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Our examiner, Andy Robertson, first checked Bully 2 years ago. It was re-examined by Jo Robertson and updated 18 months ago.
You explore the school world as Jimmy, taking on tasks, getting into fights, committing vandalism and interacting with students and teachers to become more popular in the school's cliques: nerds, preppies, dropouts and jocks. Each has their own hangout spot and attire.
You attend courses with five increasingly difficult classes. These reward you with clothing and abilities to help your quests for school supremacy. English lets you apologise to authority figures. Chemistry grants you throwable weapons. Gym unlocks new fighting moves.
If you break the school rules, teachers and policemen will attempt to grab and subdue you. The more rules you break the harder authority figures try to catch you. Eventually you will be busted and restart at the nearest police station or the school principal's office without your weapons.
Over the years, Bully has been controversial. It has been criticised for glorifying or trivialising school bullying and its sexual (kissing) content. However, the game offers a captivating, cartoonish dip into the world of school hierarchy.
You can choose how to treat the other students in the school, and are encouraged not to be mean spirited. The consequences of your actions are clearly seen. If you aren't nice to people in the school you soon end up on your own. This is Ferris Bueller territory which is not only a lot of fun, but played in the right context can offer some helpful reflection about the impact of our actions on other people.
Rated for younger players in the US. ESRB TEEN for Animated Blood, Crude Humor, Language, Sexual Themes, Use of Alcohol and Tobacco, Violence.
14+ year-olds usually have the required skill to enjoy this game. Still, it's important for parents and guardians to consider the maturity required to process the game content. For teenagers comfortable with the content, Bully offers a Grand Theft Auto style experience but without the extreme settings and scenarios.
Bully: Anniversary Edition
Bully: Scholarship Edition
Bullyparade - DER Spiel
Different versions are available:
- Bully PS2 Classics Edition for PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4 offers smoother visuals and higher resolution.
- Bully The Scholarship Edition for Wii, Xbox 360 and PC add new missions, characters, school classes, and unlockable items and clothing. Some script changes were made and the voice acting improved.
- Bully Anniversary Edition is an updated version of The Scholarship Edition for Android and iOS.
Release Date: 17/10/2006, updated in 2016
Out Now: Android, PC, PS2, PS3, PS4, Wii, Xbox, Xbox 360, Xbox One and iOS
Content Rating: PEGI 16
Skill Rating: 14+ year-olds
Components: 3D Third-Person, Day and Night and Open World
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