Maneater Xbox One Review

June 6, 2020 by  
Filed under Xbox One, Reviews & Features

Publisher: Deep Silver/Tripwire Interactive  Developer: Tripwire Interactive

Genre: Action RPG  Players: 1  Age Rating: 18+  Other console/handheld formats: PS4

If you are a misanthrope who hates people so much that you’d rather not play as a person, then Maneater may just be the game for you. Not only do you get to play as an ever evolving shark as opposed to a person, but you also get to kill virtual people as well, basically turning them into your playthings as well as your tasty food. Also, if fish is a staple part of your diet, then you definitely won’t go hungry in this game either.

Maneater’s story is driven by revenge. After the game’s central shark’s mother is killed by a shark hunter named Scaly Pete, your ultimate goal is to make the killer pay for his actions. The plot is told through both narration and cut-scenes, and it certainly isn’t without a sense of humor. Chris Parnell (Jerry in Rick and Morty) brings a welcome sarcastic tone, commentating on certain actions and finds in the games. It’s all very amusing and adds some character to the game.

Someone’s hungry…

At the beginning of Maneater, you take control of the lead shark’s soon to be dead mother. This is basically the game’s tutorial section, and here you’ll quickly learn that the game hasn’t got a great deal of depth. You can attack sea life and people with both your snapping mouth as well as an aggressive tail whip, and there’s a dodge button as well, which if timed correctly can leave enemies open to attack, although it doesn’t really get any deeper than this. It’s all still fun and is far from mind numbingly boring, although perhaps the combat would have benefited from some added depth, as it really isn’t deep enough, particularly as there’s so much of it over a 15+ hour duration.

The controls certainly take some getting used to, particularly as there’s no proper lock-on mechanic and also the fact that you feel like a small fish in a big pond to begin with, at least for a few hours or so. The camera can also be a little wayward for such a hectic game, locking on to targets and then detaching from them following a pattern of your attacks can be a tad disorientating, although everything still works well enough and the game is far from unplayable because of this.

When the game begins proper, you then take control of the main shark. At the start, she is a shark pup, although will grow and evolve over the course of the game. In fact the game has rather cleverly been dubbed a ShaRkPG, which means you’ll earn experience, level up, earn new abilities, and you’ll see the shark not only change in size, but her appearance as well. If you think she looks angry and intimidating in the early stages of the game, then you haven’t seen anything until you see her later on.

Maneater’s structure is basic and repetitive, and other than finding hidden chests or landmarks, perhaps a little more could have been made of the exploration as this could have really improved the overall feel of the game, perhaps some puzzles here and there. But it just wasn’t to be, and what we have here is a fun but repetitive game. You kill a lot of people, you kill a lot of sea life, you sink a lot of boats, and well, little else really.

Not only does the game have some more lethal boss-like Apex predators under the sea, but if you kill enough people or sink enough boats, hunters will come after you, and if you raise your Infamy level high enough, you’ll have a more skilled hunter attempting to send you to your watery grave. Defeat this hunter, and you’ll earn a new evolution upgrade, which can be equipped on the shark in one of the game’s Grottos, and these upgrades themselves can be upgraded up to five times, improving their effectiveness even further.

Go home or get eaten is the message here.

While the game is largely repetitive, at least the environments are varied enough. You don’t necessarily have to stick to the ocean depths, as you can go up to the surface as well and, amusingly, it’s even possible to jump out of the water and on to land, provided you keep an eye on your oxygen levels.

Visually, the game is a little mixed. Generally, it looks really quite nice under the water, although when you surface, things tend to look a little ugly. The game also suffers from some stuttering every so often, and while it’s never so bad that it’s unplayable, it’s still a little off-putting.

As you might have gathered, I don’t think Maneater is an amazing game, although I do think it’s enjoyable enough, and chomping down on sea life and people is a guilty pleasure. It’s just a shame that playing the game is like being stuck in a repetitive loop, as the focus is definitely on the action as opposed to anything else. While fun, more depth and exploration could have really improved a game that feels overly basic and lacking at times.