Bully: Scholarship Edition review

Find new ways to get into trouble in this overhauled version of 2006's charmingly goofy teen-angst adventure

Like in the original game, you'll also need to attend two classes per in-game day, although these are actually short, entertaining minigames that offer valuable power-ups (or at least silly wardrobe items) when successfully completed. Scholarship Edition adds four new ones to the mix: Geography, Music, Math and Biology, all obviously designed with the Wii controls in mind (which makes them a little less interesting on the 360). These classes - as well as the old ones, some of which have been retooled to use the Wii controls to great effect - also form the basis of the game's two-player mode, which pits Jimmy and his maladjusted, sadistic "friend" Gary against each other to see who can do a better job.

Out of the four new activities, the best is Biology, which features Trauma Center-style dissection of five disgustingly realistic dead animals. The worst, meanwhile, is Music, which asks players to clonk away at some percussion instrument using the Wii remote and Nunchuk (or the L and R triggers on the 360) as drumsticks, while the rest of the class cranks out some awful dirge that used to be a lively march. At least it's usually short.

Controls aside, there's only one real difference between the 360 and Wii versions: the graphics. Both versions feature visuals that have been noticeably beefed up since the PS2 version, with dynamic lighting and shadows, but the Wii version looks decidedly last-gen. To be fair, the 360 version does, too - don't expect anything on the level of Grand Theft Auto IV, here - but it packs some slick, hi-def new textures and re-modeled faces that make it easier to ignore how everyone's fingers look strangely like rectangular sausages.

Even without all the improvements, though, the underlying game has held up surprisingly well since its 2006 release. Bully's still a captivating, cartoonish adventure that packs a ton of activity into its deceptively small world, and it's still a lot of fun to run around dodging prefects and thwacking preppies with a slingshot. There's enough new stuff here to make it worth a look for fans who've already played it on PS2, but if you didn't catch it the first time, Bully: Scholarship Edition is an excellent way to find out what you've been missing.

Mar 4, 2008

More Info

DescriptionTake the tough kids down a notch and rule the school with an iron Wii Remote, as thuggish protector of the weak Jimmy Hopkins.
PlatformWii, Xbox 360, PC
US censor ratingTeen
UK censor rating16+
Release date4 March 2008 (US), 1 January 1970 (UK)