Sharks, the ultimate killing machine that always fascinated me and thanks to Tripwire Interactive’s new title Maneater, we get to live our lives as a shark, a Bull Shark to be exact. But why a Bull shark? Well the Bull shark can survive in both fresh and saltwater areas and this made it easier for the team to navigate between the different areas that you visit in the game. Also, they are one of the most aggressive species of shark and more for us to get some hunting/killing done in the process.
Maneater is consider a SharkRPG game and we take the role of a shark of course. While the idea of a RPG title based around a shark brings ideas of that other animal simulator, thankfully it’s nothing like THAT game. You are trusted into this world as a fully grown shark and you are tasked with chomping on some rather tasty humans to fill your tummy. This serves as a tutorial to get you familiar with the game while you can learn some interesting facts about sharks. Once we get through the tutorial we are greeted by Scaly Pete, who is a fisherman and Shark hunter and stars in a reality show called Maneater. When Pete shoots you with his harpoon gun and captures you, you see him cut you open to reveal a baby shark (for the love of god no signing!).
Pete then cuts the shark to mark him for a future hunt, but before he can release the baby shark, the shark bites down hard on Pete’s hand and we are flung into the waters. This starts a running storyline of Man vs Beast type scenario.
As you progress through Maneater and go about your daily life as a shark, a narrator of sorts will be chatting away about what you are up to or what you can do in the current area. There is quite a bit of dark humour thrown in for good measures, especially when you find some landmarks that are scattered throughout each area you come upon. Since you are a baby shark, you will notice that you are not the most agile or even fastest predator in the waters and you will need to improve, adapt and overcome what lies beneath. So, you will need to level up your shark by doing various missions which consists of hunting down and eating a variety of animals and as well as some chewable fatty bathers.
The game moves at a slow pace until you reach your teen years, but before long you will be diving, jumping and tail flicking enemies and filling the waters with that delicious red liquid. Since this is a RPG game, you get the usual upgrades to make your shark the ultimate apex predator and these range from be able to breathe longer out of water to having sonar, which is really helpful as you can scan the area for food or points of interest. The equipment in the game is more of a fictional approach, which sees your shark getting bigger and nastier variations of teeth that each have their own purpose. For instance, the bone teeth are great for destroy boats and works well when the Shark Hunters come looking for you. While it may not be the best to have when hunting other animals, it works on the boats. You can also grab abilities like, Adrenal Gland for faster swimming if you are under attack. You will also be able to pick up Bone, Shadow, and Bio-electric armour sets. These give you added bonuses like the Bone head that will let you ram into boats and give you more damage bonuses. Each of these sets have levels or tiers and you can upgrade them as you wish to get the most out of your current set.
To collect these upgrades, you will need to raise your Threat. This can be done by attacking humans in the shallows or even jump up on to the beach and killing them or dragging them back into the waters to feed. Once you have reached your desired Threat level, you will raise your infamy and at each new level, one of the local Shark Hunters will appear and you need to defeat them in order to get new upgrades that will increase your damage, health and damage resistance stats. You will also be able to gather armour sets too that you can add to make you a much more efficient killing machine.
Each area or stage you visit is very detailed and each area has it’s own setting and predators that you need to keep an eye out for. The first level you visit is a murky swamp as a baby shark, which is painfully littered with crocs. Each area or stage you visit is detailed and each area has its own setting and predators that you need to keep an eye out for. The first level you visit is a murky swamp as a baby shark, which is painfully littered with crocs. Eventually you will end up in the oceans and seas, where you almost feel like a pebble in its vastness.
The areas also have their own backdrops with golf courses, marinas, a power plant which is half submerged in the water and a city skyline. You are encouraged to explore and there are quite a few movies and game references to find.
The areas also have their own backdrops with golf courses, marinas, a power plant which is half submerged in the water and a city skyline. You are encouraged to explore and there are quite a few movies and game references to find. Like Pennywise the Clown from IT, SpongeBob’s pineapple house, the Crocodile from Peter Pan that took Hooks hand and I even found a crime scene… Maneater has some amazing locations that you get to visit and what lies beneath the water is a whole other world to explore, hunt and consume as much as you can. The controls are kind of awkward at times when you are attacking, just to the camera switching if you get too close to the surface, which sometimes can’t be help when you are fighting of an apex predator and its an all out frenzy.
The loading times during the game can be a pain at times as well and it can break up the gameplay too much. Playing the game on the base Xbox One, I found that there were some technical issues like lower framerates during fights and another issue with the game saves. An update was released that fixed this, however I still experienced it from time to time. The characters of your food in relation to the humans, they seem to run around like headless chickens most times and its almost comical, but I guess more time was spend below the waters as that world is almost perfect. When I played on the Xbox One X, a lot of this issues were non-existent, thankfully.
The gameplay in Maneater on a whole is amazing when you reach adulthood and you feel like an unstoppable killing machine. Until you get there however, you feel clumsy and sluggish in the waters. The missions can feel a little repetitive at times and its only that we get to feel like the shark in Jaws that we forget all this and start to eat everything our little hearts desire! When it comes to the boss fights (Apex Predators), these are well thought out enemies and each has their own strengths that you need to overcome. There is a lot of variation when it comes to these bosses and range from a killer crocodile to a sperm whale who wants to eat you whole. If they ever make a sequel, I would love to see more human bosses rather that just the bounty hunters.
Maneater makes us feel like we’re in a Jaws movie, but from the sharks view of revenge! The game is a lot of fun to play and waste a few hours on, but nothing too deep that would make you jump back in and replay it again. There is a lot of room for improvement like better execution of the abilities and maybe give us more options in terms of armour or upgrades. It’s definitely a unique spin on the RPG games and it’s not the worse game to sink your teeth into!
GoG Rating: 7.5/10