When Jaws was released in the ‘70s, people were afraid to swim in the ocean. The idea that something is lurking under the waves is terrifying as a defenseless human. However, have you ever wondered what it would be like from the shark’s perspective? Well, Tripwire’s newest adventure RPG, Maneater, aims to do just that, and after going hands-on with it, all we can say is being the shark in this situation is definitely better.
Maneater, at its core, is an RPG game where players assume the role of a shark seeking revenge against a shark hunter. The shark begins its journey as a baby and grows to be a force of power. However, a lot happens between the beginning of the game and adult shark life, and that’s what will grab your attention.
Swimming through the ocean as a young shark isn’t easy since you aren’t the biggest fish in the sea. Predators will actively hunt you, but you can still seek out smaller fish to quench your hunger and level up. The game gives you goals to progress the narrative; completing these goals will also provide you access to upgrades. Once you reach the open sea, Maneater becomes an open-world adventure. Sure, you can go anywhere from the very beginning, but be prepared to face whatever might be lurking in the regions.
Larger fish aren’t the only thing that players should be afraid of. While humans are also food, killing them will raise the bounty on your shark head, which causes hunters to seek you out. Luckily, it’s possible to defend yourself in these situations using tail whips, out of water jumps, and your large teeth.
Maneater puts a lot of focus on its story, and that’s by design. The game wants players to have fun being a shark raising hell, but it also wants to tell a narrative. The protagonist is complex in several ways as he interacts with his son, but he is very much a bad person. This adds an absorbing layer of depth to such a silly concept that we’d like to see play out.
Throughout the game, the shark will age and gain access to fantasy upgrades, which can be combined to do massive damage. Players can utilize elemental attacks as well as body modifications that take the level of destruction to the next level.
For now, Maneater seems to have us by the throat. The game’s story of revenge is interesting enough to keep us wanting more from this single-player adventure. Still, it’s going to be the balance of how the developers plan out mission variety and story elements that will make this more than just a shark simulator.
Maneater is coming to PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and PC on May 22, with a Switch release planned for later in 2020.
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