reviews\ Jan 5, 2011 at 7:00 pm

Deadliest Catch: Sea of Chaos (Wii) Review


It’s not often you see a game live up (or rather, down) to its title, but that’s precisely what Deadliest Catch: Sea of Chaos does. This fishing/strategy game, loosely based on the awesome Discovery Channel series of the same name, manages to combine boredom with tedium, leading to a fishing experience that’s best left floating in the retail depths. Glub, glub…

Since the game is called Deadliest Catch, you almost expect some characters from the show to appear, right? Well, they do, but in plastic, pasted-on form. It’s like you’re dealing with cardboard cutouts instead of actual fishermen. Worse yet, no one from the show provides any voiceovers. You’re stuck with a narrator who sounds like he’d be right at home reading knitting books to himself. He exerts no excitement at all, and fails to provide any weight to the story – to what little story is here, anyway.

There are eight campaigns available in Sea of Chaos, but none of them measure up. Your activities consist of minor crew management and mind-numbingly bad mini-games. The first part of the game has you keeping an eye on crew members, making sure they’re properly satisfied in return for their upbeat stamina levels (thus getting more things done on the ship). The second has you performing mini-games with the Wii remote, either steering your boat around the waters and avoiding the competition or throwing crabs around to separate the meatier ones from the bad ones.

Unfortunately, Crave Games doesn’t get either of these activities right, making Sea of Chaos a strenuous, unentertaining mess. The management game never really provides any challenge, since it’s easy to keep your crew happy without any of the hardships that the show presents. As for the mini-games, they’re horrendous. Steering your ship is too easy for its own good, and picking up crew members that fall overboard doesn’t really improve over time (seriously, guys, you can’t stay in a fishing boat on a calm sunny day? Really?). As for the crab throwing, half the time you’ll be struggling just to pick one of those suckers up. And even then, the motion controls don’t read properly, and you’ll throw them the wrong way as a result. The only saving grace is the rewiring game, where you need to fix equipment in order to get your boat moving again. But, we’ve seen it done better in other games. BioShock anyone?

As if the gameplay isn't awful enough, Deadliest Catch: Sea of Chaos actually looks horrendous as well. The graphics reminded me of a second-grade PlayStation 2 product, with poorly designed levels, static ship and crew member movements, lame crab animations (how hard is it to animate a crab?) and a genuine sense of dullness. It really does look like garbage – even compared to other second-rate Wii games. The audio is no better, between the sleepy narrator and the lack of thrilling Deadliest Catch-themed music.

Really, the only saving grace with this game, if you can call it that, is the video tribute to Captain Jack, one of the stars of the show who died a while back. But, even the tribute is too short for its own good. The Cap’n deserved a better game, and for that matter, so do we.


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