E3 2019 Preview – Maneater
Let me start off by saying that Maneater looks like a blast. With its unique concept of a shark RPG that has free roam and over the top gameplay, I can see turning off my brain and losing myself in the mindless consumption. While the concept isn’t entirely new, it seems to be an evolution of the mobile game Hungry Shark, with the third person perspective and open areas add much more depth. The early gameplay demonstration didn’t entirely impress, unfortunately. There were quite a few issues with the build, but it’s still early and the team seemed confident that these issues will be fixed by launch.
It’s interesting how they’re presenting Maneater because you’re essentially playing the shark who is in the middle of a television show, “Shark Hunters Vs. Maneaters”. The show (your gameplay) is narrated by SNL alum Chris Parnell who brings some fantastic delivery to his lines. The television show follows you around as you grow and evolve and you’ll eventually start fighting other Shark Hunters until you get to the head honcho. However, you’ll need to level up, evolve, and increase your man slaughtering power and skills before you go against the best Shark Hunter.
The gameplay presentation brought us through a couple different locations as it showed off various skills you can use. Using speed and momentum will also help you breach the water and gain massive air to jump over obstacles or do ramming damage. You’ll be able to grab on to humans, jump up into the air, and tail whip them across the map or into objects to kill them. Leaving them dead and ready to eat. Speaking of eating, you’ll need to eat and eat a lot, but a growing shark needs a well balanced diet. A variety of food types are available and you’ll need to find and eat each in order to level up various things.
Exploring is also key in Maneater, because not only will you find more rare food sources, but you can find nutrient caches that will give you +50 nutrients in each food source. Plus, exploring allows you to find unique stuff about each of the seven regions. The one shown off in the demo had a location called Snitch Park, which was an undersea graveyard where the mob dumps their kills. Each region will have their own unique look, wildlife, and dangers. There will also be a special large wildlife threat in each region that can only be taken down once you level up, the one we got to see was a massive alligator bigger than we were.
Terrorizing the humans will garner infamy. As you kill more, your infamy will rise and you’ll eventually have hunting parties coming after you. This system essentially acts like the star system in GTA where each stage gets harder and harder. Unfortunately, during the demonstration of the infamy mechanic is where the flaws really started showing. Jumping up on the beach to eat people should be a pretty scary thing, right? Not according to these NPC’s, they just continued to dance, barbeque, or just stand there and scream. The combat with the search party boats also revealed some bad animations, strange hit detection, and a whole lot of clipping. It definitely looked like a rough early build, but luckily the reps seemed highly aware and acknowledged things are still being ironed and smoothed out.
As the demo came to an end we got a glimpse at some concept art of the evolutions they want to add to the game. As you play and level up, you’ll eventually collect enough X-mutagens that will evolve you and increase your total size. You’ll start off fairly small, but by the end you’ll be a full fledged Megalodon. However, they did tease some evolutions that may imbue you will some elements. We got to see some concept art for a shark covered in spikey rock scales that will surely enhance defense. As well as an electric evolution that will provide the humans quite a shock. Maneater looks like a great romp, an action adventure RPG with a unique concept, and some “shut off your mind” fun. If the various issues can be ironed out before launch, Maneater should be a hit.
Developer: Blindside Interactive
Publisher: Tripwire Interactive
Release Date: Coming Soon 2019
Platforms: PC (Epic Store Exclusive)