Maneater: Truth Quest Review: Shark Attacks & Tin Foil Hats
Originally released last spring, Maneater was easily one of the most unique titles I’ve had the pleasure of covering here at Hey Poor Player. Developed by TripWire Interactive, the game put you in control of a bull shark hell-bent on exacting revenge against an infamous shark hunter. With an addicting gameplay hook built upon gobbling up sea life to evolve your pup into a monstrous mega shark and an entertaining story presented as a Deadliest Catch-style mockumentary, it was a blast. If I had one complaint, it’s that the game’s 12-hour campaign was over much too soon.
Enter Maneater: Truth Quest. The game’s first major story expansion, Truth Quest tosses new hunts, a powerful new shark form, and a fearsome new end boss to tackle into the water like a heaping helping of chum. But is it enough to entice players back into Port Clovis’ murky waters? Read our full Maneater: Truth Quest review and find out.
Welcome To Plovis Island
Maneater: Truth Quest takes place shortly following the events of the main game. After reducing Scaly Pete to chum and sinking his PT 522 gunboat, the monstrous bull shark finds itself in Plovis Island. Located just across the gulf from Port Clovis, Plovis Island is an eerie military complex where shadowy NWO operatives patrol the waters in heavily-armed warships, and irradiated apex predators lurk beneath the polluted waters.
It’s a setting designed to poke fun at America’s current obsession with crazed conspiracy theories, and developer Tripwire Interactive doesn’t pull any punches. Containers labeled adrenochrome rest on the seafloor and jokes about shadowy government cabals led by the Satanic reptilian elite flow like the tributaries of Fawtick Bayou to the shimmering Sapphire Bay. Cruising the irradiated waterways of Plovis Island feels like wading into your crazy uncle’s Facebook timeline. Those who are in on the joke will likely love Tripwire Interactive’s biting. However, it’s not hard to imagine some players may find the constant ribbing a bit much.
Personally, I loved every second of it. This is thanks in no small part to the return of Maneater‘s narrator Chris Parnell, who once again voices the game’s mockumentary producer, Trip Westhaven. Parnell’s performance is brilliant. And the way he posits insidious motives behind the most mundane occurrences on Plovis Island left me in stitches throughout the DLC’s 5-hour campaign.
Beware The Illuminautilus
Plovis Island isn’t the biggest region in the game by any means. However, the developer has crammed it full of new activities to keep returning players busy. For starters, there are a bunch of new Apex Predators to hunt, and they’re more ridiculous than ever. You’ll cross fins with an electrified great white, nuclear-powered orca, and more. And, as you’d expect, these monsters of the deep pack a pretty nasty bite. But they’re nothing compared to the DLC’s end boss M.O.L.O.C.H., who’s essentially a giant sea monster lifted straight from a kaiju flick.
Speaking of kaiju, killing apex predators now rewards you with new atomic-type body parts. These allow you to do things like launch balls of radiation from your tail or belch beams of energy that can punch straight through a ship’s hull. Make no mistake; Maneater has always been a seafaring power fantasy. But this form cranks the dial to 11 by turning your mega shark into a waterborne WMD. But considering what the DLC throws at you, you’re going to need all the help you can get.
Take the bounty hunters, for instance. Maneater: Truth Quest introduces five new bounty hunter bosses to chow down on. These fights were easily my favorite part of the original release, so I was pretty excited to face this new gang of hunters. And for the most part, I wasn’t disappointed. The new bounty hunters are tenacious. They pilot torpedo-firing warships and even attack helicopters as they attempt to hunt you down. Bursting out of the water and tail-whipping a torpedo straight into the cockpit of a gunship and watching it crash onto its comrades feels amazing and is easily one of the highlights of this DLC.
I really enjoyed the new bounty hunters, apex predators, and the atomic shark form. These are welcome additions to Maneaters’ package and a great excuse to dive back into the world’s first shaRkPG. Still, I couldn’t help but wish the DLC offered a bit more, as some of Truth Quest‘s design choices left me with more questions than answers. My biggest complaint is the lack of mission variety. For an expansion that’s all about unraveling shadowy conspiracies, I spent far too much time cruising around looking for sailors like a flesh-eating Ryo Hazuki. Truth Quest also introduces a new mission type. They’re a race against the clock where you have to swim through a series of rings. These missions weren’t fun in Superman 64. Now, two decades later, they’re not much more exciting.
Another issue I had with Maneater: Truth Quest was the missions that require you to destroy mind control towers and power generators. To knock these structures out, the game forces you to tail-whip explosives at them. Sounds easy enough, right? Well, not exactly. The game’s occasionally spotty controls, and the twitchy camera can make lobbing TNT or hapless humans at these towers feel like a battle of attrition. It’s a problem compounded even further by the sloppy enemy AI. There were times I waited for what felt like minutes for a bomb to actually land in the water so that I could retrieve it. Apparently, evil NWO operatives really hate the beach.
I also encountered a handful of crashes to the desktop while playing Maneater: Truth Quest. Hopefully, these can be ironed out with a patch. But for now, I have to admit they’re pretty annoying when they occur. The worst crash happened just as at the climax of a lengthy battle with the rank 5 bounty hunter.
Maneater: Truth Quest Isn’t Perfect, But It’s Worth Sinking Your Teeth Into
Maneater: Truth Quest isn’t without its issues. At times, the lack of mission variety can make you feel like you’re treading water. And while the new setting and commentary on the ridiculousness of internet conspiracy theories work well, the gameplay doesn’t feel like a cohesive part of the narrative. In Maneater, you had a tried-and-true tale of revenge with exciting twists and a satisfying conclusion. Truth Quest certainly offers witty writing and flawless narration. It’s just a shame that they almost feel wasted without meaningful missions to support them.
Despite these issues, Maneater: Truth Quest still manages to dredge up more of what kept the base game so addicting. Upgrading your shark into a radioactive killing machine is hugely entertaining. And the new bounty hunter missions and apex hunts are fun and deliver a meaty challenge to those eager to dip their fins back in the water.
If you loved Maneater and are looking for content to sink your teeth into, Maneater: Truth Quest delivers just that. At just $15, it’s hard to argue you’re not getting your money’s worth for an expansion that should take most players around five hours to complete. However, if you already ate your fill of mercenaries and sea monsters the first time around, I’m not sure it offers quite enough to warrant coming back for a second course.
Final Verdict: 3.5/5
Available on: PC (reviewed), PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, Switch; Publisher: TripWire Interactive; Developer: TripWire Interactive; Players: 1; Released: August 31st, 2021; ESRB: M for Mature
Full disclosure: The publisher provided a review copy.