The Discovery Channel's Deadliest Catch has been a reality TV hit for several seasons. To capitalize on the show's popularity, Crave Entertainment and DoubleTap have teamed up to bring crab fishing to the gaming world with Deadliest Catch: Sea of Chaos. While the game may catch the eyes of fans of the hit television series, its lackluster presentation and gameplay make it a tough sell to those who have yet to watch an episode of the show.
In an attempt to give the game a sense of realism, the developers of Sea of Chaos offer you the chance to select actual fishing vessels and characters from the show. In terms of the vessels available, you will see familiar names such as the Cornelia Marie, the Northwester, the Time Bandit, and the Wizard. You will also see crew members from the show, as well as captains like Sig Hansen, Johnathan and Andy Hillstrand, Keith Colburn, and even the late Phil Harris. As a side note, a portion of the proceeds from the sale of the game are being donated in Harris' honor to the Seattle Fishermen's Memorial. The use of the actual vessels and crew from the show are a nice touch that will be appreciated by Deadliest Catch followers.
Selecting a vessel and crew does involve some strategy, and the selections you make will determine your success. If you choose a larger vessel, you can hold more crab, but you will also suffer in terms of fuel efficiency and speed. A smaller vessel is less durable, but also uses less fuel and is faster, so the choice is yours as to which route you want to take.
When it comes to selecting crew members, each member has strengths and weaknesses in terms of setting, retrieving, sorting, offloading, and patching. They also have varying levels of endurance. If you want to go cheap and select greenhorns, their skills won't be as great as veteran crew members, but they will demand less of the financial share. Lesser crew members can have their skill sets upgraded over time through practice, however.
Gameplay in Deadliest Catch: Sea of Chaos is rather simple. There are eight campaigns in all, some of which are fictional and others are based on events that happened on the show. After you select your vessel and crew, you take off to cold, mysterious waters in your quest to catch the most crab quickly and efficiently. As you look for fertile harvesting areas, you have to set pots and perform test runs. You can also radio captains for occasional advice.
While trying to find crab-filled locations takes up some of your time, a lot of the gameplay in Sea of Chaos centers around mini-games. Each of the mini-games tests your skills in various tasks. For example, you will have to steer the vessel to set pots, after which you will have to retrieve them in a mini-game where you have to accurately cast lines at moving buoys. Once your pots are onboard, it's time to sort your catch. This involves picking up and selecting the best crabs and tossing them down one chute, while tossing fish and other unwanted catch down another. After you arrive to your port destination, you have to off-load the crab. In this mini-game, you have to toss crab after crab into a net. For added difficulty, a large hook swings back and forth that you must avoid hitting.
Besides the standard mini-games, you will have others thrown in that you must complete. In one of them, you will have to rescue men overboard. This game is similar in skill to the mini-game where you cast to retrieve pots. Another extra mini-game involves patching broken equipment. While all of the mini-games are entertaining at first, they do become monotonous over time. The game's learning curve is not too steep either, and some tutorials offer help in getting used to the controls.
Since the single player campaigns can become repetitive, it's nice to know that Sea of Chaos does have a multiplayer mode. You can play with up to eight players locally as you attempt to catch the most crab. Different challenges are available, allowing you to compete with others in dangerous storms, among unknown fishing grounds, with a damaged ship, and more. While multiplayer does offer some extra fun, the way it is set up can get old in a hurry. Rather than using a split-screen, only one player is on-screen at a time. This means that you will have to watch and wait your turn, making multiplayer mode a test of patience.
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