ManEater Review: Banjo Kazooie x Sunset OverDrive
(A review code for ManEater was provided to Dr. Bob by Tripwire Interactive)
Shit where do I even start here? Do I tell you how much fun I had feeding on clueless humans trying to enjoy their some nice beach weather while we’re all still stuck inside? Do I go into a deep discussion of the importance of why games like ManEater need to exist (might save this for a video)? Can I rant to you all about how much I can’t stand the modern day videogame journalist, a topic I’ve already exhausted? I think I’ll just tell you about ManEater and why you need to play it.
ManEater is a semi open world RPG where you play as a growing Bull Shark pup seeking revenge against Scaly Pete, the shark hunter who literally tore you from your mother. Your whole goal is grow and evolve as you clear locations until you can finally put Scaly Pete in his place…your stomach. You eat your way up the food chain, devouring smaller fish and battling against predators like alligators, barracuda, other sharks, etc. Completing missions like destroying hunter boats, killing apex predators in the area, and doing some population control on fish or humans grants you with experience as well as resources needed to customize your shark. You are also given access to a whole slew of collectibles in the form of license plates, hidden nutrient caches, and landmarks that can give you key shark upgrades. This is where the RPG system comes into play, which in all honesty, is fairly light. As you level and unlock new upgrades, you can further customize your shark to have different abilities and attributes. The bone set is for endurance and defense. The bio-electric is designed to stun and the dark set is for speed and bleed DOTs. Each play a unique role in who or what you fight, but it almost seemed like the bone set was the best overall just in the thought that the longer you stay alive the more damage you can do. You can also upgrade abilities to farm more specific resources or make you even sturdier, because what’s more intimidating than an elder bull shark covered in bone plating with even more HP.
I have seen a ton of reviewers criticizing ManEater for repetitive missions and bare bones combat so I can start with that. Yes the mission structure can be repetitive with, go here and kill this, go there and kill that. There is only so much you can do with a “SharkPG” ya know. Deep Silver and Tripwire Int. could have opened up missions to other shit like fish NPC’s challenging you to races and whatnot, but in my opinion it would take away from what ManEater really is, and that’s game where you turn your brain off and just enjoy the carnage. Same notion goes for the combat. Reviewers have whined about how minimalistic it is when in reality how much more can you ask besides, swimming, biting, and tail whipping as a fucking shark? I’ve gone so far down the rabbit hole in streams and on video criticizing the criticizers about playing ManEater for what it is. It’s not GTA, you don;t have access to an arsenal of weapons, you’re a fucking shark, enjoy playing a game about a shark. Another con HAS to be the bounty hunts. I like the concept of having a similar mechanic to the WANTED system in GTA, where if you eat enough humans bounty hunters get sent out after you. My issue is it takes way too long to rank up between bounty levels. Literally cut the number of nameless bounty hunter waves in half and it’s problem solved. My last point isn’t much of a con but something worth noting. The story is pretty forgettable. It’s a satire of modern day fishing shows but to a hyperbolic extent bouncing between jokes and a serious dark humor tone towards the end. That being said, you shouldn’t be buying ManEater expecting to be playing the next Last of Us. Also, the AI is a little wonky, but I think it plays into the games charm.
I know the cons section seems long but i genuinely have very little in negative thoughts about the game because I had so much fun playing through it. I just always like to point them out to the fullest extent so the devs may see them and make adjustments in upcoming patches for new people picking up ManEater. My favorite aspect of ManEater is literally its no bullshit mentality. It’s a shark game where you cause chaos and destruction and they never try to pin it as something else. There’s no “proprietary blend” bullshit involved with ManEater and I absolutely love that in a game. ManEater to me is a perfect, shut your brain off and have fun, type of game. You don’t need to sit there and delve into the lore or deeper meaning behind what’s going on. I think the environments are perfectly varied enough, the wildlife and scenery changes as you progress to new locations and I genuinely think the game is visually impressive. The amount of detail put into how everything looks underwater with all of the secret sewer pathways interconnecting areas is well crafted. It’s no Dark Souls, but I appreciate the amount of detail put into it. The upgrade system, though minimal, is well thought out especially for the games length. Speaking of length, ManEater is a perfect 6-10ish hour experience. It took me a little under 11 hours to 100% everything, but local degenerate intern, Kung Fu Ken, speed ran 100%ed this shit in under 7 hours. 6-10 hours is the perfect time investment making ManEater never feel drawn out. I make the analogy that ManEater is Banjo Kazooie meets Sunset OverDrive in the sense that it takes the collect-a-thon nature of Banjo and the semi open world RPG aspects of each game and blends them well together. The collectibles felt rewarding to find especially with such incredible narration from Chris Parnell (Jerry from Rick & Morty) and the world was a joy to explore. The world and movement reminded me so much of Sunset OverDrive that it made more sense as a comparison than GTA. The satirical nature with so many pop culture references led to some great laughs. It never takes itself too seriously, I mean you’re a mutating shark, it’s basically a prequel to Street Sharks. Shoutout all 16 readers who catch that millenial reference.
ManEater is nearly perfect for what it is. If you want to shut your brain off and have a blast bringing chaos to a beach going population, this game is for you. The setting is well crafted, the underwater environments are impressive, the satirical nature and voice casting is superb. Collecting everything and progression feels rewarding. Combat is entertaining (again for what it is) and you’d be surprised at how much fun you end up having battling great whites and taking on bounty hunters. If you’re looking for a deep and thought provoking time sink of a game to play during your quarantine lockdown, then maybe wait on ManEater to go on sale. If you want to put aside a couple hours then you absolutely should play through this game. It really makes you feel like a bull shark. Shoutout the other 23 people who caught that reference.
4.5 Jaws References out of 5
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