Bully was first released in 2006 & was incredibly well received even if it came under fire for some supposed controversial content. Over the years fans have been getting louder & louder about their desire to see a sequel but Rockstar are holding firm on this one.
While a sequel might not be happening anytime soon, fans of the original can now play it on mobile devices. All thanks to the release of Bully: Anniversary Edition.
All original content has been included with improved visuals & redesigned controls for touch gameplay. In addition, Friend Challenges have also been added. These are mini-games that pit you against a friend in turn based classroom style challenges (such as dissecting a frog).
Bully puts you in the role of James “Jimmy” Hopkins. Jimmy is a troubled boy who has been expelled from 7 previous schools. His parents have had enough so enrol him at the private school, Bullworth Academy in the town of Bullworth.
Jimmy meets Gary who shows him around the school introducing him to the cliques that exist, the Bullies, Nerds, Preppies, Greasers & Jocks. Not looking to affiliate with anyone Jimmy teams up with Gary & another kid, Peter to assert their dominance over the entire school.
An open-world game played from the third-person perspective, Bully gives you the freedom of Bullworth Academy & the surrounding town but you also need to attend classes during school hours. A bit more restrictive then most open-world games, not attending classes, breaking rules or staying out past curfew will see you being chased & grabbed by authority figures.
They only enhance the experience though, classes (when completed successfully) give special abilities. Complete Chemistry & you can create items like firecrackers & stink bombs. Complete English & you gain the ability to apologise more successfully. What could be distracting & annoying is actually a lot of fun here in Bully.
Like many other Rockstar open-world games, Bully doesn’t follow a strict linear path. Players are able too explore & complete missions at their own pace. There are plenty of side quests & collectibles that add longevity to the experience. Even without them, Bully has plenty of content & Bullworth is a fun place to explore.
The control scheme on mobile devices (touchscreen) works very well, the screen is clutter free & many buttons double up meaning they only become active when they are needed. This makes moving around so much easier.
As good as Bully is though it does a few flaws. Once you’ve reached the max rank (not difficult at all) in each class there really isn’t any point in attending them anymore. If you focus solely on classes early on you’ll be at the max ranks very soon. All within a very early portion of the game. Without the need to attend classes the school portion begins to feel pointless.
It also has a few too many stealth missions that become tiresome as you get caught over & over again.
In a game as expansive as this, the complaints are small in comparison to how much it gets right. This is a lovingly crafted port of a game that really does deserve a sequel. It costs just £4.99 to own the complete Anniversary edition of Bully.
Bully - Anniversary Edition
The Final Score - 9/10