Bully Xbox 360 Review - 07/05/2008

After two years of waiting, Rockstar's school-based GTA makes its way to the Xbox 360, but is there really any change from the original that graced the PS2? Well…yes and no, the game is the same but there are some differences that add a fair bit to the gameplay.

The funny thing about Bully was that when it was released on the PS2, it never really garnered any great praise or attention as it was so late in the day for the Sony console. But now that Rockstar have finally given the 360 the game, perhaps it can reach the place in people’s hearts that it should have got to in the first place.

But here’s the problem… it is a PS2 game! There is no doubt about it; the look and feel of the game has a dated stamp all over it. Not one part of it looks next gen; it all feels like a title ported from a higher console to a lower one, not the other way around. The graphics look outmoded and a little bit chunky; with characters having fingers that are super glued together, unblinking eyes; the works. It may sounds like I really hated the game, but I didn’t! It is the best of schoolyard romps that I have ever played. So what is it about this game that makes it so endearing, I hear you ask. It’s everything about it, the chunky graphics and storyline; everything!

Take the plot for example; it revolves around Jimmy Hopkins, a dropout who has been expelled from every school that he has ever been to. So he starts off as the new kid at the hardest boarding school around, Bullworth Academy, but as his first school year goes on, Jimmy gains both popularity and power. The story is truly funny and supremely unmissable; it plays out over five chapters in which you need to conquer five cliques to gain your rightful role as leader of the school.

It's got a distinct Rockstar charm to it, but the gameplay will definitely remind you most of your childhood at school

The story does manage to cover up some of the glaring holes in the gameplay, like the constant rinse and repeat style of the missions that never seem to let up in their sameyness. Also sadly the main story missions don’t take that long to complete but there is some great value in the game's side-missions, which really does bring out the funnier side of Bully.

But the main place that Bully shines is the characters; they are a world unto themselves. Each injecting some new favour into the game’s microcosm of school life, the feeling of your good old school days is captured in such a way that it feels completely right. Even when the characters engage in fights with you or between themselves their personalities come through, like with the Geeks; when they do come to fisticuffs they don’t throw punches, they charge in just flailing, the sportier guys shoulder charge like they are playing American football.

The characters and atmosphere is certainly the Bully's strongest asset

Even with all the problems and porting holes, Bully feels like a good addition to the 360’s catalogue. There is the strong storyline that we have come to expect from Rockstar and some truly memorable characters. All of the good just out weighs the bad, so hopefully Bully can really make it to the top of the class second time around.

- Alec Hilton


Schoolyard fun, doing the things you always wanted to.


A solid Rockstar game.


Unique and loveable characters.


Looks and feels like the PS2 version on 360


Sore thumbs from hitting A all the time to run


Final Score:
A great opportunity for Xbox 360 owners to get their fill of schoolyard fun.



PS2 - 360 - Wii