Summary: Parents need to know that this game is about bullying behavior in a school setting. There is plenty of psychological brutality and physical violence. Weapons include a baseball bat, garbage can lid, and fire extinguisher but there are no guns, blood, or gore. The game contains some sexual remarks and alcohol references; depending on the path taken, the main character can kiss another boy. The game does include consequences for misdeeds.
Excerpt: Before its release, Rockstar’s Bully found itself in the center of a media firestorm. The subject of nonspecific and wildly rampant hyperbole, popular media had a heyday painting it as a "Columbine simulator" and the next major piece of socially irresponsible entertainment set to corrupt the innocent and impressionable children of America.
Conclusion: Bully is an above average game for the PS2 that has hit in the system’s twilight. It's also one of the more controversial games to come out since San Andreas . However, this isn’t the kid-on-kid kill-fest people want you to think it is. Instead, Rockstar delivered a light hearted mischievous romp that never takes itself too seriously. Is it schoolyard GTA? Maybe. However, this doesn’t change the fact the game is shockingly fun to play.
Pros: Light-hearted tone, Excellent soundtrack, Clever humor, Almost too much to do, Good art direction, Light-hearted tone, Excellent soundtrack, Clever humor, Almost too much to do, Good art direction
Cons: Dated graphics, Recycled game play from GTA series, Dated graphics, Recycled game play from GTA series
Excerpt: Bully is the latest incarnation from the devilish minds of Rockstar Games, makers of the immortal and genre defining classic, Grand Theft Auto . This title strays from the path of car jacking, Mafioso madness, and extends into the juvenile realm of the Bullworth Academy boarding school, as one young Jimmy Hopkins. Graphically, it looks quite similar to GTA , but with more of a cartoony overtone.
Excerpt: supports this surrealistic depiction of school life with its relatively freeform gameplay. I say 'relatively' because you can't just go around punching things. No, if Hopkins breaks any rules in Bullworth, as with any other school, he gets taken down and hauled to the principal's office, and is then stripped of his expendable items.
Excerpt: Unlike the charismatic thugs, gangsters, and killers from games like “Manhunt,” “Grand Theft Auto,” and “The Warriors,” Jimmy Hopkins doesn’t have a rap sheet -- just a few red marks on his personal record.