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Deadliest Catch: Sea of Chaos (Xbox 360) Review

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Deadliest Catch: Sea of Chaos is the second Deadliest Catch game to be released on the Xbox 360. While the original Alaskan Storm game was developed by Liquid Dragon Studios, Sea of Chaos was created by DoubleTap Games. So in actuality this is not a sequel, and should be considered unrelated outside of the show this was derived from. Though released in November at the typical price of $60, Sea of chaos can now be found for around the price of $40/50.

Gamers who played Alaskan Storm are going to notice a major change in the way this game plays. Whereas Alaskan Storm was primarily a simulation of crab fishing, Sea of Chaos is played through multiple mini-games. Though a varying amount of logic and preparation is required, most gamers will be able to succeed via skillful execution of these short mini-games.

The primary games (or jobs) you’ll be performing are setting crab pots, lifting up crap bots, sorting through acquired crabs and finally unloading them. Games last less than two minutes, and are relatively simple. To set pots (cages really) you take control of your boat and drive towards large circles that indicate a drop zone. You’ll want to drop off your total load as quickly as possible, as the time you take to complete this game affects the in-game clock and calendar. This is one of the more simple tasks, but is afflicted by very poor driving mechanics and lousy water effects. The scaling also appears to be smudged, as I never really felt my boat was in a real ocean.


After setting your pots you’ll want to spend time doing other things, to allow more crabs to be captured. You can set more pots elsewhere, give your crewmen a rest, visit shore or repair your boat. This does enforce a somewhat tactical aspect of the game, as you want to get the most out of your time in the ocean. Though once you figure out the very best method of success, it becomes rather easy to complete each campaign with relative ease. When traveling to various locations on the map, an indicator on the HUD tells you precisely how many crab are in that area. If other fishermen are in that location, travel to the second best area. Following these simple rules should give you an edge.

Other elements affect your crab and money income. At the beginning of each campaign you choose which crewmembers join you in your struggle. More skilled members will cost you more money, though it seemed pointless to ever hire the very best worker. Even when supposedly useless crewmembers are tired, I found that learning the ropes of a mini-game would still result in success. I could work any member of my boat to death and still earn near-perfect scores.

Really my problem with Sea of Chaos is that mini-games are too much a part of things. Sure, it is wise to plan carefully; but in the end all that really matters is how fast and carefully you perform the short games. One particularly awful mini-game is the repair scenario; which acts like a cousin to BioShock’s hacking mode. Except this version is less fun, more frustrating and often times unfair.

The last mini-game I feel the need to touch on is unloading. Or as I call it, Crabsketball. To unload your haul you throw crabs at a moving net that lifts up your supply of crabs. This is somewhat fun, except in front of your target net is a renegade crane that blocks your shot’s path. I understand that Sea of Chaos isn’t aiming to be the most realistic crab fishing experience, but really? I’d excuse this further, but the crane often blocks your shot even after the crab has passed the crane. In other words the crane’s barrier exceeds past it’s physical limits and acts as an unpredictable force field.

Going through this game’s various campaign scenarios is at times very fun. Collecting and selling crab is addicting despite being littered with problems. Graphically this game is also dated, with poor water visuals and simplistic polygonal models. Audio is not quite as bad, with Mike Rowe signing up to do some of the voice work. That combined with the Discovery Channel’s licensing at least allows some connectivity with the show. In that regard, I was very happy to see the crewman for hire in this game were actual members from the TV show.

Sea of Chaos is not that bad of a game, it simply is not worth the hefty price tag. Especially when you look at the plethora of blockbuster games which were recently released. Though they are not at all comparable, which person would ever buy this instead of Assassin’s Creed: Brotherhood, Black Ops or Fallout: New Vegas? Also noteworthy is that upon installing Sea of Chaos to the Xbox 360 hard drive it weighs in at under 2.0 GBs. To better their success and reputation, any sequel to this should be available exclusively as an Xbox Live Arcade game. For the price of $15, this game would actually be quite worth it.


Graphics
5.5

Audio
7.0

Gameplay
6.5

Replay
5.0

Genre
Mini-Game

Final
5.5

 

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