If the concept of Bully - an open-world sandbox game from the makers of Grand Theft Auto, set in a New England boarding school - appeals to you, you probably played it when it was released for PlayStation 2 in 2006, or perhaps you played the "Scholarship Edition" re-release in 2008. I got the Wii version this Christmas, and finished playing through the main story earlier this week. It shows its age a little, but that concept is still unique even six years later. It's just a shame Bully doesn't quite deliver on the potential of its premise.
Still, I highly recommend Bully. I'd rather play a game that aims high and misses the mark than something safe and familiar. It's not Rockstar's best, honestly, how many games can compete with GTA III? This is awfully good.
Of course, "Rockstar" is not one company. Bully was developed at Rockstar Vancouver, which is far removed from Rockstar North in Scotland, where the majority of the GTA series was developed. At the same time, Bully was co-written by GTA scribe and Rockstar North vice president Dan Houser, so there's a clear connection, but the lineage is convoluted, to say the least.
Now that I'm thinking about it, I wish we could see a little more of that diversity. I'm sure Rockstar - all the Rockstars - has put enormous effort into unifying so many studios as a single brand, but it feels like every game they make now is Grand Theft Something. It's all outlaws and redemption and drama, and it's getting stale.
Anyway. Bully. It's good.