Maneater is a unique open world action/RPG or should we say a ShaRkPG? You take the role of a future mega-shark who was ripped from the womb of its mother by ruthless poacher Scaly Pete. As you rise up from the sewers, to the bayou, and finally to the open sea, you will have to eat and evolve to face off against your nemesis and get your vengeance. Sounds like a B movie script?
This game is fun for what it is: an open world adventure in the form of a shark. While the game was jarring at first, getting used to the controls and the interface, it takes a lot of paradigm shifts to take control of a completely water-based character from the typical human character that moves on land.
It’s not the first time where a game asks you to take control of an animal character, and while some games like Okami did it well, there are other games that didn’t do so well. (Life of Black Tiger? Or we shouldn’t talk about that title?)
It takes a while to get used to the controls (I know of someone who quit 2 hours in because he really couldn’t stand the control scheme), so I treated the game as a flight simulator or basically controlling a vehicle to get the hang of it. The tutorial takes about at least a good thirty minutes, and even after, the learning curve follows you until you reach the second area of the game. I feel that journey really starts when you enter Dead Horse Lake and you get the hang of the open world.
Sadly, by the time you reach that area, you’ve either grown tired of the janky controls, with the auto lock just disappearing everytime you dodge an attack, or the repetitive R2 mashing nature of the game.
As an open world game, it’s quite fun and you will have to do the typical collect-a-thon tasks and follow the quirky story, which works for a good few hours having a reality show host narrate the world. Though divided into ten separate areas with ten separate chapters, the game runs a good 10 hours depending on how you play, and if you’re a trophy hunter, you could easily platinum it in 11-12 hours or even less.
The game is relatively easy (there is no difficulty selection) and if you master a few controls and level up some evolutions, you could easily power through the journey, to which we’ve made a guide for, so check that out!
I played the game on the PS5 and in terms of performance, there was barely any loading times, but graphically, the uneven lighting really bothered me. In-game nighttime becomes a chore to navigate and sometimes I wish I could just fast forward the game to morning as nothing really changes in the game with the day and night cycles. It’s just extra dark at night.
Finally, maneuvering your shark through narrow corridors and secret labyrinths is aggravating as it becomes difficult to navigate these areas as everything looks exactly the same with no onscreen mini-map to orient you. Most of my time within this area was spent putting up the map screen, which got annoying after a while, and the no mini-map decision by the developers may sound like a non-issue, but it really negatively affects this game in particular.
Yet, there was quite a bit of charm and fun to be had with this game when you could maneuver your shark through a well-lit UI. Water combat is good when it works right and animal-vs-human battles are probably the most fun you can have with the game. I’m actually glad the game is short because after a while, the sandbox and the game loop started to become repetitive. It ended in the right place because besides the same three things that you have to do to complete the area (kill some marine life/humans, collect collectibles, beat an area boss), five more hours of this would make the game the exact same open world chore you’ve tried to avoid in the first place.
What We Liked:
- Fun and unique open world Action/RPG.
- Satirical story.
- Short enough and doesn’t overstay its welcome.
What We Didn’t Like:
- Lighting effects inconsistent.
- Frustrating controls with no mini-map to guide confusing labyrinths.
- Repetitive gameplay after the fifth hour, the game ended at the right time.
Verdict: Wait For It
Maneater is something different and for the weekend I spent on it, I had fun. Sadly, if I spend any more time on it, it would be aggravating. The novelty of the reality show premise and the satirical critique of humanity’s destruction of our environment was fun for the first few hours, but after a while, it became a broken record. Much of the game is repetitive after the fifth hour (some may find it repetitive after an hour or two), and it ended exactly before the novelty really wore off and what could’ve been a repetitive mess was avoided with a short main campaign.
Good thing about it is that it is FREE to play this month as one of the games for PS Plus for the PS5, so this is actually the perfect time to try it out if you’re lucky enough to be playing on Sony’s next-gen console. Otherwise, either wait for a deep sale or wait for PS Plus to give it away for the PS4 in the future. It’s difficult to justify the $39.99 (around PHP1,595) price tag for this for a few hours of fun and putting up with its defects. There’s only so much you could withstand before novelty becomes an irritant.