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Chris Kavan's Video Game Reviews (495)

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Persona 5 Royal 4.5/5
A Hat in Time 3.5/5
Sunset Overdrive 4/5
The Vagrant 4/5
Honkai: Star Rail 3.5/5
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Riverbond 3.5/5
Dead Island 2 3.5/5
Saints Row IV 3.5/5
The Last of Us Part II 4.5/5
Torchlight III 3/5
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Ghost of Tsushima 4.5/5
Battletoads (2020) 2/5
Danganronpa: Trigger Ha... 4/5
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Maneater 3/5
Door Kickers: Action Sq... 4/5
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Boot Hill Heroes 3.5/5
Control 4/5
Victor Vran 3/5

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Maneater   PC (Steam) 

Empty Calories    3/5 stars

Indie developers come and go and often only have a handful - or single - game to call their own. Blindside Interactive is one such company and Maneater, thus far, is their only release though they did also work on Killing Floor and Depth. I guess if you're only going to be known for one thing, a game where you play as a shark - eating, evolving, eating more - with a general fun atmosphere isn't the worst thing. While far from the AAA bombast, Maneater is a lot of fun even if it is mostly a time-waster rather than a life-changing experience.

Looks and Stuff: No problems here - for a game where you play as a shark, it looks pretty good. The swimming feels good, the chomping and eating feels good - and even the jumping and flopping around land (while sometimes eating people) is done well. Some of your powers can be annoying to use (like the tail slap) but overall I can't fault the experience. The game does a good job of giving you a wide variety of areas - from you starting location in a New Orleans-like bayou to a toxic-waste strewn urban area to the deep waters of the gulf - there is a lot to take in. The game also does well in giving you a wide variety of food - from turtles and fat-filled groupers to other sharks and even killer whales. As you evolve and grow, enemies (like alligators) that once seemed intimidating soon become just more fodder. My biggest complaint is that is was way too easy to reach the highest stage of evolution (even if it took longer to unlock all the special mutations), rendering most of the late-game decidedly easy.

The game managed to snag one decently big name, Chris Parnell, as the narrator. Being the game seems to be a mix of Shark Week and Discovery Channel reality (think Deadliest Catch - but with sharks), the narrator is a big part and Parnell is a welcome addition. From his fish facts to commenting on the area you happen to be in or the people you're about to eat, it's a lot of fun to hear what the writer's managed to come up with. Sure, there are some truly terrible jokes and things do get repetitive, but overall, they seemed to have landed on a winning voice. The other main voice belongs to "Scaly" Pete LeBlanc - the main bayou hunter - and is given voice by Carlo Mestroni, a long-time voice-over artist. He does a good job of giving the Southern hunter a bombastic bayou drawl to go along with his explosive nature. The other hunters and random humans are given voice as well but nothing too dramatic. Overall, I didn't experience any bugs or crashes and the experience was generally smooth.

Story: As the game begins, "Scaly" Pete LeBlanc has caught up with the shark responsible for the death of his father, a shark-hunter who passed along his skills before he was eaten. But what Peter doesn't count on is that this shark is female - and pregnant - and the little guy manages to chomp off one of his hands as it get away (and, in fact, said hand is your first meal). Our Baby Shark (cue the most annoying song in the history of the world) thus find itself in a murky bayou and goes about eating what it can to get bigger, nastier and hungrier. The story is told by camera crew filing a reality program about shark hunting (as stated above - like Deadliest Catch) and as the game progresses, Scaly Pete takes bigger and bigger risks - even involving his more academic son, Kyle, in his quest (guess what doesn't work out so well?) to rid the area of sharks. You also face other shark hunters - starting in small boats but working up to heavily-armed patrols - as you progress. This all leads to a final showdown with Scaly Pete - battered, scarred but never giving up.

Gameplay: Pretty simple - you swim, you eat, you evolve, you grow: rinse, repeat until you hit the apex of apex predators: the Megalodon. But beyond just getting bigger, you can also evolve mutations from an electric shark to a bony beast to a poison-spewing shadow. The normal evolution of just getting bigger and older comes from eating the various aquatic life around you: some gives you protein, others fat and others minerals - along with the odd mutagenic (usually represented by an albino version of a creature). These are the building blocks to evolving your form. But the real fun comes from unlocking the various jaws, fins, tails, bodies and heads - you get these from taking down hunters, finding hidden collectibles and taking down each region's apex predator (a more dangerous version of the various predators lurking about from barracudas to orcas). A full set of each mutation gives you even greater power - from the ability to deliver a stunning shock to poisoning all enemies around you.

The game takes place in the fictional Port Clovis and consists of eight regions: Caviar Keys, Crawfish Bay, Dead Horse Lake, Fawtick Bayou, Golden Shores, Prosperity Sands, Sapphire Bay, and the Gulf. Each are has different things to eat and usually introduces bigger enemies to take down. Each are is littered with collectibles: license plates, hidden caches (that give you a large dose of evolution material) and landmark. The landmarks in particular are fun to seek out as the narrator usually has some snarky joke to make - and references everything from Castaway to Titanic and much more. People who like pop culture references will get a kick out of it. There are also Apex Predators to hunt as well as little missions - like eating certain enemies or taking down lesser predators in the area. Much like any open world game - but you're a shark. While the game is fun, it does get fairly repetitive and, as stated, is way too easy to max out early on leaving most of the late-game super easy, even when chomping down sperm whales and other great white sharks.

Replay: Not much - obviously you can get collect all the stuff scattered about, but once you've done that and become the megalodon among the little fishes, there's not much left to do and with linear progression, a second helping would just be the same. Yes, there is DLC and the base game teases you with the first few missions, but I didn't get enough out of it to plop down extra for a new area and missions.

Final Verdict: Good for a quick bite but don't expect a lot of flavor.

Presentation: 3/5
Story: 3/5
Gameplay: 4/5
Replay: 1/5
DLC: ?/5
Overall (not an average): 3/5

 

 


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