Also available on PlayStation 2, Xbox 360, Android, iOS, and Windows
Bully is a game about the struggles of adolescence, high school cliques, and puberty. It also takes place in the worse school in the country. Bullsworth Academy is a private boarding school, and after being expelled from like seven other schools, that's where 15 year old Jimmy Hopkins finds himself.
The game plays a lot like most of Rockstar's games; it's an open world action adventure game that's broken down into set missions while leaving you free to do mostly whatever you want. It's more restrictive than Grand Theft Auto - you can't very well have a 15 year old hiring hookers and then murdering them to get your money back - but you're still free to explore Bullsworth and take part in a number of optional challenges and jobs alongside the core story missions. After you finish the last mission, you're also free to finish up any tasks you might have missed along the way, so you don't have to stress about missing something during your playthrough.
The core of the story involves Jimmy's journey to navigate through the new school and deal with the various cliques, eventually beating them all into submission and becoming "king of the school." Along your journey, you get various weapons - all non-lethal, of course - and the ability to unlock various bikes and scooters to help you get through town more quickly and efficiently. There are a variety of classes to attend - two per day - and passing them unlocks various upgrades to make your life a little bit easier.
The game beautifully stereotypes high school cliques, and the voice actors they chose for the various characters did a perfect job of bringing those stereotypes to life. The entire audio design, from voice acting to sound effects to soundtrack, fits the game extremely well. The visuals aren't much of an upgrade from PlayStation 2, but there seems to be a little improvement to color depth and some slight enhancements to texture details. Overall, though, it's a fair looking game, but it doesn't take much advantage of the Wii's hardware strength over the PlayStation 2.
Bully is a good, solid Rockstar title that makes the transition from PlayStation 2 to Wii fairly well. The motion controls aren't as fluid or precise as Call of Duty, The Conduit, or Metroid Prime, but there's a lock on button when fighting enemies, so there aren't many situations where motion aiming is necessary. Even with the imperfect motion controls when aiming, the game in general controls extremely well and is a joy to play. The story is both interesting and funny especially for those of us who work in a high school (and aren't that far removed from being a student in high school). Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed my time with Bully, and it's worth noting that while the PS2 original is the highest rated version, the Wii version tends to get rated just a hair below that and decently higher than the Xbox 360 or Windows ports, and the Wii port has a handful of added features and missions that the PS2 version didn't have.
My Rating - 4 Neps
I'm a teacher.
And I like to play video games. I like to collect video games. I like to talk about video games, and I like to write about video games. During the day, I teach high school history; during the night, I spend my spare time gaming. Then I write about it.