Wednesday, Dec. 20, 2006

Bully (for PS2)

The thing non-gamers miss about Rockstar, who make the controversial Grand Theft Auto games, is that they're storytellers. Graphics-wise their games are nothing special, but they use games to tell rich, branching, hydra-headed stories, and that's what makes them interesting. In Bully they take that narrative sensibility to a private school dominated by warring cliques: jocks, nerds, bullies, girls, etc. You play Jimmy, and your job is to scuffle your way through the social hierarchy, righting wrongs and shutting down the bad kids (put your outrage down, folks, this is an anti-bullying game). Bully throws new characters and storylines and mini-games and environments at you so relentlessly, it's impossible to get bored, and the script is witty and playfully self-aware. Plus, you can make a dude kiss another dude. Those Rockstar folks have got stones.