by Kelly Brown
Whenever a television or movie property is made into a video game, there is always some suspicion how well the game is going to turn out. The Discovery Channel’s crab fishing series, The Deadliest Catch, is the newest television series made into a video game. Deadliest Catch: Alaskan Storm is a crab fishing simulation, which true to form of most simulations can be tedious to learn but rewarding once the player learns all of the game mechanics.
In Deadliest Catch: Alaskan Storm, players can choose from 5 different boats from the television show to choose and customize. Players also have to choose a crew as well. As captain of the boat, players must not only hunt for crabs, but keep the crew in a good mood, well fed, and relatively happy. A happy crew will work together well and bring in crabs more quickly and effectively.
Deadliest Catch: Alaskan Storm has several positive aspects. The crab fishing feels very authentic as a simulation. Secondly, the graphics are serviceable. The ocean effects are remarkable; however some of the landscape is lackluster. Over all, this game is a workable simulation of what it is like to be a crab fisherman. The game itself is the brain child of the Hansen brothers,Sig, Edgar, and Norman. Their involvement is very evident in both the simulation and the game’s extras. The challenges have a large number of video pop-ups in which Sig gives advice to the intrepid players. Also in the extras, you can tour the Northwestern, the main boat from the television show. In this virtual tour, players are regaled by loads of short videos which really give a sense of life aboard a crab fishing boat.
Battling 40 foot waves, ice, crew injuries, boating accidents, and poor crabbing are just a few of the challenges that players face while playing the game. In addition to the simulation campaign, the game also has several shorter challenges that players can take on. These challenges run the gamut from learning to dock the boat, to Coast Guard rescues.
Keeping in mind that Alaskan Storm is more a simulation and less a traditional video game, there are a few things that can be frustrating to your average gamer. First of all, players must wait for the crabbing season to officially start; otherwise players will be penalized financially if they start placing crab pots early. Thankfully, players can use a fast time function that will speed time and travel.
A second source of frustration is the seagulls that fly around your boat…at all times! While this does happen on the television show, their squawking becomes quite annoying very fast. Another frustrating aspect to the game is players have to retrieve the crab pots. If the boat is not in the correct position the crew will not be able to pull them up. It can take a while to get the boat to get in the correct position, which can become very tedious.
One last annoying portion of the game is that sometimes the game acted a bit wonky. When first starting out on the campaign we noticed it was hard to choose your challenge level because the highlight bar kept jumping around between the Easy and the Hard skill levels. Also we saw some more wonkiness in keeping the boat afloat. Sometimes we noticed that waves would flow through the boat itself. Also every time during the winter crab fishing that we removed the ice from the boat deck, the very second after the crew completed the task the ice would instantly return.
Deadliest Catch: Alaskan Storm is definitely a game for fans of the television show. The game publisher Greenwave, and developer, Liquid Dragon Studios, really took great steps in keeping the Hansens so closely tied to the video game, and incorporates the television so well. As a simulation goes, the game does a decent job at representing the experience of crab fishing. While the game asks a lot of the players in terms of learning the game mechanics and controls, it does manage to be somewhat rewarding. In addition to the campaign and the challenges, the game also has online multiplayer on the Xbox 360, in which you can compete against up to seven additional players. We found the Xbox achievements to be well-thought out, and encouraged players to head out of the docks to the ocean for valuable gamerscore and achievement pop-ups. Deadliest Catch: Alaskan Storm may not offer pulse-pounding excitement or a storyline which draws the player in, but it does manage to eek out a rather enjoyable time and rewarding experience.
Deadliest Catch: Alaskan Storm is rated T for Teen.