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Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Naughty Bear Preview

Naughty Bear:Xbox360 Game:Developer:Artificial Mind and Movement: Publisher:505 Games

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I want a Friday the 13th game. I picture a modern HD setting where each level corresponds to a film from the series. In the single player you get to play as Jason's mother in the first tutorial level then upgrade to Jason by the second. I figure you could get the original actors to voice the various camp counselor victims (I'm sure Kevin Bacon is free) and extra achievements for using the original weapons (hello spear gun) as well as killing them in the original order. Heck you could have a multiplayer mode where one person plays Jason and everyone else plays well armed fodder (extra points for skinny dipping after finding your friends dead.)

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Sorry I got carried away there for a minute... anyway Naughty Bear promises me that Friday the 13th game play albeit with cute, poorly rendered teddy bears rather than topless nubile teenagers. Well you take the hand that is dealt to you.

Naughty Bear takes place on Perfection Island. You play the titular bear who apparently snaps after not being invited to Daddles' birthday party. As a result you stalk the various bears on the island beating the stuffing out of them (literally), setting traps, and frightening them into committing suicide. As a side note, since this is done with teddy bears the game is rated teen. If anything proves the arbitrary silliness of the ratings board this would be the game.

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Now there have been other games that allowed you to indulge in your serial killer fantasies with a controller in your hand, the infamous Manhunter being the most obvious example. (As a rule you can not mention Manhunter with out using a qualifier such as infamous or notorious.) Alas, Manhunter is hardly alone. The Hitman video games certainly allowed one to set elaborate traps and stalk one's prey. There was a Playstation game where you could set traps in a house and defends it against attackers of which I bought the sequels and enjoyed very much and for the life of me cannot remember the name of despite an exhaustive search of Playstation games on the Wiki, and no it wasn’t Home Alone.)

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In fact one of my favorite builds in open world RPG’s (Oblivion, Fallout 3) is that of the serial killer. Ramp of the stealth, put on the black hat (and hockey mask), and then go to town. On the surface it appears Naughty Bear appeals to my game play style. Alas there is a fly in this dark ointment… the reviews.

With no demo and gameplay videos that are both uninformative and unimpressive, I am forced to listen to those other voices out there in the ether. And those voices say nein. Naughty Bear got some ugly reviews.While a Metacritic score of 42 is pretty damning by itself, the similitude of the complaints is the most jarring. The reviews complained of game (and Xbox) breaking glitches, repetitive environments, repetitive gameplay, and an overall lack of good programming.

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While I will occasionally ignore reviews and jump into the pool anyway (Duke Nukem Manhattan) I take this wall of warnings with a heavy heart.It seems like Naughty Bear is a decent concept very poorly implemented. I am still curious enough to pick it up in the bargain bin, but I have no illusions of it being very good.

Final Preview Price $5

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