Now I know what a lot of you are thinking, why in the world would they make a game about this and why would I want to play it? Guess that makes you late because this isn’t even the first game in this franchise. Deadliest Catch: Alaskan Storm came out back in 2008. We won’t lie to you, this game isn’t for everyone as it sticks to the subject at hand, and that is the art of crab fishing in the Artic. However, fans of the show will still find some things to love. How could they not, crab fishing is both highly lucrative and yet extremely dangerous which definitely makes for a compelling experience.
The best part by far is Campaign mode, in which you battle other fishing captains through a series of seasons on the open seas, each more challenging than the last. The highlight here is that several of the seasons are pulled directly from the show, which should make fans familiar with some of them. In each season you are challenged to accomplish a series of task. I’ll admit, once you get pass the first few, they become pretty daunting. In this mode, the game starts to go astray as most of the major points of the crab fishing industry is broken down into its own mini-game. These mini-games aren’t so bad at first. They are actually quite enjoyable and satisfying once you get the hang of it. The problem comes in the fact that the mini-games don’t evolve or change at all throughout the game, (save whatever bonus you get based on the skill of the person you have performing the task) which means the stuff that is super easy will always be super easy, and the things that frustrate you to no end will always (ever tried steering a crab boat, its really hard apparently). I really wish Crave would have done something here to break up the monotony and give the mini-games a little more depth, which could have helped replay ability tremendously.
A surprising aspect of the game is its RPG elements. While you’re out on the open seas, you will have five major tasks that you will have to learn how to balance if you want to be successful. You will have to determine where, when, and who you want to set the pots, retrieve the pots, sort your catch, repair damage to your boat, and offload the crabs. Your mastery of these five elements are all that matters and the better you are at figuring out who should do them, the better. As members of your crew perform a task they gain experience that will allow them to perform faster and more efficiently. Another nice element is the constant decisions you have to make about who to have on your crew. While many would think to go with several experienced crew members, the downside is that experience will cost you. Since the crew’s cut comes out before your final earning are calculated, you have to always understand what your target’s are and adjust accordingly. Personally, I found that the trick is to come up with a smaller crew made up a one or two experienced people, and then lots of less skilled crew members. You can use the experienced crew for the hard task like setting the pots and repairing damage, and give the lesser skilled crew members the easy stuff like sorting and offloading. In all the chaos, don’t forget to rest your crew, or their skills will decrease, which will affect their performance negatively and mess up your bottom line.
On the downside, when it comes to the graphics and audio, there isn’t anything to write home about. And don’t get me started on the ridiculously long load times, which are puzzling since there is nothing going on in this game to warrant them. The real shame is the game just doesn’t have enough variety in gameplay or play modes to break the monotony. The game doesn’t have an online multiplayer, but you can go head to head with others locally in Tournament mode.
Ultimately, I think that Deadliest Catch: Sea of Chaos does an excellent job of presenting the business of crab fishing in the most authentic way that you can. I‘m just not sure it’s the kind of business that needs a video game to be honest with you. As we said though, true fans will enjoy the game the most. With its combination of action, adventure and RPG elements, it’s definitely something unlike anything else on the market right now. The bottom line on Deadliest Catch: Sea Of Chaos is that for fans of the show or people who just like unusual games this definitely is worth the price of a rental, though I would wait till it comes down to around $20 before you think about buying it. If you want to support a good cause, you might want to know that in memory of the late Captain Phil Harris, a portion of the proceeds from the sales of the game will be donated to the Seattle Fishermen’s Memorial. The game does some nice things, but ultimately leaves players wanting and for that ZoKnowsGaming gives Deadliest Catch: Sea Of Chaos 6 out of 10.