E3 10: Treading in the Sea of Chaos with Deadliest Catch

I did not realize at the time how many games based on television shows I saw at this week’s E3. I probably only scratched the surface, for that matter, but it seems like a lot. Deadliest Catch: Sea of Chaos is another such game. The television show, which I’m really only aware of through hearsay and passing glances, it’s about fishing for crabs, right? 

That’s what the upcoming game is all about. Crab fishing. Is there a collection of minigames in there that are representative of the act? Yeah, you pretty much have the right idea but there is a little more to this beast than that. 

 

In Deadliest Catch: Sea of Chaos, you’ll play as a ship captain seeking to profit from the lucrative but dangerous crab fishing industry. A combination of simulation elements and mini-games, it honestly looks like it could be a bit of fun for fans of games that feature a profit motivation.

The mini-games I was shown included pot retrieval, sorting and unloading. Pot retrieval has the player throwing a hook out to grab passing pots and pull them into the boat. Unloading features a similar mechanic in which you toss crabs into a moving basket. While differing in some aspects of difficulty, the similarity of two out of three activities shown made me nervous, especially considering that the game only features six of these games.

That said, the gameplay of running your ship looks like it could be quite fun indeed for fans of light strategy. Finding fishing spots, reaching them and returning with your haul is fraught with risks both natural and man-made. Weather conditions will make challenges more difficult and events like crew going overboard should keep you on your toes. In addition, your actions in mini-games can affect relationships with other captains, leading them to help or hinder you with false information.

Performance is also affected by the crew you choose to have perform tasks. Each member of your crew is skilled in different aspects of fishing. Upon approaching a challenge, you’ll be allowed to choose between crew based on these skills and success in a mini-game will build experience in that task for the crew member participating. More experienced crew demand a larger cut of the profits. In addition, overworking a crew member will reduce their stamina, eventually rendering them useless until they have been given time at port to recover.

I find myself very attracted to these concepts. And the mini-games aren’t terrible or anything. They are very skill-oriented, with speed and accuracy on the part of the player bringing significantly greater rewards through combo systems and time bonuses. I merely have to question if I’ll have much enthusiasm for playing them after getting a few hours in.

All told, I’m curious. Deadliest Catch: Sea of Chaos has certainly exceeded my (admittedly low) expectations for the title. We’ll just have to see when the game releases this fall if it winds up being a diamond in the rough.

Conrad Zimmerman