Back in the day, there was a device called a GameShark.
The GameShark allowed players to enable cheats in their video games, by plugging cartridges into them. PlayingManeater feels a bit like cheating too, but in all the right ways.
In this case, the cheater is an actual shark, who definitely isn’t playing by the rules. His only goal is to eat as many humans as possible, and playing fair isn’t part of the process. He leaps onto beaches and flops his way towards people to get a bite.
He jumps over boats, swallowing innocents on deck. He can even become electrified, which seems especially unfair when you consider he’s in the water.
All the while, the shark is being hunted by Pierre LeBlanc, who is filming a reality TV show around the hunt. In a twist, you don’t play as LeBlanc — you play as the super-powered shark.
The gameplay of Maneater is Grand Theft Auto meets Ecco the Dolphin, where your primary goal is to much down as many innocent bystanders in the bay as possible, growing stronger and levelling up as you do so.
You’ll also be eating smaller fish in the water, plus battling ‘boss’ fish that guard certain areas of the bay.
There are collectibles to find and there’s a very amusing narrator, voiced by Chris Parnell of 30 Rock and Rick and Morty fame, who comments on most things the shark does.
Maneater isn’t going to win any awards, but this is simple, summertime fun that is deceptively entertaining. You’re going to eat a bigger boat.
Xenoblade for Switch
Meanwhile, although bigger isn’t always better, the release of Xenoblade Chronicles: Definitive Edition on the Nintendo Switch is an exception.
This is by far the best and most complete version of a classic game.
Xenoblade Chronicles is arguably the greatest Japanese RPG of the last 20 years. In fact, it is one of the few RPGs of that era to not only capture the spirit of the genre’s heyday, but take it forward in leaps and bounds.
How so? For a start, it has all the basic hallmarks of a classic J-RPG — great story and characters, wonderful music, a giant world to explore, and a really compelling battle system.
Of those features, however, it’s the battle system and world exploration that really shine, especially in the way they overlap.
Not only does Xenoblade have one of the most beautiful, huge and varied worlds we’ve ever seen in an RPG - the landscape is littered with all kinds of treasure and enemies to discover.
Very often, enemies you find are too strong to fight in the moment, but you are tempted to take them on regardless, just to whittle down their HP in the hope they drop a rare weapon.
The fantastical bestiary, plus the loot and XP they drop, makes the world of Xenoblade the real star of the show.
Xenoblade does have its flaws, however.
The battle system itself can get repetitive, becoming something of chore across hours of gameplay, plus the story takes a while to get going.
The real achievement of the game is capturing the spirit of adventure that old-school RPGs had in spades. It may not have the humour or charm of those games, but it has their soul.
A wonderful release for the Switch and one of the best games on the system.
Finally, in more sombre news, a PS5 streaming event that was scheduled for tomorrow has been cancelled due to the ongoing unrest in America over the killing of George Floyd.
The event was originally scheduled as a showcase for PS5 games and would have been the first real glimpse of next-generation gaming.
One of the games rumoured to be showcased was Elden Ring, the game from George R Martin and the legendary From Software team, who developed Dark Souls.
there games expected to show included the next Resident Evil.
The statement from Sony read: “While we understand gamers worldwide are excited to see PS5 games, we do not feel now is a time for celebration and for now, we want to stand back and allow more important voices to be heard.”