Home > Gaming, Reviews, Wii > Bully: Scholarship Edition Wii Review

Bully: Scholarship Edition Wii Review

Well, I’ve wanted to review this game for a while, but I only picked it up again and finished it very recently (last night). Now if you’ve listened to our podcast, Frayed Wire X (which everyone should because it’s awesome) you know my extreme love for this game. It’s a spin on the GTA genre (yes it has its own genre now, which involves free roaming gameplay with various missions you can do if you want) that is very refreshing and is extremely relatable to the average person, rather than the car jacking gangsters in previous GTA games that only a very select demographic could relate to. Now let’s just dive right in.

Story: Now since it’s made by Rockstar games, you know it’s going to be a hilarious game with some serious tones. This holds up very well in Bully: SE. You play as Jimmy Hopkins. His mom drops him off to go off on a year long honeymoon with her new husband so she drops him off at the Hellhole called Bullworth Academy, a school that makes South Central LA look like Candy Land. Well… not exactly, but it’s pretty bad. It’s fully of awful teachers, abusive prefects, and even worse warring factions. There’s the bullies, the jocks, the nerds, the preps, and the greasers. Since Jimmy’s the new kid everyone hates him. He meets a guy named Gary how wants to take over the school. Jimmy doesn’t want this, he just wants to fit in. I’m going to stop there because there’s a twist that happens within the first few hours of play that sets up the rest of the game. Just trust me that there’s both predictability and unpredictability, which I think makes the story much stronger. It’s full of Rockstar’s famous oddball characters, humor, but also its seriousness that make every one of their game’s stories great. It’s pretty much GTA rated PG-13.

You’ll want to kiss girls, they give you more health even if you think they’re yucky

Design/Structure: Even more of GTA shining through, you have a variety of story and side missions available and you can take them on at your own pace. However, the school setting throws a monkey wrench into that, you also have classes to go to and you can’t stay out past curfew. The classes are mini-games that give you power-ups, like for chemistry you can make new weapons, like firecrackers, stink bombs, and itching powder, gym gives you new fighting moves, and English gives you more social options, like apologizing and better taunts. Each class has five levels. Once you do all of those, you don’t have to go back to that class unless you want to. However, the classes aren’t even close to being even. Good luck completing English’s word scrambles on the first try and good luck failing music’s simple rhythm game. This stops you from spending entire days doing missions and makes you go back to the school to do a class you know you’re going to fail. When you get further in the game and unlock more places to sleep, this can get very annoying. However, there’s a bus system that takes you back to school, so it’s not too big of a pain. As you progress in the game, you unlock more parts of the surrounding city, such as Old Bullworth Vale, New Coventry, and the Blue Skies Industrial Park. It can seem a little overwhelming when the size of the area you can go to pretty much doubled, but you get used to it quick. Don’t think that the design is perfect. One major system used in the game is respect with the previously mentioned factions. These only change through missions, rather than your in game decisions. Even if you keep beating nerds, they’ll still be friendly to you. It doesn’t make much sense.In short, the design is the little brother of GTA, not yet on the streets stealing cars only stealing bikes and mopeds and he still has to go to class. It’s designed quite well and deserves a nod of approval, but also a face-palm of shame.

This is about as close as you can get to stealing cars

Controls: One of the biggest things about any Wii game is how well it controls. This one controls pretty well, with some issues. One of the biggest problems is if you hit up on the d-pad accidentally, then you’ll go into an over-the-shoulder aiming mode for precision. However, the sensitivity is extremely low for this mode so you’ll pretty much be spazzing out whenever this accident happens . Other than that, the only problem is the camera control, which you can only pan left and right because up goes into that strange aiming mode and down jumps (yeah I thought that was weird when I first started playing, but you get into it pretty easily). This usually isn’t a problem when you’re going around the town and school yards, but it can make it a little awkward when you’re inside. The controls make fighting extremely fun. You can lock onto enemies with the C button and it works well almost always getting the right guy. If you swing the nunchuck, you punch with your left hand and the wiimote controls your right hand. The B button is like a modifier button, once you’ve learned the moves from gym class or the hobo behind the abandoned school bus. There’s also a grab move where you can throw people around, take them to the ground, or just keep punching them. Once you get your opponent’s health low enough, you can humiliate them. This launches one of a few taunts, like dead arms, putting spit in their face, pushing them to the ground, and other schoolyard bully tricks. The various vehicles perform well, considering that up until GTA4 vehicle handling was a problem for the series. There’s a skateboard, bikes, mopeds, lawnmowers, and go-karts, with the last two only being available in certain minigames. I know, I’m kinda pissed too. With only a few problems the controls, this is one of better controlling wii games that use the motion control without abusing it.

The controls allow you to fight multiple preps at once and take them out with relative ease.

Gameplay: To put it simply, you won’t be doing the same thing for long, unless you want to. If you find you’re a lawn mowing god, no one’s there to stop you. If you think you’re a carnival beast, then you go win those tickets. There is so many different things to do, such as bike races, boxing, carnival games, classes, missions, random requests from students, teachers, or townspeople, and more that I’mforgetting. One thing that majorly slows down the game is loading screens, you have them when you start a mission, go into a building, or start a mini-game, like lawn mowing or the like. Fighting is a bad habit to get into, but it’s a way of life in Bully SE, maybe a little too much. I would’ve like a few less “go here and beat up everyone” missions, but it’s only a minor annoyance. Since I did a majority of the missions a while ago, I can’t remember correctly, but I think there was a good amount of variety. One last mechanic is the trouble meter. As you do bad stuff, your trouble meter will rise. If it’s below halfway, you’ll only be chased if an authority figure (prefect, teacher, cops) sees you. If it’s above half, then they’ll just start chasing you no matter what. You can run much faster for longer than anyone in the game, so it’s not too tough to lower it. You can also hide in lockers, trash cans, and a variety of other things that’ll put a smile of boyish glee on your face.

This one’s great, you don’t in trouble and everyone starts kicking them

Graphics and Music: Both could be better. The music is all instrumentals. They’re good, but with the GTA games having amazing sound tracks, I was hopeful that Bully would follow suit. They have a certain song depending on which faction you get into a fight with. My favorite’s probably the  theme. The graphics are also nearly identical to the game’s PS2 earlier version, there’s a very muted color palate, and it looks very hazzy. Maybe this is because of the largeness of the area you can go, which is at least a couple square miles, large enough to get lost in, but not large enough to make everything look the same, there’s a variety of stores, with Rockstar’s humor shining through.  The sound and music are disappointments, but not awful enough to detract from my extreme enjoyment of this great game.

As you can see, the Wii version has minimal improvements over the PS2.

Pros: Story with both humor and seriousness, solid controls that get the job done well, world size, mission variety, slight RPG elements with the classes, and overall fun

Cons: Uneven class difficulty, a few annoyances with the controls, some small problem with mission variety, the audio/visual package, loading screens

Final Score: 9.4 out of 10

By JustMattPwn3r

Categories: Gaming, Reviews, Wii
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