Deadliest Catch: Sea of Chaos PreviewBy Dana Vinson - Posted Sep 28, 2010
Deadliest Catch: Sea of Chaos Preview:
The reality show Deadliest Catch, which follows a fleet of crab boats as they fight against the unforgiving Bering Sea in a race for red gold, seems like a natural fit for a videogame: money, men, danger and fishing; however, it's not always that simple.
Back in 2008, I bought Deadliest Catch: Alaskan Storm on launch day. I think I was the only one and by making my solitary purchase, I effectively cleaned out my local GameStop. I liked playing it, because I liked pretending that I was doing one of the world's most dangerous jobs, but the game was thoroughly panned by everyone, including G4tv.com. (Read Jake Gaskill's Deadliest Catch: Alaskan Storm review where he gave it a 1/5).
Alaskan Storm suffered from a lot of obvious flaws, with the number one flaw being that it wasn't very fun. It actually became a joke around the office that at one point in the game, you have to press the X button to "wait in line." Virtually waiting in line is not something that's attractive to a lot of gamers, but for diehard fans of the show like me, we happily pressed X to wait in line and told everyone else to go jump in the Bering Sea without a survival suit on.
However, a new era has dawned for interactive crab fishing as Crave Games has taken over the Deadliest Catch videogame franchise with the upcoming Deadliest Catch: Sea of Chaos. Now, with Crave in the Captain's Chair, we're seeing a fresh start for the series. The basic concept is the same as the first game (get your boat, hire your crew, set your pots, sell your crab); however, the hardcore tactical approach has been traded in for a kinder, more casual vibe.
The game is fully featured, complete with mini-games and different modes, but we were shown a very early build that consisted of just the campaign. Because the game is much more accessible this time around, everything is very straight forward. The RPG-ish and strategy elements are still there, but it's much easier to keep track of everything this time around.
The build of Sea of Chaos I was shown was still a work-in-progress, despite a release date of November 9th, so we didn't get very deep into the campaign. Hopefully, by release date, they'll have a lot of the issues sorted out, but the core gameplay I saw was intriguing.
What I did get to do was create a boat, pick my crew and go out and fish. Boat creation is fun because you get to customize colors and other attributes. Plus, boats from the show are unlockables later in the game. Picking a crew has RPG elements, as each crew member has his/her own strengths and weaknesses and can earn XP. Like I mentioned before, the approach to this title is much more relaxed than the previous DC game, so the fishing has been simplified. You pick a fishing spot on the main map marked by an "X" and fast travel to the location. Once there, you enter into the pot dropping mini-game that involves you steering your boat towards targets clearly marked on the screen and pressing A when you get into the target zone.
After you drop your pots, you go back out to collect your bounty. No more complicated maneuvering of the boat to get to your pots, because this time, the boat drives itself and all you have to focus on is throwing the hook using a series of easy to master button presses when prompted.
The final fishing element is a trip to the sorting table, which again, launches a mini-game where you sort through the pile to keep the good crab and send the bad crab on the long slide back to the vast Bering Sea.
Once you stuff your tanks full, it's time to off-load back at harbor and instead of waiting in line, you get to try and throw you crab into swinging basket. Miss the basket and the crabs count as "dead loss" (the term used by fishermen when they arrive at port and some crabs are dead in the tank).
There's a lot of stuff that will be included in the final game that we didn't get to see: multi-season campaigns, in-game reenactments of past seasons of the television show, ice breaking, a tribute to Captain Phil Harris (the Captain of the Cornelia Marie who passed away in February of 2010), PlayStation Move integration and competition modes.
All those things will be great additions; however, the component I'm most interested in seeing is Move support. The way this game is designed, with all of the mini-game elements, it seems like it would really lend itself to motion control. It seems much more intuitive to sort crab by actually moving your hands than using a traditional controller and even though Sea of Chaos is coming out for the Wii, it would be awesome to have motion control in HD for this particular fishing adventure.
What does all of this boil down to? If you're a fan of the show and a gamer, Sea of Chaos might be something to check out. It may not max out your gaming skills, but it's probably the closest you'll ever get to doing the thing you love to watch and with the more relaxed gameplay mechanics, it seems like a more fun casual title that you can just enjoy without getting flustered. Plus, if watching Deadliest Catch is a family affair, Sea of Chaos is the kind of game that everyone can enjoy together.
Sea of Chaos is set to hit stores for the Wii, PS3 and Xbox 360 on November 9th and a portionn of the proceeds from every game sold will go toward Captain Phil's charity of choice, The Fishermen's Fund.