By Josh Speer / June 28th, 2019
There were a handful of games I was unable to actually demo at E3 2019, but perhaps the one I most wanted to play was Maneater. One of the reasons I was so eager was because I kept hearing about the game from my partners in crime last year at E3. Another reason is simple. It’s an action RPG where you get to play a shark. No Ecco the Dolphin pacifist bullshit. This game is all about spectacle and mayhem, with a great sense of humor thrown in for good measure. Keep on reading to see how this crazy game works.
Even though I wasn’t able to demo Maneater, what I saw was quite compelling. For one thing, the premise of the game is unique. You play a young shark whose mother was killed in the course of a reality TV show called Sharkhunters vs. Maneaters. The man who murdered your mom is called Scaly Pete, and he’s bound and determined to kill every aquatic beast that comes his way. His reason for revenge is simple, his own father was killed by a monster shark. So this is a tale of revenge between species.
That said, you play the young shark, and you have a surprising versatility of ways to fight back. Since you’re a shark, you mostly devour things, but you can also ram ships, leap into the air and even use unsuspecting humans as projectiles. You literally fling them from your mouth, and it’s a thing of horrible beauty. But that’s not all. Since this is an action RPG, you can level up and actually evolve. By eating different proteins and fats you can adjust how you grow. You can also defeat legendary aquatic nightmares and in so doing get new forms. You might grow scaly bone spikes or get the capacity to conduct electricity. Maneater is only loosely bound by reality, and I think it’ll be better because of it.
The artistry in Maneater is stunning. You wouldn’t necessarily think so, but there’s a lot of lush realism and attention to detail. Since you spend a lot of time underwater, there’s tons of ripples and various water effects. The use of light in particular was haunting, and the game showed off bright neon lights and earthy hues. Just watching them maneuver the shark around was a joy, and the action never slowed down. In combat, things were fast and furious, and it was quickly apparent how much of a force of nature you are. That said, humans with powerful technology and guns will hunt you if you make a mess, so you’ll have your work cut out for you.
I didn’t expect much story in Maneater, but there’s a good amount of lore and humor on display. Since the format of the game is a reality show, you have a narrator announcing what’s happening, and it’s none other than Chris Parnell. The mad man from SNL, 30 Rock, Archer and more does a fantastic job of using sarcastic humor in his analysis. You won’t get bored by his commentary, I strongly suspect.
The good news is, Maneater is coming out to PC. The bad news is, it’s coming to Epic Games first, and moves onto other platforms some months later. I’m impressed by what Tripwire Interactive has here, and hope to see Maneater swim its way to other consoles later on. Because there’s very few things as entertaining as tearing through gawking humans as a deadly shark.
E3 2019Epic GamesManeateroprainfallPCRPGSharkTripwire Interactive