on 25 May 2007
Canis Canem Edit is perfect if you find GTA games a bit too hard in certain spots, but want a challenge as well. I fall into this category. There are a number of missions in GTA which I just found too hard, and this Rockstar game has really hit the spot. It is not too easy, although the opening chapter or two is quite straight-forward. As you move on through the game, you start to notice the difficulty level raising, but at a steady rate to help you get to grips with all the games features.
The game follows a 15 year old, who has been expelled from all previous schools he's been to, so he ends up at Bullworth Academy, which Rockstar calls "the toughest school around". You take control of this 15 year old, Jimmy. It feels a lot like San Andreas the way the camera is positioned looking at the back of the character when you playing the game, but don't think this is just a cheap copy that Rockstar have brought out.
One of the most impressive features about this game is the individuality of your schoolmates. Every person in the school is different, they all have their own individual names, which is proven by the fact that you obtain a yearbook, where you take photos of everybody in your year. Here you notice how everyone has their own personality - not the generic passers by you find on San Andreas.
One example of a group in the school is the Nerds. Fairly obvious what type of people they are, and these are probably the funniest. They always bring a chuckle when I see the fat nerds walking with their flies undone, and the voice acting for them is particularly impressive.
The storyline is well explained and relatively easy to follow, and believable too. It can get a bit cheesy in places, for example cringeworthy moments include Jimmy celebrating having beaten someone up in a boxing ring "Who's the daddy? Jimmy Hopkins, that's who, I am the best, now I'll beat the rest". There's a couple of cliched lines like that, but otherwise the script writing is very good.
Perhaps one of the most annoying things about this game is the lessons. They are fun at first, but then you start getting annoyed. Every time you want to do something, the bell rings and you have to get to lesson otherwise you are seeing as truanting, so the prefects are onto you. There are two lessons a day at first, ending at 3:30pm and very little time to do much exploring, as you can't be in the school building after 7pm (the time is measured in game minutes = real time seconds) and there is a curfew where you must be in the dorm by 11pm. If you don't go to bed by 2am, you will pass out on the floor. This can be particularly frustrating when you want to go and explore the game. However, each lesson has 5 stages. If you pass all 5 stages of a lesson, you no longer need to go to that lesson. Finish them all, and you've got no lessons ever again, so you've got all day to explore and do missions. I recommend you finish the lessons before getting too impatient with the game.
The world is fairly expansive. Nowhere near the size of San Andreas, but then the game isn't really focused on travelling the world, it is more mission based within the school gates. There aren't nearly as many vehicles as a result, but I found this was good, because as a schoolboy, you are more likely to be riding BMXs and skateboards than driving in 18 wheelers. There are various shops to go into in the town, where you can buy eggs for throwing at people, clothes (for wearing!) and many more.
A surprising feature of the game is the angle Rockstar took. Most of the time, you are defending the bullied, rather than bullying the defenseless. Sure, you can do this, and it is fun, but the storyline is based on helping those in need. There is no blood in the game, just heavy fists fights, crotch-kicking and wedgies. This, I think, makes the game better, it is more realistic for a schoolground. Weapons are school-based; you have all the classics, like the slingshot, the stink bomb and the fire cracker amongst many others.
To sum up, I would say that if you are looking for a game that is fun, not too difficult but challenging in places, involves quite a fair amount of violence and doing school-based tasks for realistic amounts of money - then this is the game for you. Particularly enjoyable if you are feeling a bit nostalgic about the days in the old school yard.