It doesn’t matter if it is “Mouth,” “Meg” or “Dark Blue Sea,” we are secretly looking for sharks. Indeed humans are heroes who ultimately kill ancient creatures, but it is the monsters in the depths that attract our attention.
All teeth and muscles, they captivate us. Fins that crawl along the water attract our attention like train horns. Their violation on water is like a fireworks display coming out of the sea. “Human eater” take the innate attraction for sharks and allow players to experience the power of fantasy as a predator.
In this open world shaRkPG – which is a reference to the publisher Tripwire Interactive, not mine – the players act as female bull sharks. A hunter named Scaly Pete killed his mother and scratched it. In retaliation, the bull shark puppy bit Pete’s hand and fled to bayou.
From there, the player controls the fish as he survives in the wild. Bull sharks have to keep eating. The initial prey is catfish, grouper, and box turtle and these foods provide nutrients, which trigger the growth of sharks. Chewing wildlife is how a puppy becomes a teenager. From there, he can attack larger animals such as crocodiles which will give him problems at first.
The whole process makes “Maneater” feel like a suspicious answer “Pac-Man.” Developers, Blindside Interactive and Tripwire, blocked the initial area behind this growth idea. Players need to raise their sharks to adulthood before he can destroy gates and other obstacles to explore the wider city of Port Clovis.
The purpose of the bull shark is twofold. The first is that he wants to be a sea peak predator. That means growing into a megashark that is feared by sperm whales and orca at bay. Another driving factor is revenge. Bull sharks have one target in mind – Scaly Pete, a fisherman who is bigger than the life that wiped out his mother.
Apart from its attractive premise, “Maneater” will have problems keeping players interested outside the first hours of the novel. It’s great to be a shark and watch the growth of animals, but its mission design is pedestrian and monotonous. Most players have to devour humans, frightening rivals or favorite foods of peak predators. In addition, players will find collections such as license plates, nutrition caches or landmark signs.
Some of these side searches have enhancements that provide important evolution such as bull sharks such as shadow fins and bone tails. It acts like pieces of armor and gear that sharks don while in different caves, which are safe zones in each Port Clovis region. The set of bones is directed for defense while the shadow series is about attack power and speed. Bioelectric Gear excels at amazing enemies that crowd players.
Bull sharks can mix and match evolution or they can use complete sets for bonuses that make them unstoppable in certain scenarios. When paired with three appropriate organ upgrades, players can overcome enemies at sea. Bull sharks can even fall across land while eating humans who dare to be too close to shore.
Another problem with “Maneater” is control, which is clunky at best and most frustrating. Controlling sharks feels complicated, because players change the angle of shark swimming by looking in a certain direction. This is proportional to “Air Combat” the title but the clumsier and with the added dimension of fighting on the surface of the water. That was proven in the chaotic battle against the hunter chasing the bull shark after he had eaten enough humans. Trying to pierce and slam aboard is not the smoothest move and diving into the depths for safety and other offense attempts is awkward.
Movers and traversals do not have fluidity and these issues spread to the battle against marine life. Fighting cetaceans, sharks and other crocodiles involves dodging attacks when the enemy blinks yellow and then strikes back. This is not the most complicated system and can be difficult, especially with the lack of difficult locking.
The weakness of “Maneater” was partly removed thanks to the comedian narration Chris Parnell. This narrative is framed as a Discovery Channel type of nature show, and as the game follows the bull shark through its adventures, Parnell blends in with the marine facts and bites criticism on human relations with nature.
This clever comment was partly brought to the location of Port Clovis, which is a fictional bay town that is part of Louisiana and parts of Florida. The narrator who has an opinion stabs the strengths and strangeness of the two countries. That’s almost enough to make players see the problem of control and mission design that is holding back “Maneater” from being a great open world title.
2½ Two and a half stars
Platform:PlayStation 4, Xbox One, PC, Nintendo Switch (TBA)