Maneater will have made a strong impression when he was announced during the PC Gaming Show of E3 2018. And for good reason, the idea of embodying a marine predator and terrorizing bathers and vacationers while shredding the person too busy sunbathing on his inflatable buoy to see the danger coming is quite attractive. But beyond the primary pleasure provided by a riot of gratuitous violence, does Maneater really have something to offer?
The test was carried out on PC and PS4, we did not find any bug or performance problem whatever the version.
Maneater is the title that interests us today, but also the name of the fictional TV show in which it takes place. This show stars Scally Pete, a bayou fisherman, determined to get his hands on the megalodon which deprived him of his father. The latter captures the shark that accompanies us during a brief tutorial before disemboweling and extracting its offspring. The newborn succeeds in depriving his opponent of his arm and fleeing. The player therefore takes control of the small shark and can prepare for his future revenge. This context of sensational television show allows the introduction of a narrator commenting on the slightest actions and gestures of the player. This good idea can break the monotony and thus compensate for the silence of our big fish. In addition the latter is not stingy with cynical remarks on the rednecks chasing us or in small spikes of black humor. This narrator with a pronounced British accent is undoubtedly one of the strong points of Maneater, because it is used for gameplay, in particular by warning you of the arrival of hunters, but also for storytelling and helps to give an offbeat tone to the title.
The first contact with our shark is particularly encouraging. He jumps out of the water, dives, does somersaults, devours and projects poor bathers onto the mast of a sailboat … One trigger allows us to gain speed, one to dodge, the other to strike tail and the last to bite straight ahead either. Enough to let off steam and satisfy your desires for destruction as a Prototype or Carmageddon could offer, for example. This aspect of Maneater is successful, our big fish responds rather well and turns quickly. Fetching an onlooker on the bank to take it into the depths or throwing it on a jet ski enthusiast has its little effect.
However, it is in its structure that Maneater disappoints. Terribly classic, the progression is repetitive at will and the missions to be carried out never differ. It is worth remembering that we are dealing with an open-world RPG. In order to unlock an area, the player must complete a series of objectives. Reach a certain level, defeat such a big fish, devour a specific number of human beings … In fact, apart from the recovery of collectibles or the discovery of localities, Maneater constantly asks us to go to a specific point in the card to kill one or more targets. It would not be prohibitive if the way to achieve it differed, but it is not. For example, during our game we had to accomplish the same mission three times in a row, namely “Kill 10 groupers at a certain place on the map”. All this with the aim of increasing our experience bar, gaining nutrients to improve our statistics and reaching the next region.
Maneater multiplies objectives of this type to give a goal to the player, the result is a multitude of icons that the latter will simply translate by: “Kill, kill, kill …”.
This loop of gameplay repeats itself very quickly and the desire to discover the 8 regions of the open world and to evolve our shark is stuck with the alienating aspect of these tasks. This is harmful, especially as the title is generally pleasing to the eye and the areas crossed each have their own visual identity.
Unfortunately boss fights fail to bring variety, as their difficulty only responds to the difference in level between the two cattle. Do not expect to defeat a level 20 alligator with your level 10 teenage shark, as it will reduce your porridge to 2 jaws. Jousting at an equal level generally boils down to hammering the attack key by dodging punctual attacks from our opponent. Little exhilarating in short. These clashes are particularly problematic at shallow depths. It is not uncommon for you or your attacker to be thrown on the surface of the water which blocks visibility and makes you lose sight of your target. In addition to this complaint, there are problems with regular cameras and a capricious locking system which makes certain confrontations particularly long and tense. Despite everything, discovering new species in each region and their behavior remains quite exhilarating, especially as their animations are fluid and give them a truly threatening aspect.
The more we spread terror, the more our level of infamy increases. At each level reached, a new hunter arrives, determined to transform us into a trophy. Defeating them turns out to be essential to progression, as they offer new customization options. It won’t be very complicated, because you just have to spot the redneck in question and wait for the right opportunity to jump at its throat and take it to the seabed.
Because yes, Maneater offers a welcome degree of customization which, in addition to aesthetically impacting the shark, offers in-game bonuses. Electric bite, additional damage on boats, better assimilation of nutrients, improved sonar … Enough to personalize your playing experience or adapt to a fight against fleets of hunters.
All this does not make Maneater a bad game, to run after innocent holidaymakers is enjoyable, it is a fact. However by wanting to check all the boxes of the open-world par excellence, the game of Tripwire gets lost. If we were enthusiastic after our first contact with the title, we did not think we had seen everything. Unfortunately after a few hours of progress, Maneater does not have much new to offer.
- Enjoyable in its early hours
- A cynical narrator at will
- A satisfactory degree of customization
- Visually friendly and lively
- A dated structure
- Repeatability that sets up very quickly
- “Kill 10 groupers”
- A wayward camera and locking system
- Frustrating at certain depths
If the concept could lead to smile, some saw in Maneater a release of choice. If the first contact is really pleasant and suggests several hours of inconsistent shredding, the observation is quite different. Maneater’s proposal was mouth-watering, but its particularly dated structure and overly repetitive tasks make the track regularly laborious. If, however, you want to chase tourists in a paddle boat and flutter them with a fin, we recommend that you do so in short sessions in order to avoid boredom.
May 22, 2020 at 6:09:25 PM
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