who are off on a honeymoon for a year. The first cut scene of Jimmy in the back of his car with his mother and step-dad in the front driving to Bullworth Academy is a very good indication of how amazing the storyline is. Bully: Scholarship Edition has great dialogue, some of the best characters you will come across in any game, good plots and hilarious jokes.

At Bullworth Academy, Jimmy must fit into one of the four groups: Greasers, Jocks, Nerds and Preps. Every task or errand Jimmy completes, earns and loses respect in each of these groups, as well as earning him money. Tasks and errands involve activities such as putting chocolates into someone’s locker and sticking however many kick-me signs on people’s backs as he can. Nothing like you’d get in Harry Potter and the Order of the Pheonix. Amidst all the tasks and errands are the various school lessons. The lessons involve completing a mini-game related to the lessons’ subject and each subject is made up of five lessons which get progressively harder. Completing a lesson rewards players with upgrades and clothing which can be used in order to make tasks around the school easier. Personally I don’t particularly enjoy the lessons but there area few achievements which can be gained from them so it’s worth having a go at them.

The subjects in the game are; Art, Biology, Chemistry,English, Geography, Gym, Maths, Music, Photography and Shop. The Art classes involve drawing lines avoiding enemies to create boxes. Biology involves dissecting animals using pins, scalpels, forceps and a magnifying glass. Chemistry requires players to press the corresponding buttons when it reaches the highlighted rectangle. English requires players to create words out of the given letters. Geography gets players to place the correct flag on the correct country on the world map. Gym is either wrestling (on the odd lesson numbers) or dodge ball (on the even lesson numbers). Maths is simply selecting the correct answers to the questions. Music is similar to Chemistry but using the triggers. Photography is simply taking photographs around the school for a yearbook and finally Shop classes involves mending vehicles from bikes to cars by moving thumb sticks and pressing buttons.

Jimmy doesn’t have to attend the lessons if he doesn’t want to though failure to attend is truancy and if players are caught by prefects within the school or the police, they’ll be forced to attend the lesson. Outside of school gives the game a Grand Theft Auto style as players can roam around the streets on a bike or skateboard looking for jobs/tasks and rubber bands (for Jimmy’s rubber band ball). Furthermore, Jimmy can also lock pick a locker by rotating the thumb stick the way the arrow commands, flirt and kiss with the ladies (and boys) by giving them gifts of flowers and/or chocolates, finding radio transistors for the hobo behind the old school bus whose is a new fight move, humiliating someone by placing a ‘Kick Me’ sign on their back and giving students wedgies. Alternatively, you could always study in the library… thought not.

Dotted around the game are Arcade machines which are similar to some XBOX Live Arcade titles available. There’s a wide variety from Racing to Sumo Wrestling. Whilst they aren’t very entertaining, they can unlock some content so it’s worth having a go. The amount of outfits players can choose from in the game is incredible. There are everyday outfits such as pyjamas and school uniforms to more extreme outfits such as a Halloween outfit and a Ninja Costume. Players can even buy more outfits and clothing from the shop in the school and unlock clothing after completing certain lessons.

The controls on the game are pretty simple to get the hang of. Y is your action button to open doors and start tasks/errands, X and B are your attack buttons and A is your run/sprint button. Your weapon can be changed using the bumpers and fired using the right trigger. As players progress through the game, you will learn more combinations for fighting which are just simple combinations of X, B and Y unlike certain XBOX 360 titles with more complicated fighting combinations…

The game is split into six fairly long chapters – completing all the tasks within the chapter allow you to move on and unlocks you an achievement. The achievements in Bully: Scholarship Edition require players to play the game a lot so a quick rental isn’t ideal. Rockstar were also quite mean and included an achievement to get 20 kisses from the gents… maybe that is one achievement that should never be unlocked!