REVIEW: Maneater

REVIEW: Maneater

When I was a teenager, I was given ‘Jaws Unleashed’ for my birthday. This was a PlayStation 2 game that was based on the 1975 blockbuster, where the player controls the titular shark and must eat as many people as possible in familiar locations, taken from the film franchise. In its own way, it was chaotic but fun.

14 years later, a new beast has made its way through the waters. A reincarnation of those dangerous times lurking through the sea. Maneater is here.

Maneater is an RPG that lets the player control a shark that, after seeing a hunter kill off its mother, takes revenge on the hunter and its hometown. In order to do this, you have to evolve and adapt in the various seaside and forest environments that you encounter throughout your murderous mission.

As expected with RPG’s, the game gives you a lot of attack and defence controls, including a dodge and regular bite, to a tail whip attack that wouldn’t look out of place in Pokemon. Because of the number of controls, the game gives the player a relaxed, and linear tutorial to let the player perfect
these actions before going out into the wide-open world to wreak havoc and carnage (which is oh so fun to do!). However, the first few areas still stay linear to an extent, gradually becoming more open as you progress, allowing you to revisit previous maps and sections that were inaccessible beforehand.

Progression is achieved by completing various tasks, like eating underwater creatures and unsuspecting humans, unlocking certain areas and genuinely wreaking havoc on the helpless townsfolk. Furthermore, these attacks can be carried any way you want: stealthily, or upfront. Gaining upgrades is another aspect of the game, and this is done by collecting DNA that comes from
eaten prey. These upgrades range from Advanced Sonar to Subliminal Evasion. Further body upgrades, like bone teeth that can rip through steel, are gained by defeating the various hunters that try to stop you in your tracks. These upgrades are all necessary and useful throughout the game, and all have a reason for being there.

On a side note, the camera sensitivity can be adjusted via different levels, which is highly recommended, as the default sensitivity is tedious to work with. 

Maneater’s cutscenes are clearly influenced by Jaws or even Piranha 3D, introducing us to a shark hunter called Scaly Pete, who is hellbent on capturing the titular shark. While the idea, in theory, is a fun idea, it, unfortunately, falls apart in practice due to the awkward placement of the scenes. The game also introduces Scaly Pete three times in the first few minutes of the game, once again making the game’s pacing uneven. Maneater’s gameplay is narrated, giving the player shark facts as well as commentating on the choices the player makes throughout gameplay. While the shark facts it gives about sharks is interesting, it interrupts gameplay and sticks out horribly, ultimately making this feature unnecessary.

Overall, Maneater is a violent but fun shark simulator. The gameplay can be a bit repetitive, but it makes for a good game to just play casually with friends. While the game does have flaws, this is the ‘Jaws Unleashed’ remaster that the video game industry needed.

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