Naughty Bear: Panic in Paradise Review

Naughty Bear might have more ways to kill in Panic in Paradise, but the overall experience is barely more entertaining than the original.

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If you weren't expecting the psychotic teddy bear Naughty to make a return after 2010's disappointing Naughty Bear, you're not alone. If anything, his comeback in Panic in Paradise comes as a greater surprise to his legion of fluffy companions, who made the woeful mistake of booking a trip to Paradise Island without inviting Naughty--for what may be obvious reasons. The story never gets any more complex than that, and with that simple premise out of the way, it's not long before Naughty is up to his old tricks, such as ramming the nozzle from a gasoline pump down the throat of one of his cuddly friends and then flicking a burning match on him. Panic in Paradise makes strides toward being more appealing than its forebear, but it ultimately offers more of the same.

Serves you right for leaving your umbrella at home.

Each level still involves stalking ursine bystanders and subjecting them to cruelly detailed punishments with weapons and environmental perils like bamboo sticks. Panic in Paradise aims to enhance the experience with an emphasis on costumes, similar to the Hitman series. Not only do you have the option to sneak up on unsuspecting bears and bash their stuffing out as before, but you can also drag them into nearby woods and steal their duds. It's a smart move that adds some much-needed variety, both in the way specific costumes let you get close to targets without being noticed and the way you can unlock them for further use after completing a level.

Buying costumes piece by piece with the gold you've accumulated from your sprees now determines how quickly you level up. Each costume piece for the slots available for Naughty's head, face, torso, arms, and feet levels separately, and thus you need to switch out maxed items if you want to continue leveling up. The costumes are worthwhile investments in themselves since some grant massive boosts to Naughty's stats, allowing him to withstand a few more hits when his target is surrounded by bears. Naughty's vastly improved arsenal benefits from this system as well, although it's disappointing that many of the weapons use the same animations despite their differing textures. All this takes place in a much larger world than we saw before, complete with a vastly improved camera and 36 new bears to torture spread across 11 separate levels that should last well over 15 hours for completionists.

Do not let that bear behind the wheel.

But even with the additions, this gameplay gets painfully old after a couple of hours. Behavior Interactive put forth some clear effort to avoid this criticism by including varied settings, such as power plants and laboratories, along with requirements to kill bears while wielding specific weapons or wearing specific costumes, but inevitably every level falls into the same tired pattern of sneaking through bushes, trashing the scenery, stealing costumes, and braining the few bears who refuse to approach your hiding place.

At times the objectives aren't even clear, so you wander around wondering if you've picked up the right weapon or if you're staring at the object you're supposed to kill your main victim with. The action is made worse by the clunky melee combat that's a little too awkward without a target lock, and the mediocre graphics never achieve any greater significance than providing a sense of place for the action. All of these ingredients combine to make Panic in Paradise a game that's best played in short bursts rather than extended sessions.

Looks like the lawnmower repairbear is here.

Even then, Panic in Paradise suffers from an annoying tendency to crash at the most inopportune moments, such as when you've spent 30 minutes completing all the secondary objectives and nabbing every costume in one of the larger levels. After the crash, you have no choice but to start all over, which can be a pain since getting the most out of every level entails tackling at least three secondary objectives and bashing all the scenery for extra gold. If that's not bad enough, the bears themselves tend to die too soon, particularly if you accidentally spook them into committing suicide by running into the ubiquitous cacti when the level requires you to shove them into an interdimensional portal instead. Worst of all, Naughty sometimes gets stuck in his attack animations, and you're powerless until his deathblow decides to come down several minutes later.

Despite these stumbles, Panic in Paradise is still a better game than 2010's Naughty Bear in terms of content, but ultimately the same awareness of a hundred missed opportunities settles in. As before, the charm of the unhinged British narrator and the sight of cutesy bears getting impaled on bamboo wears off before long, and the new nods to variety can't mask the feeling that you're doing the same thing over and over for more than 30 levels. Still, restricting this meatier entry to a downloadable game at a fraction of the original's cost allows you to stretch your dollars, and the ability to revisit each level for higher scores and better costumes allows for substantial replayability--presuming you want to replay it in the first place. A word of warning to parents, though: Naughty is even more violent this time around, and while there's technically no blood or swearing, some of the sights are far more gruesome than its kid-friendly rating would have you believe.

The Good
The focus on stealing costumes adds a new level of complexity
Tons of gear with stats to choose from
The Bad
Repetitive
Frequent crashes
5.5
Mediocre
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Leif Johnson (pronounced "Layf") is a freelance writer whose works have appeared on GameSpot, IGN, PC Gamer, Official Xbox Magazine, GameTrailers, and a host of other publications. He still considers GameSpot a "home" of sorts, though, as he got his foot in the door through GameSpot's blogging platform. He lives on a ranch north of Goliad, Texas..

Discussion

7 comments
NaughtyBear827
NaughtyBear827

This game really brought up my spirits. However, the crashes and the fact that all of the weapons basically SHARED Ultra-Kills ruined it. Instead of having three unique ultra-kills, they just bump in one overused Ultra-Kill than the other which makes you say "Variety? HAH!". Also, it lacks the meaning of "Stealth". It's just WAY too easy to hide and then they act like you never existed instead of investigating the area.

But, if they continue to listen to us and continue to make more Naughty Bear games, they'll soon get it.

Justinps2hero
Justinps2hero

Really enjoyed the first game, but I've never known a game to crash so often. I binned it in the end.

JohnnyGT1
JohnnyGT1

I was kind of looking forward to this one because I enjoyed the first one. The only thing I didn't like was that the levels were repetitive and the multiplier was kind of broken; but other than that it was a decent game. Maybe I'll download this game later.

DinoBuster
DinoBuster

The first game actually has a decent cult following. I've always got that the original game was meant to emulate a B movie slasher film of the sorts for all intents and purposes, and if you actually play the game with that concept in mind, you'll most likely agree that it achieves it really well on just about all levels. (Building tension among the victims, scaring them, wasting them in creative ways in front of witnesses, being totally undetectable in the woods, dumb as dirt victims, etc.)

 

Both games have a lot of issues as far as gameplay is concerned, thats for sure, especially with PiP suffering from a lot of annoying crashes which is really inexcusable;

however, both games offer a really amusing and unique experience if you can allow yourself to have fun with them. I personally liked both games, and laughed my ass off at both.

DeadrisingX1
DeadrisingX1

The stealth mechanic's also bad and he humor falls flat.

RealFabioSooner
RealFabioSooner

"Panic in Paradise makes strides toward being more appealing than its foreBEAR (...)"

#rimshot

 

ElfShotTheFood
ElfShotTheFood

Before anyone else mentions it, this game is "not" keeping an entirely different company from making a sequel you want to play but probably never will because the first game didn't sell well.

Naughty Bear: Panic in Paradise More Info

  • Released
    • PlayStation 3
    • Xbox 360
    Naughty Bear Panic in Paradise is a follow-up to 2010's surreal action game.
    6.5
    Average User RatingOut of 26 User Ratings
    Please Sign In to rate Naughty Bear: Panic in Paradise
    Developed by:
    Behaviour Interactive
    Published by:
    505 Games
    Genres:
    Action
    Content is generally suitable for ages 13 and up. May contain violence, suggestive themes, crude humor, minimal blood, simulated gambling and/or infrequent use of strong language.
    Teen
    All Platforms
    Crude Humor, Violence