WARNING: Review contains possible graphic images.
Der der, der der, dum dum dum dum dum dum. Oh, come on, it’s the first tune that enters anyone’s head when you think about Sharks. No matter what form of media, movies or games the theme tune to Jaws plays loud and clear.
When you think about games involving Sharks, theres not that many that actually come to mind, especially realistically violent ones. Jaws Unleashed in 2006 was probably the last one and it wasn’t fantastic. Tripwire Interactive and Deep Silver have been hard at work to try to bring a much more realistic take.
The evolution of a killer
The idea is to become the ultimate Maneater in the waters around the unforgiving waters of the Gulf Coast.
Experience the ultimate power fantasy as the apex predator of the seas – a giant Shark! Terrorize the coastal waterways. Tear swimmers and divers limb from limb, give the humans a reason to fear you!
Maneater is a Single-Player Action RPG. Fight to survive in the open ocean, swamps and rivers with danger lurking at every depth. Your only tools are your wits, your jaws, and an uncanny ability to evolve as you feed.
Maneater is played in a third [shark] perspective and the idea is to exact your revenge on the shark hunter Scaly Pete. He killed the mother shark and left you all alone to fend for yourself whilst being disfigured. The game is an open ocean and you can pretty much explore until your heart is content. The more you level up through completing tasks such as killing a certain amount of aquatic life in a set area or killing humans, the more of the map you will open up.
You need to hunt to consume nutrients in order to evolve achieved simply by killing and eating.
You start off as a small baby bull shark (cue that annoying kids song) with a blood thirsty desire to feed and grow until you eventually become the ultimate fear beneath the calm surface of the water. The game starts off with a nice introduction to the basics of the game. From there on you are on your own.
We’re gonna need a bigger boat
Obviously you are not the only predator in the waters and other creatures will attack you. The main predators however are bounty hunters. The world is reactive; kill too many humans and the threat level increases causing the hunters to come looking for you in their boats. Kill the hunters and your ‘wanted level’ increases until you attract the attention of various ‘boss’ level hunters. You will need to kill those off in order to unlock various shark modifications to make you the ultimate killing machine.
As your evolution progresses toward being an elder shark you can modify most of your exterior. You can make the entirety of your shark have a bone exterior which gives you great defence against other creatures as well as making you a powerful battering ram against boats in the area. The downside of that is that you will be slower in the water.
Give your shark electric fins and teeth and you can easily stun larger predators which will give you enough time to mount more attacks against them. Or, mix and match to find what works best for the current situation.
Each area that you unlock has a central hub area that you can use to swap out bits of the shark and also upgrade those parts as long as you have enough materials to do so. Consuming certain creatures will give you different materials to do this with namely proteins fats, minerals, and rare mutagenic’s.
The fun starts when you have to kill humans. A lot of them aren’t actually in the sea, but on piers and beaches. To do this you will have to jump out of the water and on to the land, bouncing along to your next victim. You can only survive for a limited amount of time obviously before your shark starts to suffocate out of water.
You have to understand. There’s nothing in the sea this fish would fear.
Yes, I’m using quotes from Jaws in this review, its only natural. There are other shark based movies that I could have used like Deep Blue Sea, but Jaws will always be synonymous with sharks. During the game there are a whole host of Easter Eggs with regards to movies over the years and not just shark attack films.
Throughout the game there are a lot of extra things to do other than the main quests. Littered around the underwater world are caches full of goodies to help level up traits as well as landmarks (or should that be watermarks?). A lot of the landmarks that you come across involve said Easter Eggs. The beauty of the game is in the sheer amount of them as well as numerous puns. There was more than a few times that I laughed out loud whilst playing.
The game plays as if you are part of a documentary with a narration playing over the top of things. Fun comments thrown in at random times as if Sir David Attenborough were conducting his Planet Earth series and combines that well with the overall story as well as total feel for the game. The voice supplied is actually Chris Parnell who hosts the in-game reality TV show ‘Maneaters vs Sharkhunters. Geeks will know him from 30 Rock as well as adding voice talents to Rick and Morty and Archer.
Is it true that most people get attacked by sharks in three feet of water about ten feet from the beach?
The game consists of a total of 7 regions all different from each other ranging from a swampland to the open ocean. Each of these regions will house an Apex Predator which you will have to kill at some point. Apex Predators are always levelled higher than your shark to add to the challenge. The only slight issue with the game is that you are level capped to 30 and in later levels those predators are twice the level you are. I would have preferred an open level cap for the game as I reached 30 relatively easily and had to stay at that point.
Defeating these Apex Predators will earn you special skills to equip and involves Alligators, Killer Whales and other Sharks. Defeat them all to become the ultimate Apex Predator yourself.
I used to hate the water.
The game is great fun. A perfect combination of humour, gore and narration. The graphics also stack up extremely well. I did encounter a few issues with framerate drops on my Pro but nothing major. The shark looks and moves beautifully in the water and out. Kills are where the game shines especially when you see the legs of a swimmer, you attack and jump clear of the water at the same time as chomping down on your prey.
At first the controls were a little confusing but did become second nature very quickly. There also were a few moments when I got stuck in the scenery especially out of the water and ended up dying as I couldn’t move to get back in the water. They were few and far between however.
For me, the whole game had a very strong feel of Dead Island to it. That was a great thing as I am a huge fan of that series. Please Tripwire, if you are reading this, take on the series and eventually get Dead Island 2 finished; it will be a huge success.
It took me just over 9 hours to complete the game. Now it is just down to me to complete the various side quests of finding everything to 100% the game. The story doesn’t feel rushed and was the perfect length of game for what you are presented with although I have been left wanting more.
Smile, you son of a bitch.
The game is easily worthy of a 9/10. With the sheer quality of graphics, the underwater living world with hidden dangers everywhere. The humour involved within the game, some of which you have to look out for closely. Its just one of those games that has succeeded so well when other games in the past have failed. If you felt sorry for the shark in any movie, this is the perfect chance to exact your revenge on the hunters of the world and enjoy doing it.