Bully is a Rockstar Games classic of the action adventure genre and explores the unique setting of a school where players are given control of a rebel teenager. Released in 2006 for PlayStation 2 the game has seen several re-releases including a remastered version (Scholarship Edition) for various platforms and a mobile version (Anniversary Edition).
In Bully players play as James (Jimmy) Hopkins who has a history of misbehaviour and has just been dumped at the boarding school Bullworth Academy by his parents. With a record of seven previous expulsions from school the 15 year old Jimmy has a history of disruption that he has little plans to cease. With a large school campus that aims to recreate the large public school colleges from the United Kingdom there is plenty of opportunity for exploration and mischief which in time extends to the town areas around the Bullworth Academy. As a nimble teenager Jimmy is capable of running, jumping, climbing and even swimming while also being able to utilise teenage friendly modes of transport like skateboard, bike, go-karts and buses. With the game set across the space of a school year both the school and surrounding locations will change with the seasons.
Within this school setting Jimmy Hopkins meets the principal who serves as a primary and repeated protagonist alongside the various groups of students who are each vying for power at the school initially. This includes the nerds, bullies, preppies, greasers, jokes and townies with your story involving each of them to some degree as players try to make alliances and bring them together to fight against the real enemy, the school system. Starting with the bullies you’ll walkthrough an adventure that has its own story twists as you seek out your goal of a combined student base at the school.
For Bully gameplay during this story players can expect to be able to free roam the school and eventually the town of Bullworth as you please. Just like other open world adventures Bully focuses on a main sequence of missions for players through in order although also provides the opportunity to attempt these at their own pace while filling in their time with side quests and other school activities that help Jimmy in his goals.
Mini games make up a majority of the side gameplay in Bully and are used to generate money, improve stats or unlock new items for players to use to push their agenda. Most of these minigames are directly tied to a class in school including English, chemistry, art, gym, biology, maths, music and geography that are split into morning and afternoon class options each day. For example gym increases Jimmy’s fighting power through dodgeball and wrestling activities while spending time in English class you’ll solve jumbled letters into words that helps Jimmy talk his way out of trouble when necessary. Talking yourself out of trouble is not always available though with higher levels trouble attracting authority figures in the school environment that will chase the player and confiscate all your acquired items.
Bully is more than just an action adventure game about attending class though with fighting playing a huge role in game progress. Fighting is mostly hand to hand combat with a brawling style but players do get the opportunity to unlock and use basic weapons that a school aged child would have access to such as a slingshot, fire crackers and stink bombs that aren’t intended as lethal options to stay on theme. Health regeneration mechanics operate on a similar theme with players recovering from drinking soda or kissing friendly NPCs in the area.
- Grand Theft Auto gameplay in a school setting with a story set around Jimmy Hopkins as he tries to bring students together under one banner.
- 5 different story arcs and bosses to fight as you explore the Bullworth Academy and nearby town areas.
- Attend class and complete mini games to gain an edge through increased character stats.
- Use itching powder, stink bombs and other weapons to win fights and cause pranks on other students or authority figures.
- A classic in the game genre with several re-releases that bring the classic to a wealth of hardware platforms.
- Official Website
- Buy Bully: Scholarship Edition (Amazon)
- Buy Bully: Scholarship Edition (Humble Store)
- Buy Bully: Anniversary Edition (iOS)
- Buy Bully: Anniversary Edition (Android)
- Buy Bully: Scholarship Edition (Microsoft Store – Xbox 360)
- Buy Bully: Scholarship Edition (Microsoft Store – Xbox One)
- Buy Bully: Scholarship Edition (PlayStation Store)
Review Platform: PC