Electronic Theatre In-depth Review: Naughty Bear: Episode 9

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Rating: 5.0/5 (1 vote cast)

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            505 Games and Artificial Mind & Movement (A2M) may have received mixed reviews upon the launch of Naughty Bear back in July, but the public have taken a different view. A steady community has been built around the game, and despite being deemed destined for a quick trip to the bargain bin by some, Naughty Bear still sits proudly at it’s original price (albeit a ‘budget’ price to begin with) at many retailers. To that end, the team behind Naughty Bear are certainly working to satisfy their followers, with the second downloadable content (DLC) pack in as many months.

            Following on from the free addition of Episode 8, Episode 9 of course suffers by a comparison of value-for-money, but at only 400 Microsoft Points it certainly remains a competently priced addition. Episode 9 Electronic Theatre Imageis constructed in the same way as each of the on-disc Episodes, with a standard ‘story’ level and four challenge levels that mix-up the new additions. Episode 9 doesn’t offer any new maps, but does remodel previous arenas to suit the new theme.

            Pirates, an obvious and yet overlooked addition to the Naughty Bear formula, now join aliens, robots, zombies, superheroes and ninjas as Naughty’s prey. Aside from bringing a cutlass to the game, they realistically do little to alter the way the game plays, and certainly don’t offer the same dramatic change that some of the aforementioned enemy types did. The new costumes however, as with any of the previous unlockable costumes, each feature a unique combination of abilities. And with these costumes playable on any level – including in the original on-disc episodes – the DLC does bring variety to the overall Naughty Bear package as opposed to simply additional longevity.

            The four challenge levels offered take the same form as those seen with the on-disc episodes, specifically Killer, Speed Run, Insanity and Top Hat modes. Of course, with each of these already being familiar to Naughty Bear players, little explanation is needed as to what these varied rule sets entail; simply, it should be noted that an additional challenge is included, even if it’s one with a somewhat bizarre difficulty setting. Easier than the final on-disc episodes of Naughty Bear, yet more challenging the previous DLC, Episode 9 does through any previous notion of a steady difficulty curve to the wind.

            An oversight noted by Electronic Theatre in Episode 8, Episode 9 features six new Achievements with a value of 100 GamerScore. Though it may seem slight, the attraction of Achievements (or Trophies, on the PlayStation 3) cannot be overstated, with many gamers buying and selling their games based upon the draw of such persistent virtualElectronic Theatre Image rewards. Well placed in this regard then, Episode 9 brings a draw for its 400 Microsoft Points that the free DLC did not, leading Electronic Theatre to believe that this may well have been the plan all along, and that the remaining GamerScore allowance could well be on reserve for Episode 10.

            Just as the first DLC pack, Naughty Bear’s expansion doesn’t redefine the game nor improve it in any way, but it does well to expand the experience, offering more content for those already enamoured with it. For all the arguments put forth as to what DLC could – or should – be, Episode 9 sticks true to that original vision: offering another portion of a game beyond that which was created for the retail release, without demanding the player invest an unreasonable amount of funds into what is possibly an already completed game. If there is an Episode 10 underway, so long as it follows the same path established by these two DLC entries, it surely can’t come soon enough.Electronic Theatre Image

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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