Bully: Scholarship Edition Reader Review
I never played Bully on the PS2. So, I'll be discussing the Wii version as if it was a new game.
To sum up the basic feel of the game: Rockstar's Bully plays like a diet version of Rockstar's GTA III.
'Diet' does not mean 'good' in this case. 'Diet' mainly refers to loss of fun.
There are some new features of course. Small features. Some examples: you experience time in a different way as you have classes at certain times during the day and you fall asleep after 2am, exhausted. But whether you choose to actually go to class or bed or ignore it all, it doesn't really make a difference. You can improve certain skills or win items by performing well in class, but nothing too important. And class means mini game. Only the quiz genre (English, geography) is slightly fun and challenging, gym had potential but in the end it was the lacking dodgeball AI of the opponents that killed it, and the remaining classes are completely redundant. There are extra possibilities when interacting with other people in the game world, and while giving a guy a wedgie or pinching a girl's booty is fun the first five times, these interactions are gimmicks. Then you have the multi player, which is ridiculous. Smacked on there at the last moment, for the sake of having a multi player.
Bully's focus isn't exactly the same as GTA either, since melee combat is the core gameplay and short distance vehicles replace the infinite cars. The controls for the fighting do the job, quite decently. One of the few good points. The story on the other hand is weak. A good story is something the game with its very specific environment could have used, though. It should have made the game different. Admitted: some of the dialogue is funny.
The graphics and art aren't something to complain about, but will not deliver a lasting impression either (I know, I know, it's the Wii, but the terms 'photo realistic' and 'impressive' do not have a 100% overlap in the gaming branch).
There's not much positive in this review up till now, and I haven't even come to my main problem with the game... it is too easy. There's not one element that actually forms a challenge, not the missions, not the fights. I guess that is actually one of my pet peeves. When I buy a game, I don't want a nanny, nor do I want something to flush time away with. I want an adventure. Something I have to work on for a bit. This thing, alas, is like cutting warm butter with a surgeon's knife.
When I go over all the facts, there's not a single specific element that I can point out as a complete fuck up by the developers, but as a whole there's not much to be excited about in Bully: Scholarship Edition. The couple things Bully has going for it, do not change the experience that much, as there are a lot of things in Bully that don't have something 'going'. I think that's what the game is aiming for: let's offer a lot of different stuff to the gamer, a whole lot variation in gameplay, and he'll be happy with all the diversion. And there is a lot, I've only touched some of it here in my review. And an open world game should have a lot. For some people a lot of it works, I've seen a couple cheering reviews. But, for me, it didn't work.
6 / 10