For starters, I need to address that cover art. First off, any game involving seamen in any way, should not be rated "Teen." Secondly, notice the two guys clinging on for dear life as the waves are tossing them around? Awesome right? Just screams "I am a man!" doesn't it? Well the game is nothing like that.
To fully appreciate this putrid piece of [Gamespot] I need to explain the awesomeness that is the show, The Deadliest Catch on the Discovery Channel. To be honest, anything involving Mike Rowe is automatically awesome. He's like Bruce Campbell in that regard. Oh come on, you know it's true. Don't lie. You've got a man-crush on Mike Rowe.
Mike narrates the episodes which follow the crews of various crab fishing boats in the Bering Sea, perhaps the deadliest patch of water on Earth-2. For you non-Geography minded people, like Ms. Teen USA candidates, the Bering Sea is the body of water in the northern pacific that lies between Alaska and Russia. All those funny little islands that stretch off Alaska like a tail? Those are the Aleutian islands and they mark the region that the show(and the game) take place.
Each of the ships, there's about 5 main ones the show follows, are big on familial connections. The main ship, with regards to the game, is that of the Northwestern, captained by Sig Hansen, another manly man of a man.
What makes men like Sig so impressive, is that crab fishing for the Alaskan King crab is the most dangerous form of fishing in the world. As of 2005, for every 100,000 fishermen that head out, 300 don't make it back. 80% of those 300 died of hypothermia or drowning. None of them died by clinging onto a space shuttle.
The design team at Liquid Dragon Studios actually spent some time out on the Bering Sea with Sig Hansen aboard the Northwesternto learn what conditions had to be created for the game and how they are girly men with no hair on their chests.
When I told my wife that I got the Deadliest Catch game from Gamefly, she perked up a bit and asked if it was like the show, fighting off killer 20 foot swells, decks as slippery as an AIG executive, the worst weather in the world and a freezing, biting cold that would make a lesser man curl up in a ball and cry for his mommy.
I told her, "No, you just sail around, drop crab traps, pick them up, and then go back to harbor to sell them."
She asked why I play this crap.
I told her that some men are fit to face the worst Mother Nature has to offer, stare Death in the face and laugh. Then there's dorks like me that sneeze in direct sunlight and start to burn.
Did I put off talking about the actual game enough yet? Yes? Alright, onto the actual game!
The Menu Screen
Gets a special call out for the truly epic profile shot of the main ship captains, featuring Sig Hansen, the pinnacle of manhood, above a ship being tossed around in the sea to the tune of "Wanted Dead or Alive" by Bon Jovi. Best. Menu screen. Ever. In fact, keep it on this screen, because if you don't, it means you're actually experiencing the
Oh boy. For starters, there's a mandatory tutorial (like the one ZeroDesolation played for Command&Conquer 3) that introduces you to the basic controls and various gameplay situations. Lesson 1: The boat is slow. Lesson 2: Your crew works slow. Lesson 3: Whenever Sig pops up on the screen, he's going to verbally smack you for being a stupid girly man.
Get through the tutorial and you get to be the crab boat captain of your own vessel! Wo0t! Select a crew, buy supplies and head out into the open sea where you spend an hour laying crab traps, simming forward 2 days, then picking them up! AWESOME! Did I mention you have to wait for your crew to prep each and every trap!? No?! Well they do! No wonder the Russian boats are so much more productive, your crew needs the threat of the gulag to get motivated or something.
Sometimes, to mix things up, the weather gets bad and choppy. That's when the "seasick cam" (Named by the same guys the Medal of Honor team uses apparently), is in full effect. Your ship gets tougher to control, but that's um, about it. On harder difficulties, some crew *can* be washed overboard, but it kinda loses any dramatic effect because of:
What little music the game has, is actually really cool and rather mood setting. No really, it is. I know, as shocked as you are.
What really grinds my gears about the audio is the stupid seagulls. Your ship, quire realistically, is being followed at all times by a flock of seagulls, no matter how far you run away, there they are. Squawking. Constantly. It will drive you insane.
Very do able achievement list actually, despite the fact that you have to upgrade your ship with all the...upgrades...hmm..awkward...and finish a season with your entire crew having high morale. Oh, and play an online game with 8 people in it (counting yourself). Besides those three, the list really isn't that bad. Long, boring and soul crushing, but not bad.
Don't let that fool you into thinking your man enough to tackle this game though, these rough waters? Only real men need apply. If you think have the guts and the testicular fortitude to hang with beer guzzling, cussing, roughneck bastiches, then by all means, pick this game up. Grab a copy with your man card. The one you had to turn in after Bambi's mom got shot. Wuss.