Maneater Review – Fish Are Food, Not Friends


Toward the center of my time with Maneater, my shark, now the scale of a sedan and sporting glowing blue fins and whiskers to assist it channel bioelectricity into the water round it, leaped out of a canal and onto the cobblestone dais stuffed with drunken revelers. As the oldsters having fun with the shoreline of Port Clovis screamed, my shark flopped after them, deterred by neither lack of limbs nor lack of oxygen because it chased down and chomped partier after partier unlucky sufficient to suppose they may take pleasure in a gathering this near Dead Horse Lake.

As I gained bloody vengeance towards the residents of Port Clovis for his or her abuse of the marine ecosystem, actor Chris Parnell’s voice-over narration stuffed in some fascinating particulars in regards to the horse monument my prehistoric killing machine was defiling. One 12 months, he defined, a Port Clovis-born horse positioned 20th on the Kentucky Derby, creating a brand new vacation for the reason that native inhabitants, recognized for public drunkenness and petty crime sprees, was desperate to rejoice.

Maneater offers lots of these sorts of moments, mixing ridiculous ichthyological carnage and actuality-present absurdity to create one thing hilarious. It’s an uneven expertise, due largely to technical glitches, irritating marine predator fight, and repetitive missions. But the longer it goes on, the extra enjoyable Maneater turns into, and its presentation retains it from getting stale.

That presentation is essentially the most impressed a part of Maneater. The recreation performs itself off as a fundamental cable actuality TV present that follows Cajun shark hunter “Scaly Pete” as he patrols the polluted waters of the fictional Port Clovis. When Pete finds and kills a pregnant shark, the child breaks free of the hunter’s grip (by chewing off his hand) and escapes into the bayou, the place it (apparently) vows revenge.

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What follows is a vicious romp by varied biomes, due to the shark’s obvious mutated potential to outlive in each freshwater and saltwater, as you pursue the singular purpose of getting enormous and consuming Pete. The complete expertise is narrated by Parnell (of 30 Rock, Archer, and Rick and Morty fame) as if it had been an inexpensive Discovery Channel nature documentary following the shark and its feud with the reprehensibly eco-unfriendly Pete. Parnell’s narrator mixes precise shark facts–or what sound like information, at least–with loads of gags on the expense of the drunk and disorderly Port Clovisians, rich shoreline property homeowners, the human propensity to take advantage of the ocean and its huge biodiversity, and notably boring fish.

The comedy is a big a part of what makes Maneater work, as a result of in any other case, dwelling the shark life would most likely be sort of boring, since you will principally spend your time consuming. You begin as a small bull shark pup, gobbling up all the things you may. Eating animals nets you vitamins you should use to degree up your shark and improve mutations you earn as you full quests, which allow you to get larger and extra ferocious.

You’ll swim round consuming all the things in your path, however predators desperate to make a meal of you, additionally patrol the waterways. Enemies like alligators and Mako sharks will dart towards you and chomp down, requiring you to make use of a fast dodge potential to attempt to keep out of their approach and get a number of bites in when their guard is down or smack them along with your tail to stun them. You recuperate well being everytime you devour one other creature, so victory is normally about beating strategic retreats and consuming strategic treats to get again as much as preventing power.

Combat is usually a fraught affair if you’re going through harmful animals, because you and your enemies are darting towards one another like missiles and incessantly passing one another. Pressing in one of many management sticks on console will zip the digital camera again round to the menace, however Maneater lacks a real lock-on system for some purpose, which may make it simple to lose observe of the creature you are attempting to take down or escape. Especially in shallower areas, fight will get messy as you lose observe of enemies, the digital camera will get caught towards close by landmasses, otherwise you by chance seashore your self or take to the water’s floor, which locks you into an above-water view till you hit a particular button to dive again down. Fighting predators is a ache till you begin unlocking cool mutations, which provide you with elevated stats and perks equivalent to beautiful fish as you rocket previous or returning well being if you chunk bigger prey.

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Once you get a bit larger and a bit extra mutated, issues tackle a enjoyable, if considerably repetitive, routine as you climb the meals chain. Each area consists of quests which can be all principally “Eat 10 of X fish,”https://www.gamespot.com/”Eat 10 humans at X spot,” and “Eat X large predator,” regardless of the place you might be. But going after the people indiscriminately has its costs–eat sufficient of us and a meter on the high of the display that tracks how huge a menace you current to Port Clovis will rise, inflicting the town will ship shark hunters after you. These of us represent your most harmful adversaries more often than not as a result of they carry all the things from harpoons to dynamite to attempt to flip you into chum. Eating sufficient hunters and sinking sufficient of their boats raises your Infamy degree, inflicting a boss hunter to affix the fray. Eat the boss and also you get a brand new mutation improve to equip, which makes taking down progressively more durable hunters a helpful diversion from the principle set of quests.

Mixed in with these quests are hunts for collectibles. Scattered all through every area are crates of mutagens you will discover and devour and floating license plates you usually must leap excessive out of the water to gather. There are additionally signposts that mark native landmarks each out and in of the water, which the sport makes use of as alternatives for jokes and popular culture references, just like the sunken wreck of a knock-off of the Bluth banana stand from Arrested Development. Seeking out the collectibles offers a pleasant, fast break from always chowing fish, with the landmarks and their jokes particularly well worth the effort of monitoring all of them down.

So whilst you’ll do the identical issues at every location, there’s simply sufficient number of actions that you simply will not get bored, particularly as you degree up and get larger and extra highly effective (and particularly when you’re out of the best way-too-shallow bayou). Completing aims earns you particular mutations for every shark physique half that may be blended and matched to fit your play type, giving a little bit of a tactical RPG element to your fixed consumption. The three foremost units of mutations concentrate on velocity, debuffs for enemies, and better protection, and choosing the right mutations for a scenario provides you an edge. The mutations do not actually change up the gameplay an excessive amount of for a lot of the recreation, sadly, however when you begin maxing out upgrades, they assist create the expertise that’s Maneater’s beating, scrumptious coronary heart: Making you into an enormous, ludicrous, practically unstoppable killing machine. You’ll nonetheless face difficult enemies like boats and predators, however you will normally get to decide on when to have these harmful encounters, leaving much more time for undisturbed mayhem.

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That mayhem would work rather a lot higher if not for the digital camera points, the free, panicky nature of the fight, and a few minor technical points we confronted whereas taking part in on PS4. In sure biomes particularly, the body fee would usually take a dive, which was particularly irritating when attempting to outlive an onslaught of hunters or a pack of hammerheads. I additionally skilled a uncommon bug that brought about me to lose my save file and had two collectibles straight-up not work once I collected them, stopping 100% completion and locking me out of one of many mutations. Publisher Tripwire says each the save bug and the collectibles concern have been fastened with a pre-launch patch.

Issues apart, Maneater alternatives for shark chaos may be lots of enjoyable. The finest components of the sport are akin to working round in a Grand Theft Auto recreation with a rocket launcher, indiscriminately wrecking all the things you see because the cops come zooming in from all instructions in a futile try to cease you. But as an alternative of a man working round with an arsenal of weapons, you are a monster shark launching itself 30 ft into the air, barrel-rolling straight by a ship, and plucking some screaming dork proper off the bow for good measure. With the sharply written, hilariously delivered narration and story beats to clean up the expertise as you go alongside, Maneater turns into a goofy, fish-flopping romp, with an excellent steadiness of limbs to sever, boats to wreck, and difficult creatures to render into chunk-sized chunks. Maneater is not an ideal shark simulator, however it’s a enjoyable and humorous one whose optimistic variations outpace its drawbacks.

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