Sharks are the apex predators of the sea and their reputations are well earned as killers, but mostly for killing animals. With that in mind the developers over at Tripwire Interactive, created an action role-playing game that would allow these animals to get their revenge. In a title that takes place mostly under the sea, you are a Bull Shark with a big appetite. Feeding this beast is a massive undertaking and sometimes fish and turtles are just not enough to satiate your hunger, which leaves you one more food source close by, humans. Maneater swims into your library for PC, Xbox One, and the PlayStation 4. Come take a bite out of our review.
Ever since I saw the first trailer for this title I was in love. I love sharks and the opportunity to play one in such a manner was a breath of fresh air compared to other games I have played lately. To begin with Maneater helps you get acquainted with how all of the controls work with a basic tutorial. It shows you how to move around first. After that, it walks you through combat controls, how to whip enemies with your tail, how to grab them in your mouth and then hit them towards enemy creatures as weapons. Along with this basic induction, baby sharks will learn how to eat and thrash your prey so that you can level up and regain lost health points from battle. We are then introduced to the storyline by way of the reality series “Maneater”. This show follows a Captain through his day as a shark hunter and is aptly named the same thing as the game itself. Things are going well until he meets you after a shark capture. I won’t spoil anything here but this is where your story, and your shark life begin.
Graphics are important to a lot of gamers, especially for newer games, and Tripwire went all out on this title. I have been enjoying Maneater in 1440p with all settings maxed out. My rig consists of an AMD 2700x CPU, a Gigabyte 2080 GPU, 32 GB of ram at 3200 MHz, and is stored on an internal SSD. The first time the Bull shark shows up onscreen is amazing. Quality landscapes, or in this case seascapes, are everywhere from the sewers to the open ocean and even the bayous. The smallest detail in the fish and other sea life is present. The landscape above the surface of the water is pleasing to look at and very detailed, with a chance to find out quite how detailed it is when you take an opportunity to traverse pieces of it. There are eight zones that you will be able to indulge your carnivorous side in, including the Gulf of Mexico. Each area has new fish and creatures to see and devour, and harder challenges.
One of the greatest aspects of Maneater is that it is set up as an RPG of sorts. Your Bull Shark pup will level up as you eat fish, gators, people, and more. Loot boxes (no not those kind) are all around the floor of the bayous and waterways you inhabit. Finding them will allow your shark to evolve as it grows into an Apex predator, with new skills and even some pretty cool shark upgrades. These upgrades could be abilities like sonar, or they could be augmentations to your shark itself like mutations to make its skin stronger. Then there are other collectibles that you can find by searching for signs on the bottom of the riverways and Gulf of Mexico. Integrated into Maneater is an infamy system that allows you to gain rewards for destroying bounty hunter boats that belong to different hunters. Missions are basic go eat this many people, or kill this alligator here type missions. So get used to the cookie cutter grind to level up.
The swimming and combat systems are spectacular. Swimming around in the water with all of your twists and turns mimic that of real-life sharks and other aquatic life. If you have ever seen a Dolphin breach the waves then you know what I am talking about when you watch this massive shark cut through the water and do a large jump from under the ocean into the air. This is very helpful when you are under attack from hunters on boats. You can either attack the boat or, do as I do and rip the people straight off the deck of the ship and chew them to pieces. The waters will run red after you are through with your prey. Combat, likewise, works in a decent manner. You will auto-target whatever is in front of your camera and you can change from target to target quickly. Attacking things like alligators and barracuda will cause you to lose health when you get hit. Killing and eating smaller fish will help you restore your health and keep you in the fight. Thrashing and tail-whipping your enemies will be instrumental in how you survive a combat situation. Be aware, the gore from the blood and guts is very real, and I wouldn’t want it any other way.
Even though I feel that the RPG element is a great step for Maneater, it stands to make a note about the levelling requirements. Each fish, turtle, or human you devour gives you experience towards levelling up, it also restores your health bar, but it takes a very long time to go from one level to the next and it only gets worse as you continue to play. It makes it very difficult to level up especially with some of the creatures being stronger than your poor little starter shark by leaps and bounds until you spend a few hours levelling up. In the early stages of the game, you are barely able to survive attacks from weak levelled enemies, and then as you are exploring the water around you there are missions you have to complete. Some of these missions require you to take out larger predators to complete them, and for the first area you have these tasks to defeat level fifteen alligators. This is basically impossible at this level and it takes you quite some time to level up enough to go back to them and finally beat them. This makes it overly hard in the beginning. This does make the game a little frustrating perhaps, but if you are in love with everything else it might be worth it to keep going.
Note: Our copy was reviewed on Epic Games Launcher with a code provided by PR.