Bully: Gems of the Steam Summer Sale

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By Kevin Casper

The Steam Summer Sale is on and there are plenty of games worth checking out, but I’m shining a spotlight on one of the highlighted games each day. Check out the first spotlight about Stardew Valley here! Today won’t be so heartwarming, as I’ll be talking about Bully by Rockstar Games.

Meet Jimmy Hopkins, a budding 15-year old taking charge of his life at Bullworth Academy, a prestigious boarding school in somewhere resembling the New England region of the US. Jimmy is dropped off by his recently married parents as they head off to a year-long honeymoon. Right away, the tone of the school is introduced. Bullworth Academy isn’t the gentlest place, but Jimmy isn’t exactly a gentle guy.

Bully is a game by Rockstar Games, the developers behind the wildly popular Grand Theft Auto series. In a way, Bully is just another Grand Theft Auto game, but instead of the open cityscape, organized crime, and following the damn train, CJ, you have the reign of this teenage academy and all of the mischief that comes with it. You don’t use handguns and rocket launchers to cause havoc in Bully, instead you’ll have an arsenal of stink bombs, itching powder, and spud cannons to deal with your foes.

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If you’re already familiar with the Grand Theft Auto games, then the gameplay will be familiar, despite its differences. Being at a school, there is a more pro-active time cycle in Bully – you know, a class schedule. You’re a kid at school, there are classes to take. Obviously, as a game about mischief, you can skip the classes, but you’ll have to dodge various enforcers who will hunt you down for being truant and, by skipping class, you would be missing out on learning very important skills, including the ability to talk your way out of trouble or being able to craft your own firecrackers as you need them.

Outside of the classes, you can experience all of the charms of the teenage social circles, such as the Jocks, Nerds, and Greasers. Each group tends to play a major role in the story for each chapter of the game. Some are more adversarial than others, but in a very Grand Theft Auto fashion, the story has you either take them over or take them out. The game also includes some unique characters who don’t quite fit into any specific clique, but will likely remind you of some person or stereotype you’ve encountered before.

Overall, Bully is a solid Rockstar game. The gameplay mirroring its more “adult” cousin, Grand Theft Auto, isn’t anything too innovative, but it doesn’t have to be. There a lot of fun to be had and it’s done in a way that isn’t so criminal or violent. The best part of it all? It’s only $3 USD right now on Steam during this summer sale. It’s definitely worth it!

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