Bully is a third-person action-adventure game, a plot-oriented simulator of the life of the “difficult” teenager Jimmy Hopkins, which showed all the sorrows and joys characteristic of this age. On the way to informal leadership at school, the player will have to combine studying with exploring the world, running after girls and fighting for influence with other students at the Bullworth boarding school for troubled teenagers. Although Bully borrows its core concept from Rockstar's older series, it has its own identity and unique flavor, and all the core mechanics, such as complete freedom of action, work much better than GTA. The lack of weapons did not detract from the gameplay possibilities; on the contrary, it emphasized its uniqueness.

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Game world

Bully takes place in the fictional American town of Bullworth, consisting of several districts. City center with offices, shops, pharmacy and cinema. An elite area with rich mansions, a church, a park and attractions. Industrial area with factories and warehouses. A depressing abandoned place for the poor, with gangs of hooligans roaming the streets. Everything is done with attention to art design and reflects the difference in social environments.

The main location of the game, where most of Bully will take place, is, of course, the Bullworth boarding school with many classrooms, a canteen, a library, a gym and a dormitory. It is more detailed than others and will allow you to look into almost every corner. Access to some locations and areas is initially closed, but opens up as you progress through the story, and exploration itself is possible on a skateboard, bicycle or on foot.

Structurally, the world of Bully is a ring town with low-rise buildings typical of the American outback and minimal inclusion of nature, although the seasons change according to the story. In true Rockstar style, exploring the world involves talking to NPCs and receiving quests or useful information from them. You can find various items for battle, such as fireworks, first aid kits to restore the hero's health, changeable clothes and other things that improve the gaming experience and help in completing missions.

Background of events

The game begins with Jimmy's arrival at Bullworth boarding school, but the roots of his problems go deep into the past. The divorce of his parents and the subsequent difficult personal life of his mother, who often changed spouses, led to the fact that Jimmy began to feel lonely and rejected, both in the family and in the school environment. Which contributed to the development of his rebellious spirit and skepticism towards authorities. Constant conflicts and changes in educational institutions secured his status as a difficult teenager.

By the time Bully begins, Jimmy is already teetering on the edge of the law, which pushes his mother and new stepfather to the decision to send the guy to Bullworth. They hope that the strict discipline and special approach of a private boarding school will help Jimmy overcome the challenges associated with growing up and adapt to social norms. This leaves no loopholes for Jimmy — he will have to complete all the main tasks, including those related to his studies.

Plot and characters

The story in Bully subtly raises issues of social adaptation and the difficulties of adolescence, gaining authority, overcoming bullying and social pressure, and shows the formation of relationships in a school environment. The release sparked controversy and criticism due to violence and bullying, leading to debate about the impact of video games on youth and campaigns to ban Bully in several countries.

The script is filled with a wide variety of characters that Jimmy encounters as he progresses. Unlike other Rockstar games, the priority is communication and the ability to get along with different types of people while being in the confined space of a school. There are about a dozen key characters, they received memorable images, with their own personal traits, motivation and character, but not without clichés. Among peers, this is the best friend, sworn enemy, reliable ally, traitor and deceiver. Whereas among adults there are stereotypical images of a beloved teacher, a charismatic freak and a strict director.

In addition to NPCs, the game has a faction system: "nerds", "urbans", "jocks", "majors", "show-offs" and "hooligans". Each faction has its own interests, fights for influence and feuds with other groups, which Jimmy can use to establish a new school hierarchy. Depending on the player's actions, factions can become friends or enemies with Jimmy, which will have an impact on both freeplay and missions.

Single player game

Bully accurately reproduces everyday life in a boarding school, where routine is paramount. Jimmy must attend classes, and in between he is free only until the next bell. You have to carefully plan every foray outside the school, not to catch the eye of the duty officers, and not to get into conflict again. The game makes sure that the player does not feel like the main character or special treatment.

Lessons in the form of a mini-game cover subjects such as grammar, mathematics, art and physical education, and require the fulfillment of specific conditions. Successfully completing an English lesson, for example, will allow Jimmy to become better at persuading other characters, and playing sports will increase his physical stats.

Time outside of school is reserved for quests and world exploration. There are no particularly difficult tasks, a la the helicopter mission in GTA, in Bully. Side activities include delivering items or messages to NPCs, bike racing, arcade games, and even romantic dates. Tasks in story quests are multi-stage and with different requirements for the player: ingenuity, dexterity, reaction speed, and even stealth skills.

The combat system is extremely arcade-like, offering you to shoot from a slingshot, throw gummies and shoot fireworks. This is much better than waving his fists in fights, where Jimmy may not be able to cope in front of a group of peers or one adult, losing all his health and stamina. Towards the end, tear gas and paintballs appear. Inventory plays an important role. The correct choice and use of items from it greatly facilitates the passage and battles, and adds some kind of tactics to the gameplay.

Release dates

  • PlayStation 2 — October 17, 2006
  • Wii — March 4, 2008
  • Xbox 360 – March 4
  • Windows — October 21, 2008
  • PlayStation 3 — December 18, 2012
  • PlayStation 4 — March 22, 2016
  • iOS — December 8, 2016
  • Android — December 8, 2016

Minimum system requirements

  • OS: Windows XP/Vista
  • Processor: Intel Pentium 4 (3 GHz or better) / AMD Athlon 3000+
  • RAM: 1 GB
  • Video card: compatible with DirectX 9.0c and shader 3.0 support; Nvidia 6800 or 7300 or better, ATI Radeon X1300 or better
  • DirectX: DirectX 9.0c
  • Hard drive: 4.7 GB available space
  • Sound card: DirectX 9 compatible
  • Peripherals: keyboard, mouse, Xbox 360 gamepad

Recommended system requirements

  • OS: Windows XP/Vista
  • Processor: Intel Pentium 4 / AMD Athlon 64 with a clock speed of 3.2 GHz or more
  • RAM: 1.5 GB
  • Graphics card: Compatible with DirectX 9.0c and shader 3.0 support; Nvidia 7600 or ATI Radeon X1600
  • DirectX: version 9.0
  • Hard drive: 5 GB of free space
  • Sound card: DirectX 9 compatible
  • Peripherals: keyboard, mouse, Xbox 360 gamepad

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