Talk about a game that made a splash, pun intended, when it was first announced and that game was Maneater. This would be that new RPG from Tripwire Interactive that places un in the role of a shark in a new RPG title for the PS4, Xbox One, and PC. It humorously took over all of the gaming shows that wanted to show off just what Maneater was all about as a vicious shark chowed down on all of the humans at the beach. Now we are finally here to take a deeper dive into what the game brings to the table. Here is our review on just how well this title fits in the larger pond of the video game world. Pun over for now… maybe…
Welcome to Maneater. The latest documentary that follows along with shark hunters out there doing their thing. All with the real twist of following a female bull shark that is out for revenge after being ripped from its mother's womb as a pup. It is a good thing that the waters in the area are so polluted that she will change and evolve to better fit what is needed to follow through on a not-so-classic revenge story here. Time to dive in and survive the waters and the dangers it possesses too.
Given that we are underwater for most of Maneater, that means we will have a lot of three-dimensional movement in the game. It is something we will need to worry about as we have to target and munch down on many creatures in the sea and then breach to take on things above the water. Sadly, at least on the console, this is not implemented the easiest to flow smoothly. It is not that the controls are broken or do not work, but they do not always seem to work the same way or make it easy to always target enemies out there. It is also a pain when you need to line up a trajectory to breach and target items out of the waters in Maneater. Even with a bit of practice, it is a pain to try to do and led me to want to move along with the rest of the basics in the game.
Maneater is supposed to be an RPG as well, and it does this in a usual manner of gaining its form of XP and evolving as you level up. The weird part is that there does not seem to be the proper scaling from the start of the game for all of this. I am not saying that I was expecting Maneater to be easy from the jump, but it is a bit rough that when you are fresh in the game and still only level 1, you will run into many enemies that are levels higher than you. Something that does not seem to be consistent later in the game either. Sure, there should be some challenges and reasons to go back, but when you are still learning the ropes of Maneater it would have been nice to actually have a solid chance. I can see this being an issue for many out there that do not have the patience to keep going.
One last thing to bring up here for Maneater is that the levels designs, while vast and interesting, do not always seem to flow well together. Sure, this could be due to the fact that we are seeing what is out there under the water and not how humans would build for, but for a game it is hard to traverse the world at times. This led me to keep using the fast travel more than I like to get from place to place and it felt like I lost part of the experience of Maneater. This could just be how I played the game here, but landmarks were not always easy to notice or stood out enough to help guide the player. It gets much worse when going through caves and pipes as well. Just be ready for all of those issues to come up.
I had a feeling this was going to be the case for Maneater as it is what caught my attention and the rest of the world's, but the humor and fun of it all truly shine here. This is through the story, world-building, dialog, and just the basic missions we have to take on in the game. There were so many witty quips and statements to keep me engaged and then needing to go out and terrorize the world as a shark, it holds up to what the hype was being built around. You might not think that should be everything needed to sell Maneater, but it is a huge point to be made. It was overly entertaining from start to finish just as an exciting week of sharks. Not to mention things that we might not be able to without legal issues here.
In Maneater, there is also a heavy push for exploration in the game's world and areas. I know I griped a bit on the layouts, but when you can dig into the full world of it all, there is a lot of other fun to have. Also to go out and find all of the other creatures out there to devour to level up and evolve with. The areas are lush and filled with all kinds of things to see with an "otherworldly" feel to them all as we are underwater. It would have been an odd thing for Maneater to fail in those aspects there, and it does not do that at all. Fail that is. Sometimes it is nice to just take it all while trying to get from point A and point B.
Lastly, and this was something I was teetering on for a bit, has to come down to the combat of Maneater here. There is a bit of a learning curve to it all, but once you figure it all out, it is a whole lot of fun. More so when you need to take on the apex predators in the world. The basics are chomping and various other motions that come with that. All how you would assume a shark to go about it all in this style of game. It also fits in more when you have to mix in the dodging and darting that has to go on for the larger enemies and sometimes the smaller ones in Maneater. It is all a good amount of fun to have and could only be made better if the normal motions were a bit smoother.
If you are looking for a hilarious and fun distraction from the world, Maneater feels like that perfect distraction from it all. The controls are a bit rough and the scaling is a bit rough from the start, but what the game does well, it does well. Especially if you are looking for exactly what Maneater has always been showing itself off to be with most of my issues possibly only stemming from the console controls over the PC ones out there. Issues that are not all that game-breaking and just something to take note of from the start as the learning curve is steep and then balances out rather quickly.
I give Maneater 4 Proteans on the Protean scale.
Maneater — Launch Trailer