Published on October 14th, 2012 | by G. Bargas, Managing Editor
Naughty Bear: Panic in Paradise Review
Platform: PlayStation Network, Xbox LIVE Arcade
Price: 1200 Microsoft Points or $14.99
Release Date: Oct. 10, 2012
Developer: Behaviour Interactive
Publisher: 505 Games
Review Notes: A copy of the game was received for review purposes.
Playing the bad guy has its perks. That urge you have to lash out and crack a few skulls always feels good, right? In the case of Naughty Bear, this isn’t the first time he’s been on the soggy fluff end of the stick and of course–he’s lookin’ to vent.
The first Naughty Bear was generally seen as a failure, receiving many negative reviews. The first title introduced us to many bears and characters, such as Giggles, who the game was centered around. This sequel brings on the same aspect of island assault, allowing players to once again be the anti-hero and retaliate for hurt feelings.
Naughty Bear is left out of the plans of all the other bear vacation plans. They adventure to 11 different islands for some R&R. Naughty is looking to turn their enjoyably good time into a DNR situation by laying down the punishment in Naughty Bear: Panic in Paradise.
For those who are not familiar with the series, the game has elements of strategy/puzzles mixed with action. If you have ever played Hitman, then this would probably be the closest comparison. Another fair comparison would be similar to what Traveller’s Tales did for the LEGO games, even down to destroying the environments to collect coin like LEGO pieces. Naughty Bear replaces gory blood with stuff and fluff. Literally.
Players are given objective based kills to complete without being caught in the act. There are more than 36 missions included in the game’s main storyline. Among these missions there are other sub-objectives to meet. These come in the form of collecting extra items, using bear traps to catch enemies, or the occasional death by suicide. A bear committing suicide can be achieved through terrorizing bears and scaring them after they’ve witnessed your murderous ways.
Each mission completed will deliver a trophy based on how many sub-objectives are met. It is not hard to capture the sub categories, but at times challenging to complete your main objective. These also become repetitious as they never really change. These payouts and the coins collected from various skilled kills in the game can be used to purchase items. These items can be unlocked by stealing a disguise during the game. After doing so, using these on each mission will then allow you to level-up and master the items used.
The items in the game do more than just furnish your character with flashy clothing. Each one picked up can be used and impact the way in which you play the game. Such items may increase your regeneration, or things like stamina. Stamina will determine how far you can carry an enemy or how long you can sprint. This is important due to the distance from forested areas and what characteristics a target may have. Armor and Weapon Damage can are also impacted by these traits.
There are a few main actions for Naughty to use. The basic skill set is: his simple sprint, grab and stealing enemy disguises.
To steal a disguise, you must first enter the brush/forest areas that are littered throughout each map. These are usually placed near enemies and other objectives allowing you to use some trial and error when playing. In a very Metal Gear Solid fashion, enemies have a sweeping field of vision that you must avoid. Grabbing enemies and bringing them into the brush is done by avoiding this view and not sprinting directly up to your target. Sprinting behind them will only alert them and send them on a path of attack.
While the game does have a slew of enemies to target and unlockables to master, there is one big problem hindering this naughty sequel from being a success. Actually, make that many problems.
Naughty Bear: Panic in Paradise is frustrating, dissatisfying and as unrewarding as it is buggy.
There were many times during the game where my own death was met, not by any typical means, but due to buggy animations and collisions with objects placed in the areas. Other bugs including things like my objective physical target on my HUD going bat crazy right in the middle of a really tough mission. Not only did the enemy target escape the HUD and show up right in the middle of the screen, but the vision of each person swept around in circles.
One of the game’s main mechanic is to be sneaky and take out others by not getting caught. This is not an easy thing when some of the physics glitches in the game often send enemies flying across the map and into other enemies, thus alerting them. It wouldn’t have been so bad if there weren’t a slew of enemies waiting to oust Naughty and beat the stuffin’ out of him.
Other times, I wanted to knock the stuffin’ out of the game.
There were a few moments just when it seemed the game had started to <em>settle </em> down, and I was just starting to get comfortable and back into the swing of things. This was of course after I started to gain mastery of all of the controls, movement and what I could get away with when alerting other people on the map. After getting out of the level screen and finally completing a few missions the game crashed simply after pressing the ‘B’ button repeatedly. It wouldn’t have been so bad if it didn’t happen outside the mashing, which did on several occasions and wiped out my previous mission efforts.
Naughty Bear: Panic in Paradise was one title I was truly looking forward to. All of the costumes are amusing and some pay tribute to Hollywood movies. Other references pay similar tribute to those films. The leveling up system and leaderboards are a great addition for those wanting to challenge skill.
In the end, the game is far too broken to make me want to pick it up past this review. Huge missions were thrown out the window due to broken animations and crashes, while others fell victim to frustrating bugs and mishaps.
While the game did have its moments with unique blends of kills and sneaky, sneaky assassinations, I was almost driven to do the real thing after falling victim to the game’s bugs.
+ Lengthy Missions
+ Unique Kills
– Frustrating Gameplay
– Bugs, Bugs, Bugs
– Did we say, bugs?