Review by Anynonymous3
Do you really need to read this to know the game is good?
Well, do you? I'm like the last person to write a review for this game. Plus, everyone has high scores for this game, so you know it's alright. But anyway, you're reading this, so lets get on with the review.
First and foremost, this game has great storytelling. You would not believe how well the story is told throughout the game. Each part of the game is divided into chapters, six in all, with the last chapter being a free-roaming sand-box mode. When you make a transition from one chapter to the next, you get a briliantly voiced narraration of what's going on. Plus, the seasons change as the chapters do as well, showing real progression. Your character is Jimmy Hopkins, another seemingly typical "all muscle/no brains" kinda kid. He's been kicked out of several schools, has been through about six step-fathers, and is always getting the rough end of a deal. no wonder the openning scene shows Jimmy arguing with yet another step-father his mother has married. Because he has a snotty attitude about the situation, his parents send him to Bullworth academy, one of, or even the worst schools in the town. Heck, as soon as the game starts, two bullies come up to Jimmy's face, and you are given the freedom of doing whatever you want (running from them, giving them money, threatening back, fighting them). Either way, you ultimately have to go the the principal's office as the first mission of the game. Seeing at how displaced the school is, and also how much cliques bully each other, Jimmy is upset by it. Going to his dorm, he meets Gary, whose character will not be explained because of spoilers. Anyway, a few missions in, and Gary sends Jimmy on a accidental mission (Jimmy's accident) to conquer the school so everyone can be in harmony, which to him seems like a great plan. And the beautiful story starts from there.
The Gameplay is so vastly improved over GTA, that if GTA IV doesn't control better than Bully, R* is really screwing around. There is so much more interaction with the environment in Bully that is is dissapointing to go back to playing any of the GTA's, where interaction should be the number one goal to acheive in a free-roaming-city game. Yet there is little to none. This review is about Bully anyway, so I shall not get side-tracked.
In Bully, you could go to a patch of snow in the Winter, and throw it at someone, and cause a huge snowball fight. Or you could pick up food in the cafeteria and start a food fight. To delve even deeper, you can pry the school emblem off the walls and use it as a shield or a weapon. Picking up a frisbee and throwing it has never felt better in any game as it does in here. Jimmy can do just about everything you would do if you were a free-lancing kid in school. That includes sliding down rails, pulling the fire-alarm, flushing fire-crackers down the toilet, and, best of all, bullying anyone he wants to (or you want to, since you control him ,but ou get the idea).
The basics of GTA games are the missions. They are always throwing you into some dangerous situation or getting you involved in a terrible gang-war of sorts.The same goes here. Certain missions will affect your relationships with the other school cliques. These cliques includes jocks, nerds, preps, greasers, and or course, the bullies. You'll unfortunately have to guess which mission you want to do however, as the game doesn't really tell you what mission will boost your rep with which clique, leaving you dissing the crew you want to join and helping the crew you hate. (Actually I can't spoil you, so this explanation will have to do until you see for yourself what happens between chapters) The last mission in each chapter is like a test for the gamer, a boss stage of sorts, as Jimmy tries to conquer the several cliques one by one to try to defeat the clique leaders (ala the football quarterback, the nerds' best RPG player, etc.)
From Slingshots to Spud Cannons ("Spud" as in potatoes), there are various weapons that can be used in this game. Non-lethal, I should say. And R* found so many possible items to use its ridiculous. It is as if they took a whole steno pad full of notes down from Dead Rising, where virtually anything portable was a weapon. Jimmy can pick up APPLES and throw them at kids; he can smash a brick into windows or elevated opponents; he can toss a putrid stink bomb into children's faces and watch their nose hairs burn at the smell (be careful not to throw it too close to yourself or you'll suffer the same consequence!!); Firecrackers; Bottle-cannons; newspapers; text books; snowballs; they are all here. All you have to do is be cautious of the Prefects. They'll nail you for everything you can think of, and they have their ways of draggin your ass to the principal's office. Do not fret however; if my explanation of this sounds confusing, there is a mission pretty early in the game that explains everything you need to know to get your Bully on. And, with a new lock on feature, everything hits.
i should also mention that other students at the school can do the same to you. This means that if you remain idle and then leave for XZY, some random punk may come and beat you up or embarrass you in front of a bunch of other kids. Fortunately, having the game take place in a school was one of the smarter ideas of R*. Because of the classes you can take.
Chemistry, English, Art, Biology, Gym (oh God, Gym...), Shop; they are all here and ready to be taken. Although you may be thinking: "I don't have to go to virtual classes; who's gonna stop me?" Well, the prefects for one. Another is the limited choices you will have as the game prgresses becuase you fail to take classes. You see, as teachers in real life say: Going to school will help you in everyday life. Well, obviously if you're obese and eat nothing but meat you're thinking "whatever". But Bully takes this into mind. Passing Art class will make you popular with the ladies, earning kisses if a particular chick passes by and you have something to give her. Passing English gives you the ability to apologize for small crimes, taunt better, and verbally fend off would-be-bullies. Chemistry lets you create more items with your chemistry set in your dorm room. And so on and so forth. R* definitely got a clue from someone, maybe a spy in the high schools of today. >_> <_< O_O Look around....Hidden behind one of the school buses is even a hobo who teaches Jimmy fighitng moves that are rougher than the ones he may learn in gym class. Very nice detail R*.
On a side note, you can take errands from people later in the game that require you do to vast things pulling X amount of fire alarms, pulling X amounts of students' underwear, picking X lockers, and so on. You get the point.
As always in R*'s games, the Voice-overs are superb. Scenes will make you laugh as the VA finds the perfect tone to go along with the line. Also these are not generic voices, making the VO's even more passable. When people are in distress, you hear that desparate tone in their voice. Those laughs you hear in Japanese RPGs are gone replaced with more human laughs instead of a literal "HA HA HA."
Music is also greatly done well. I can't tell how many times I have whistled or hummed one of the themes of Bully, because they seem to get stuck in your head almost instaneously. From a low bass guitar drumming, to a 70's-ish chase-jitter, you'll find many tracks that have you shaking your head as you play, or refraining from knocking out that last goony. Oh, did I mention: the different cliques have their own fight music! Fighting a nerd gives you this old RPG-sense theme, while fighting a greaser will play a cool rock theme. There is something fro everybody... in the game that is. No theme for you the player...
Well, I can't really think of a reason for you to not play this game. IT IS AMAZING!! For R* to move from something so bland as the GTA series (interaction-wise) and then move to a much smaller location, but more broader interaction level. I couldn't take it if R* downgraded GTA IV to something less than Bully. It would give off the impression that they are definitely lazy. But otherwise, this is a great game to pick up and play if you want some non-lethal violence on your home screen TV.
A definite 10, out of 10.
Rating: 5.0 - Flawless
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