Published on December 23rd, 2010 | by Louis Garcia, Contributor
The Deadliest Catch: Sea of Chaos Review
The Deadliest Catch: Sea of Chaos is the third video game based on the hit TV show, Deadliest Catch. Sadly, it’s not a good game to add to the growing pile of games featuring Alaska.
The game is basically a collection of the same four minigames: sorting crabs, setting pots, retrieving pots and tossing crabs into a bucket before selling them. Sorting crab is somewhat fun, but the flicking and identifying of good and bad crab—or dastardly fish—is more suited for an iPhone App.
Occasionally the minigames are broken up when a crewmember falls overboard, but it’s identical to the pot-retrieval game. Another sequence has gamers repairing broken equipment, but it too isn’t interesting enough to keep the proceedings exciting.
The meat of the game is found in the campaign mode where players get to buy boats featured in the TV series and hire crewmembers. It’s a shame players only get to see the faces of the crew in photos, and there is nothing resembling the show’s greatest strengths: human drama and interaction found in one the deadliest jobs in the world.
Crab fishing in the Bering Sea also offers up a heck-of-a-great chance to show off some wonderful physics and graphics when it comes to storms, raging waters and the constant shifting of crab pots and equipment in vicious winds.
Empty. Just like Sea of Chaos makes me feel on the inside.
Unfortunately, graphically the game looks like a launch title. It is devoid of detail and while it isn’t painful to look at, it really doesn’t do too much to help sell an already monotonous game.
Perhaps a more adventure-like game featuring interactions with the storied captains and different crewmembers would have propelled the game into a better representation of the show. Granted, gameplay wise it’s very hard to make virtual crab fishing as exciting as the source material, but throwing away the minigames would have been a start. I can only imagine how exciting it would have been to run around on a crab fishing vessel and see everything through your character’s eyes as you interact with the crew, boat and equipment.
Presentation is weak with a very ordinary sounding narrator who ushers players through the game. Selecting fishing spots is also done on a world map by selecting areas on what could pass for a game board.
One gameplay positive is the ability to hire crewmembers that specialize in different areas like sorting. The more crewmembers are used, the better they become at different tasks.
Experienced workers cost more to hire and take more of the overall profit, so striking a good balance requires some thought. Or, at least it would if you could tell a difference between workers. I had no problem using the greenest of greenhorns to sort crab.
A local multiplayer mode offers some variety with up to eight players able to compete for the largest haul of crab, but it too is repetitive and suffers from no split-screen play—players have to watch each and every gamer take his turn.
The one thing I liked about Sea of Chaos is the inclusion of a TV episode looking back on the life of captain Phil Harris of the Cornelia Marie who passed away earlier this year. It was a nice gesture to fans, friends and family as well as a respectful move to honor him.
Aside from that, the game isn’t worth the price of admission ($50) and is a wasted chance (though a typical one when it comes to licensed games) to expand upon the show with interactive media and give gamers the feeling of being a crab fisherman in the Last Frontier.
[xrr label=”Rating: 4/10″ rating=4/10]
If you’re a fan of the show it’s probably better to sit this one out and revisit the series by purchasing a DVD collection or two. There aren’t enough minigames, the graphics are bad and the overall presentation is bare-bones for the asking price. Set your crab pot elsewhere.