For a recreation in which you’ll tear a child seal in half earlier than guzzling its gizzards and remodel a human right into a crippled sack of flesh and bone with a whip of your tail, Maneater, at its core, tells a surprisingly tender story of household and the battle for survival. In balancing its absurdity and humour with moments of poignancy, Maneater is greater than the sum of its elements, delivering not solely on the gore-soaked energy fantasy it guarantees however equally providing an unexpectedly meditative expertise that overflows with attraction and coronary heart.
Following a tragic encounter with notorious shark hunter Scaley Pete, you, a mere pup, are left alone on this planet to fend for your self. Motherless and vengeful, you start to feed and develop in preparation on your subsequent encounter with equally vindictive Pete. This Ahabian feud between man and beast acts as Maneater’s narrative crux, fuelling your journey from snaggletoothed adolescent to a ship-shallowing colossus. Whereas easy in construction, this story encounters some tumultuous twists whereas offering context to each Maneater’s gameplay loop and its persistently hilarious narration.
Framed as a actuality TV present of the identical identify, the exploits of your maneater are narrated by the velvety-voiced Chris Parnell. The inclusion of Parnell is an impressed contact that basically works to raise the minute-to-minute expertise, efficiently bringing life to the sport’s witty writing together with his charismatic supply. Whether or not spouting sarcastic quips or wistfully reflecting on man’s impression on the pure world, his presence stays a supply of each amusement and luxury all through your journey, regardless of some repetitious dialogue.
Sadly, repetition will seemingly be one in every of Maneater’s largest factors of competition. Based mostly round milestones of maturity and an ever-expanding set of evolutions, each creature you eat, collectable you collect, and goal you full rewards you with expertise factors and minerals which feed your development in the direction of turning into the ocean’s fiercest predator. Every of the open-world’s seven areas performs out in an analogous method as you full the identical handful of goals. These have you ever thinning the inhabitants of sea life and people alike, or pit you in opposition to mini-bosses earlier than having you tackle each that area’s apex predator and resident bounty hunter in a bid for supremacy. Whereas this rinse and repeat components presents little in the way in which of selection, I by no means uninterested in it because of a compelling development loop and a set of mechanics that persistently yield moments of exhilarating emergent gameplay.
Because of an absence of vocal cords, your company as a shark primarily consists of biting, flailing and swimming actually, actually quick. Fortunately, this appears to resolve most points, translating right into a fight and traversal system that’s simple to be taught but exhausting to grasp. Bites and tail whips are your fundamental technique of offence, which, as soon as mixed, let you tailwhip any unlucky soul trapped in your jaws, sending them careening into no matter or whoever you goal them at. Offering your defence, dodge rolls let you evade assaults, whereas lunges allow you to swiftly reposition, ram into boat hulls, or breach the water’s floor to lollop round on land for a restricted time. Mixed, this set of strikes actually make you are feeling like a feral, fearsome beast, lending a chaotic and sometimes hilarious unwieldiness to your actions.
As a juvenile, most encounters require you to make full use of those manoeuvres as you hunt down home windows of alternative earlier than retreating, restoring your well being with a number of mouthfuls of catfish, and heading again into the fray. As you evolve into maturity, then onto your elder and supreme “mega” types, survival turns into incrementally simpler. Within the latter half of the roughly ten-hour marketing campaign, the tables flip as you prowl the waters as a hulking, overpowered killing machine. Whereas this does dispel a few of the problem discovered within the tension-tinged early hours it replaces it with an equally rewarding energy fantasy that feels earned by means of your prior struggles.
Permitting you to dictate precisely what sort of terrifying, genetically-mutated beast you wish to be are evolutions, a complete set of passive buffs, energetic talents and bodily modifications. Bone, Bio-Electrical and Shadow units allow you to customise your maneater, whether or not reinforcing your cover with an exoskeleton, including an electrical shock to your chunk, or permitting you to secrete poison. This distinctive tackle a gear system works effectively, rewarding you with new evolutions as a gentle fee to make sure there’s at all times one thing new to experiment with. Moreover, every improve tweaks your look, reinforcing your rising bodily prowess with some suitably gnarly visible design.
Aesthetically, what Maneater lacks in constancy, it makes up for in its inventive type, environmental design and lighting. Other than some low element character fashions and the occasional muddy texture, this polluted dystopia of hillbillies and vacation properties bursts with persona and life. From the tangled shallows of Fawtick Bayou to the vivid, sun-soaked shores of Caviar Key, every area feels distinct whereas the world at massive feels cohesive regardless of this selection. Equally numerous is the sport’s audio which accompanies every chunk and strike with satisfying crunches and thuds. Accompanying this can be a rating that ranges from banjo-picking bluegrass and adrenaline-pumping electronica to John Williams-inspired orchestral preparations that drift between serenity and rigidity.
Past its well-paced story, a wealth of collectables and non-obligatory goals add longevity to the post-game. Whereas most of those merely present extra sources to additional develop your energy, landmarks, collectable signpost strewn all through the world, supply some good easter eggs which nod to popular culture whereas offering Parnell with a few of his sharpest materials. Other than this completionist-appeasing set of actions, Maneater’s world is solely a pleasure to inhabit and I already really feel enticed to return, if solely to glide pensively by its open waters.
The very fact Maneater exists in any respect on this era of consoles looks like an anomaly however I’m so glad it does. Whereas it’s gameplay construction might show too repetitive for some, for me this loop sits at a candy spot between comfy familiarity and refreshing novelty. Thanks to driving storytelling and a persistently rewarding sense of development Maneater delivers on the ability fantasy of its distinctive premise with an ideal mix of poignancy, absurdity and humour.
Maneater PS4 Evaluate
Total – Incredible – eight/10
Maneater fulfils the ability fantasy of its distinctive premise, taking you from budding pup to fearsome apex predator. Whereas its persistently rewarding gameplay loop might show too repetitive for some, primarily as a result of an absence of assorted goals, its compelling storytelling, charming humour and chaotic, gory motion make it a relentlessly joyful expertise.
- An unexpectedly poignant story of household, vengeance and man’s impression of the pure world.
- Its charming, vibrant world is dropped at life because of glorious visible design, witty writing, and Chris Parnell’s charismatic narration.
- A compelling, persistently rewarding development loop.
- Fulfils the ability fantasy of being a bloody large shark!
- A repetitive gameplay construction with little selection to its goals.
- Inconsistent presentation.
- Its unruly controls generally is a little irritating.
Evaluate Disclaimer: This evaluate was carried out utilizing a replica of the sport offered by the writer. For extra info, please learn our Evaluate Coverage.
Reviewed utilizing PS4 Professional.
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Max is a lover of video games, carbs and soft-faced canine. Typically in search of out video games that Chris dubs “artsy sh*t”, Max is Pure PlayStation’s resident indie video games zealot, passionately championing something underground or underappreciated. His different hobbies together with main a cult, being an artwork faculty dropout and telling everybody he’s vegan.