Wednesday, May 27, 2020

Review: Maneater (Xbox One)

Style: Single-player, action RPG | Publisher: Tripwire Interactive, Blindside Interactive | Developer: Tripwire Interactive, Deep Silver | Release: May 22, 2020 | Rating: M

Score: 7/10

How many times have you watched Shark Week and wanted to know how it felt to be one of those massive, apex predators and tear into the wildlife. Or munch on those probing marine biologist? Well, you now have your chance in Tripwire's newest title, Maneater. This new game sees you start out as a baby shark (pun intended....I will use pup from now on) to a full-grown megalodon to avenge your mother. This game is fun and entertaining but the lack of depth will leave you wanting more. This review was written based on the Xbox One version of the game. I do intend on buying the game on Playstation to get a quick platinum trophy as well.

Maneater is described as an action RPG, and while I do agree with the descriptor of action, the RPG elements leave something to be desired. The RPG aspects come in the form of equipable "evolutions." As you progress through the game, you will have access to different fins and tails, for example, and mutations. However, this falls short of the desired effects because there are only three full sets of "armor" and "weapons" and only a handful of mutations. While each serves a purpose, I only ever needed to use a few different mutations and by the end game, only one set of items was useful. I wish there were more items to equip and this left me wanting more from the game in regard to items

A good RPG wouldn't be one without quests and Maneater does have them. Of course, they revolve around eating and causing as much havoc as possible. Most quests have you move to a new grotto (a safe place where you can equip items and evolutions); population control, where you eat x amount of wildlife; and terrorize, where you cause havoc on the human population. That is it. You can see how it gets a little boring after a while. Once you finish the population control quests, you can battle the apex predator of that area. This is usually a beefier version of a common enemy you fought before. Terrorize missions are just what they are. Terrorize the humans on the beach. Once you eat so many, bounty hunters come to kill you. Once you defeat the named bounty hunter, you are rewarded with special upgrades. There are also collectibles in the forms of locations, license plates, and nutrient boxes. The boxes are needed to upgrade your items but you can also get them by eating fish.

The game walks the line of reality where many situations end up being plausible and ridiculous. That being said, the game is supposed to be fun and witty, which is why the developers opted to hire Chris Parnell, the voice of Jerry Smith on Adult Swim's Rick and Morty, to provide amusing narration and dialogue bits throughout the game. He even recorded over 90 lines of dialogue when the silent shark protagonist eats a human being.  However, even with Parnell added into the game, I believe his function is heavily underutilized.

The campaign is not very long and I was able to complete it and find all the collectibles in under 12 hours of game time. Again, this left me wanting so much more from the game and I hope they release more items and areas in either paid or free DLC. You are able to play the game after the main campaign and mop up any collectibles you missed. So do not worry about missing something.

For the price value of $40, Maneater is an enjoyable game to provide many laughs for a couple of hours. I was able to snag this game for around $18 because I used Microsoft Reward points. If you are able to do so, I would recommend doing so as well. Like I said in the introduction the game is fun and exciting. I was on my seat the whole time. However, Maneater will leave you wanting so much more and it has the potential to be more. Lack of items and quests variety leaves something to be desired, although Tripwire did a great job of what they did provide. While quests and combat are quite repetitive, it is made better because you are a freaking shark. Like really, what else do you need to know to buy this game? The game truly shines in the gameplay and I have included some video of my gameplay for your enjoyment.

  • Concept: Play as a bull shark and eat everything in sight and grow to seek revenge on the hunter that killed your mother.
  • Visuals: Both environments, above and below the water, have much to offer and each area has its own personality. The shark and bosses show a unique take on bland enemies.
  • Sound: Effects and music reminded me of a Jaws-esque environment. Chris Parnell, while great, is unfortunately underutilized.
  • Gameplay: Quests and combat are repetitive, but chomping on humans is thoroughly enjoyable.
  • Entertainment: Fun and different. I could not put the controller down.
  • Replay Value: Moderate

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