Toward the center of my time with Maneater, my shark, now the dimensions 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 might get pleasure from a gathering this near Dead Horse Lake.
As I gained bloody vengeance in opposition to the residents of Port Clovis for his or her abuse of the marine ecosystem, actor Chris Parnell’s voice-over narration crammed in some attention-grabbing 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 because the native inhabitants, identified for public drunkenness and petty crime sprees, was desirous to have fun.
Maneater offers quite a lot 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 unfastened of the hunter’s grip (by chewing off his hand) and escapes into the bayou, the place it (apparently) vows revenge.
What follows is a vicious romp by means of varied biomes, because of the shark’s obvious mutated means to outlive in each freshwater and saltwater, as you pursue the singular aim of getting big and consuming Pete. The complete expertise is narrated by Parnell (of 30 Rock, Archer, and Rick and Morty fame) as if it have 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 details, at least–with loads of gags on the expense of the drunk and disorderly Port Clovisians, rich shoreline property homeowners, the human propensity to use the ocean and its huge biodiversity, and significantly boring fish.
The comedy is a large a part of what makes Maneater work, as a result of in any other case, dwelling the shark life would in all probability 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 utilize to degree up your shark and improve mutations you earn as you full quests, which allow you to get greater and extra ferocious.
You’ll swim round consuming all the things in your path, however predators desirous 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 means to attempt to keep out of their means and get a number of bites in when their guard is down or smack them together with your tail to stun them. You get better well being everytime you eat one other creature, so victory is normally about beating strategic retreats and consuming strategic treats to get again as much as preventing energy.
Combat generally is a fraught affair if you’re going through harmful animals, because you and your enemies are darting towards one another like missiles and ceaselessly passing one another. Pressing in one of many management sticks on console will zip the digicam again round to the risk, however Maneater lacks a real lock-on system for some purpose, which may make it simple to lose monitor of the creature you are making an attempt to take down or escape. Especially in shallower areas, fight will get messy as you lose monitor of enemies, the digicam will get caught in opposition to close by landmasses, otherwise you by accident seashore your self or take to the water’s floor, which locks you into an above-water view till you hit a selected button to dive again down. Fighting predators is a ache till you begin unlocking cool mutations, which provide you with elevated stats and perks corresponding to beautiful fish as you rocket previous or returning well being if you chunk bigger prey.
Once you get a bit greater and a bit extra mutated, issues tackle a enjoyable, if considerably repetitive, routine as you climb the meals chain. Each area contains quests which can be all mainly “Eat 10 of X fish,”https://www.gamespot.com/”Eat 10 humans at X spot,” and “Eat X large predator,” irrespective of the place you might be. But going after the people indiscriminately has its costs–eat sufficient people and a meter on the high of the display screen that tracks how huge a risk you current to Port Clovis will rise, inflicting town will ship shark hunters after you. These people 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 hitch 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 primary set of quests.
Mixed in with these quests are hunts for collectibles. Scattered all through every area are crates of mutagens yow will discover and eat 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 consistently chowing fish, with the landmarks and their jokes particularly definitely worth the effort of monitoring all of them down.
So when 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 greater and extra highly effective (and particularly when you’re out of the best way-too-shallow bayou). Completing goals earns you particular mutations for every shark physique half that may be combined and matched to fit your play fashion, giving a little bit of a tactical RPG element to your fixed consumption. The three predominant units of mutations give attention to velocity, debuffs for enemies, and better protection, and choosing the right mutations for a state of affairs offers you an edge. The mutations do not actually change up the gameplay an excessive amount of for many 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, almost 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.
That mayhem would work quite a bit higher if not for the digicam points, the unfastened, panicky nature of the fight, and a few minor technical points we confronted whereas enjoying on PS4. In sure biomes particularly, the body fee would usually take a dive, which was particularly irritating when making an attempt 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 after 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 difficulty have been fastened with a pre-launch patch.
Issues apart, Maneater alternatives for shark chaos could be quite a lot of enjoyable. The greatest elements 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 and cease you. But as a substitute 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 means of 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 stability 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 diversifications outpace its drawbacks.