Bully – Consumer Guide

According to ESRB, this game contains: Crude Humor, Language, Sexual Themes, Use of Alcohol and Tobacco, Violence

Bully Screenshot

Parents will want to exercise caution with this game. Although the level of violence is nowhere near where it is in the standard GTA-style entry, there's a ton of brawling and shooting things at people like bottle rockets and slingshots. No one ever gets killed or seriously injured, but it's not exactly the sort of thing that most parents would see as "OK.” The level of humor and writing are clearly aimed at teenagers, and though not as graphic as any of the American Pie films, some of the sexual content like “making out” to regain health may be inappropriate for younger players. I'm not a prude and I'm not condemning the game, but I think it's safe to say that there’s a little bit of everything that may be offensive to some people, so this is a great instance where parents should take the time to go through the game with their kids or at least supervise occasionally.

Grand Theft Auto fans will most definitely want to check the game out. It's the same basic formula and structure, only downsized and civilized to fit the high school/boarding school theme. With tons of side missions and activities, there's plenty to do. The formula is also slightly more player-friendly with a few shortcuts that have been added, though it still needs a little more work in this aspect. If the idea of being 15 and running rampant around a school and the surrounding towns sound like a good idea to you, it probably will be. However, those players who are growing tired of the GTA formula won't find enough new material here to make it feel fresh again.

Deaf and Hard of Hearing gamers will be just fine. Although random comments heard from people walking by are not captioned, all of the important dialogue and mission objectives are accompanied by subtitles via an option in the menu, and I did not encounter any instances where sound played an important role in the gameplay. Onscreen displays provide all relevant information, and the game came off as being very friendly towards those with hearing impairments. Thumbs up in this department, Rockstar.