As somebody who’s been taking part in video games for over twenty-five years, I’m rising bored with the open-world components. However now and again, a sport comes alongside that piques my curiosity. Maneater is a type of video games. It’s a completely unapologetic amalgamation of each fashionable open-world sport with a killer twist – you play as a freaking shark. It’s distinctive, however is that novelty sufficient to maintain your consideration for a whole sport? Virtually.
Taking a web page out of the classics like Bambi (belief me, it’ll make sense), Maneater opens with you taking part in as a formidable shark earlier than rapidly being slaughtered by a famend shark hunter generally known as Scaly Pete. Throughout these moments, Pete removes and disfigures one of many bull shark pups earlier than throwing it again into the ocean. Maneater has you taking part in as that pup, as they discover the assorted waters and slowly develop and evolve to get your revenge on the hunter. It’s a easy story and one which’s significantly participating due to the way it’s offered.
With the shark being unable to speak, a variety of the story is instructed in the identical method as you’d anticipate from a trashy actuality present you’d discover on the Discovery Channel or A&E. Assume Deadliest Catch meets Duck Dynasty – besides the characters of Maneater are surprisingly effectively developed even in case you’re not meant to root for them. The entire expertise is narrated by Chris Parnell (of Archer and Rick & Morty fame) in a pseudo-Attenborough model to provide your entire expertise an genuine but comedic vibe too.
It’s a must to give it to Tripwire; they’ve managed to craft a sport totally revolved round swimming and underwater traversal that manages to regulate fairly intuitively. Because the shark, you’ll be capable to eat varied types of wildlife, maintain them in your mouth and even launch them at your opponents with the flick of your caudal fin. It’s a decidedly absurd journey – one in which you’ll virtually pogo soar out of water to seize somebody you need to eat earlier than dragging them to the underside of the ocean.
The sport itself can simply be in comparison with video games like Far Cry and Murderer’s Creed. Because the shark, you’re given free roam of the world, and it’s seven distinct zones to finish totally different missions and duties. Finishing duties allows you to amass proteins, fat, and mutagens to evolve your talents. However these duties additionally entice the eye of native bounty hunters, the place a lot of the motion and challenges come up.
Every of the sport’s areas is as distinct because the final, and that is maybe what shocked me most about Maneater. The primary space you’ll discover is a backwater bayou, rife with alligators. One other is a extra industrial space that’s lengthy been forgotten however crammed with air pollution. One even is a spot located close to a base of a mafia household, full with our bodies on the seabed tied to concrete slabs and left to drown. As you progress by way of the areas as you evolve, issues simply regularly develop into increasingly open to the purpose the place you’re within the open sea. There’s some nice selection within the areas, and its obvious nice effort went into fascinated about them.
Which is a little bit of a disgrace, then, as a result of the mission selection is sorely missing in Maneater. More often than not, you’ll be required to hunt a selected, extra highly effective creature or devour a bunch of them earlier than being rewarded expertise. It’s an enormous disappointment as a result of there’s a lot potential right here – however what’s on supply as a substitute can get outdated fairly rapidly. In consequence, I discovered it troublesome to sink into the world of Maneater for prolonged periods like I might different video games that make use of this type of construction. It’s positively higher in shorter bursts.
Slightly bit like Grand Theft Auto, because the shark begins to construct up increasingly notoriety, you’ll discover increasingly bounty hunters will come after you. Defeating every of those distinctive hunters will grant you a specific improve that you would be able to outfit your self with on the grotto in every space. It’s an non-compulsory hunt, nevertheless it’s ridiculously satisfying to aggressively soar out of the water, rip a hunter off its boat earlier than repeating the method till the entire group is gone. It’s a simplistic system, although one which, whereas repetitive, by no means stops being satisfying.
Probably the most thrilling a part of Maneater is the apex creatures, which function a type of boss battle in every of the areas earlier than you progress on to the subsequent. These are normally bigger and extra aggressive variations of creatures that you simply’ll encounter in your journey. These battles are nice, nevertheless it actually highlights an enormous flaw with the fight system – that it’s slightly bit simplistic and that the lock on doesn’t work accurately. Too many occasions would a creature sprint at me and fully disappear for a bit whereas I awkwardly readjusted the digicam.
It sounds ridiculous too, however a parry or block of some kind would assist make the fight really feel a bit extra concerned. Sure, it’s a sport about sharks, and sure, I form of need it to be slightly bit extra like Sekiro or Darkish Souls, however even with out that request, there’s one thing very……floor stage in regards to the fight of Maneater. Such a simplistic system solely contributes to the repetitious nature of the sport, which isn’t significantly useful.
When not speeding to do the assorted duties the sport, there’s a bunch of collectibles to search out as effectively. Comically, most of those take the type of license plates to eat or avenue indicators hooked up to distinctive areas within the sport world. The reward for doing so is usually further evolutions on your shark. An instance early on is bone enamel, that are higher suited to damaging boats, whereas others are higher for extra natural hunts.
At its price range value level, you in all probability have an concept of what to anticipate when it comes to presentation. On consoles, Maneater doesn’t even try and elevate itself past the locked 30fps framerate although the visuals are in any other case sound. As beforehand talked about, the good selection within the zones you’ll discover off the coast actually save what’s in any other case a fairly ho-hum sport visually. From a sound perspective, don’t anticipate a lot epic music; as a substitute, some dulcet ambient tones assist set the scene however by no means get the blood speeding.
However for all its imperfections and shortcomings, there’s nonetheless one thing undeniably satisfying about Maneater. You’ve in all probability performed a sport structured prefer it earlier than, however the novelty of being a shark is simply too distinctive to search out uninteresting. It’s simply so rewarding to actually dwell out the lifetime of your shark and actually eat your method up the meals chain, and that’s actually all you may ask for in a sport like this.
THE XBOX ONE VERSION OF THIS GAME WAS PLAYED ON AN XBOX ONE X FOR THE PURPOSE OF THIS REVIEW. A DIGITAL REVIEW CODE WAS PROVIDED BY THE PUBLISHER.
It is exhausting to disclaim that Maneater has colossal potential – although the shortage of mission selection and a few simplistic fight does lend it to feeling repetitious as time goes on. Placing these flaws apart, nevertheless, Maneater deserves kudos for an undeniably distinctive premise and laying a strong basis for a franchise that developer Tripwire ought to virtually actually pursue.
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