Electronic Theatre In-depth Review: Naughty Bear: Episode 8

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            505 Games brought Artificial Mind & Movement’s (A2M) Naughty Bear to market last month, and it would certainly be fair to say it’s not been given the credit it deserves. An inventive game of planning and tactical execution, Naughty Bear has proven to be an addictive formula for those willing to look past its flaws. The retail release provided plenty of content to stick your teeth into, but it seems A2M decided that wasn’t enough, and have released another complete episode as downloadable content (DLC), available for free.

            Naughty Bear: Episode 8 of course follows the same structure of the original on-disc episodes, bringing a new “story” level and four additional Challenge Levels. The new episode plays on a new and unique aesthetic variation of previously seen maps, adding new characters in the form of the X-Bears. A loose Electronic Theatre Imagepastiche of the X-Men, the X-Bears have relatively little effect on the gameplay aside from bringing a new weapon. Suffice to say, the standard episode is just another level to play.

            This level is then rearranged to offer Speed, Friendly, Killer and Top Hat Challenge Levels. The DLC plays fast-and-loose with the difficulty curve, seemingly less challenge than episodes 6 & 7, and of course, all of these modes will be familiar to regular users. There is no variation on the rules and no new behaviour patterns to learn for the enemy bears. In terms of the new gameplay areas, Naughty Bear: Episode 8 is exactly as its title suggests; another episode for an already established game. Where the difference is made is in that of the new costumes.

Four new costumes are included, providing the biggest tactical advantage that wasn’t available with those included on disc – a costume with high ratings for both Life and Speed. Of course, for those who have already played Naughty Bear to any real degree will recognise immediately the benefits of this, especially in those tough challenges they’ve not yet managed to achieve a Platinum Trophy for.Electronic Theatre Image Certainly, the new additions will help you earn those all-important but entirely unnecessary Achievements, but as somewhat of a surprise this pack does not include any new GamerScore awards itself.

Naughty Bear: Episode 8 may not fix the many mechanical problems with the game, but it does provide exactly that which DLC systems were once dreamt of being: additional game content that expands the game beyond its original release due to the developers choosing to do so, and not as an extra source of revenue. And for that, much like Red Dead: Redemption’s co-operative mode and Left 4 Dead’s Survival Pack, it’s certainly no less than a commendable effort. If this first DLC pack is a taste of things to come, Naughty Bear is sure to build a keen following, but given the wholly generous nature of this DLC, not including additional Achievements is surely a misfired attempt at winning back those who thought themselves already done with the game. Electronic Theatre Image

















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