May 22

Written by: Thryon
5/22/2009 2:46 PM  RssIcon

Box Art
"Worst case scenario? She could roll over and sink."
Deadliest Catch: Alaskan Storm
Release Date: June 17, 2008
Developer: Liquid Dragon Studios
ESRB Rating: Teen
Reviewed by: Brian Wray
Deadliest Catch: Alaskan Storm is a video game based on the extremely popular TV show about crab fishermen. Deadliest Catch the TV show is an action packed adrenaline rush to watch, as captain and crew battle extreme elements and risk their lives in hopes of catching the motherload of King crabs and cashing in big money. There is a reason why Alaskan crab fishing is considered one of the most dangerous jobs on the planet.

The game may be based on an action packed TV show, but it is important to note that this is not an action packed game. The game is a strategy/simulation and tends to be on the tamer side of gaming. Fans of the TV show will be glad to know that Sig will pop-in in video form often to suggest tips on how to play the game.

The goal in Deadliest Catch is to capture the most crab possible during the short King crab season, then to sell these crabs while they are alive. Each season will vary a little in length depending on the allowed quota of crab to be caught, but a season will normally last between 5-7 days. Once the king crab season is done, the Opilio crab season will begin. The Opilio season will be a bit longer than the King crab season, but also less profitable.

Gamers will take on the role of captain on one of the great crab boats made famous by the Discovery Channel show by the same name. As the captain, they will be responsible for all decisions involving his/her crab boat. The first task will be to hire a crew. What may sound simple requires plenty of strategy as it will be important to select a good mix of greenhorns (noobs) and veteran crab fishermen (and fisherwomen). Adding a bit of complexity to the mix will be that each crew member will also need to have an area of specialty such as cook, first aid, deck boss and engineer. A good mix of crew members will allow the gamer to maximize profits and minimize power struggles. Also crew member will increase in experience with each crab season worked and will demand a higher percentage of the profits for their services requiring them to be cycled with cheaper labour to maintain that good balance.
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Crew aside, a good captain understands the importance of maintaining his/her ship. While the boat is docked at any port, money should be spent to repair the boat to ensure the safety of the vessel and its crew. A damaged boat will be a sitting duck out on the high seas. Sometimes a simple repair job will not suffice and upgrades will be needed. This task is also performed while in any port. Hint: don’t spend money repairing a ship part that is scheduled for an upgrade.

The visuals in Deadliest Catch: Alaskan Storm is subpar for an Xbox 360 game. The ocean looks great, but everything else appears to have been designed as an Xbox title. The sound in the game is just what you would expect from a game about crab fishing. It is also enjoyable for about the first hour, then players will tire so much of hearing seagulls that they will most likely turn off all sounds. Also am not really familiar with the TV show, but do they really have Bon Jovi blaring during the title screen?

The game offers 4 different difficulty levels of game play ranging from very easy to realistic. On very easy, crew mates will not get injured, the crab boat will not sink, and weather will be clear with relatively calm waves. Crew members will tire slowly, their moods will be mostly favourable and crab stocks will not move or deplete over time. Very easy is the perfect level for beginner (and for unlocking achievements). Once a gamer has mastered the various controls and skills needed to be successful at this game, they may opt to increase the difficulty a bit. But be warned, Realistic level is reserved for the demented among us. Weather is a major factor. Waves will trash the crab boat left and right, ice will build up causing the boat to be come unstable and in realistic mode, the boat is very sinkable. Crew members’ moral will diminish quickly when things go bad. Crew will also tire quickly and be more prone to injury. Realistic level leaves little room for error. It is truly only for the veteran crab fisherperson.
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One cannot live on crab fishing alone. The game ships with a series of challenges that is designed to test various crab fishing skills like the ability to dock a boat in a very crowded port without crashing into things. These mini-games are fun, the first time and only the first time. In fact, I dare anyone to play them again once the corresponding achievement has been unlocked. Go ahead, I dare ya!

One surprise is that the game ships with Live multiplayer action. Gamers can compete against seven other captains in capturing the largest amount of crab in just two days (about 5 minutes of game time). The action is surprisingly fun, mostly because you can converse with other captains while fishing.

Deadliest Catch: Alaskan Storm is not for everyone. The game can (and will be) quite monotonous at times. That is not to say the game is not fun. Fans of the show may enjoy the game, but few other than die-hard fans will find any lasting pleasure out of this title.
--Brian Wray

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