Free Pizza Video Game Review - Naughty Bear [XBox 360]
What does it say about our world…the fact that a game like Naughty Bear even exists?
For some, it will mean a degradation of morality, the glorification of violent behavior and will likely serve as a prime example as to how video games are responsible for all the ills present in today’s society.
For me? It means that it’s a damn good time to be alive!
The plot behind Naughty Bear is rather simple: Naughty Bear is an outcast on Perfection Island, home to all manner of cute teddy bears. But here’s the thing…are we seeing the game through Naughty Bear’s…shall we say…warped…perspective? I say this early on because while yes, even Naughty Bear knows what he’s doing isn’t right…well, the other bears on the island are pretty damn cruel toward him in like that ‘Mean Girls’ sort of way. [As much as I want to judge, I know that your ex made you watch it…and can certainly understand doing anything for boobs. Well, almost anything…because Titanic? Never gonna happen. – Ed.] Perspective or not, these fluffy bastards have to die.
And die they shall…in particularly creative ways, once you get the feel for the game and its camera…which we’ll get to in a little bit. For being a paradise, Perfection Island has a lot of weapons just sitting around…not that Naughty Bear is going to complain. This alone allows for a fair amount of variation in your kills…but when you start integrating all the other options available to you, that’s when the real fun begins. It’s also how to best progress through the game, as levels and awards are all unlocked via points and the more you do to terrify these bears before you kill them, the more points you get. And there’s plenty of tools and methods to use. You have access to bear traps, the woods offer you total stealth, you can sabotage devices such as phones, cars and barbeque grills, you can either gently open or kick down doors (depending if you’re going for stealth or shock value), similarly for windows...you can either open or shatter them, hide in closets and I’m sure there’s plenty more that I’m forgetting or haven’t gotten to yet. But even the aftermath of your mayhem will creep out your next prospective target(s). Other bears can grow suspicious or scared. Heck, you can terrify bears to such a point that they choose to kill themselves rather than suffer whatever gruesome fate you might have planned for them.
If that sounds like a lot…well, it is. And this is where we come to the negative bit. You see, as a player, I want to be able to have the time to pick and choose what methods and manners I want to use…and you do…kinda…for the first kill. I say kinda because that while these bears may not see or hear you when you’re in the woods, the INSTANT you step out they’re on to you like white on rice…completely eliminating any stealth advantage you might have had. So, naturally, your first kill is likely to be a beat-down of the bear that first discovered you. Once that first bit of fluff goes flying though…well, all your targets scramble. One rushes to the phone to call in the police bears, so needless to say he’s gotta die before he completes that call. Then another one is trying to escape…better get to him before he gets that car or boat started…and by this point, that’s now three dead and you’ve been running all over, so the remaining bears damn well know what’s going on and have started arming themselves. As much as you want to enjoy some of the slower kills or letting their fear simmer to the point they decide to end it all themselves…it seems like each level that I’ve played so far (to be fair, it’s only been episode 1 and 1-1) very quickly devolves into a Friday the 13th movie on fast forward. That’s fine in some ways, given that episode 1 is really just an introductory level and 1-1 is a kill everyone without anyone escaping sort of deal…but I can’t imagine this being conducive to future stealth-only or no-contact themed missions that I know, from watching other reviews, are coming in future levels.
The only other negative to point out is that while the camera is fine when you’re outside, the minute Naughty Bear steps indoors, the camera gets pretty wonky at times…so much so that you may lose sight of you and/or your target, instead opting for a lovely bit of wall on the outside of the room. While it’s only momentary…and ordinarily wouldn’t be much of a problem…but again, given how quickly things devolve into outright killing chaos, just losing that little bit of time ends up making a lot of difference as to whether or not these fluffy bastards can run past you, jump out the window or get in a cheap shot or two. Otherwise, the game and camera control pretty much the same way any third-person style game would.
While I started off with the positives of this game, I wanted to circle back around to that toward the end here to give special praise to the game’s narrator…who may or may not be the voice in Naughty Bear’s head…as he seems awfully…motivational. Naturally, he’s a very posh Brit, so again, you end up sympathizing with Naughty…I mean, after all, if a voice like that suggests you take a flamethrower to the jerks outside your home…why wouldn’t you? Seems perfectly sensible. In fact, it’s simply what’s done.
Total playing time: 42 minutes. I only stopped because of that whole pesky having to go to work the next day thing.
As you’d expect, yes Naughty Bear, don’t worry, your pizza is free. Possibly because you may have killed the delivery driver…but who are we to judge. I’m certainly sure he deserved it.
I can certainly understand how this game may not be for everyone…as the camera can be bothersome. I’ve heard in other reviews that the level design starts to get repetitive…but given my limited play time, I didn’t start to feel that way just yet. Given that it’s available on the previous generation of consoles…the PS3 and Xbox 360…it should be fairly cheap to get your mitts on. I managed a copy off of EBay for $15…and I was certainly okay with the price. If you find it for $10 or less, I’d definitely grab it!
One last thing though…while I get that this gruesome violence only happens to teddy bears and thus is likely the reason this game is only rated T for Teen, if you’re thinking about age-appropriateness, I think maybe aim for 17 and up in general. Naturally, the final evaluation certainly depends on the individual kid though.