When Maneater launched last year I quite enjoyed the mindless chomping gameplay and the ridiculous story that held it all together – it was a fun game that knew what it was trying to do, and never took its job seriously. The first DLC that’s arrived for it seems like it’s trying to win the award for most insane story premise of the year, and so far in 2021 it’s the top contender. Clearly, being a bull shark on a revenge trip was never enough, and now it’s time to don the foil hats and take a ride on the crazy bus along conspiracy highway. If you could fit every dubious theory about the political machinations of the world, the staging of milestone events, and visits from extra-terrestrials into a single TV programme, Truth Quest would be a perfect example. Then it adds a massive shark that solves all its problems by eating them. The question is, does the bus go all the way to Nutsville, or does it breakdown before it gets there?
Trip Westhaven – the voice behind the reality TV fishing jaunt in the main game – is back, and this time he’s got a new TV show… Truth Quest! With his discovery of a secret military base on Plover Island near Port Clovis, he’s convinced something sinister is happening. Is it the Illuminati? Is it a secret global cabal? Is it reptilian aliens wanting to dominate the planet? We don’t know, but he’s convinced it’s the latter. Of course, the only way to uncover the nefarious plot is to use our old pal Sharky to cause havoc and force them to reveal their hand. His show guides us through the various landmarks and hidden areas on the island, and asks that the bull shark does what she does best, munch on everything in sight. However, the navy personnel aren’t going to take this whilst lazing on a lilo, and will be more of a threat than the geriatric population she’s used to. It’s a good job she’s nearly at the top of the food chain then.
Truth Quest is mostly set in an entirely new area that’s separate from the main resort of Port Clovis, and it needs Scaley Pete’s storyline completing before it can be accessed. That’s no bad thing as a lowly baby shark would get chewed up and spat out regularly in this highly guarded area. As you’d expect with a naval base, the patrol boats are tougher, the firepower they can rain down does more damage, and as your infamy rank increases vehicles like helicopters will start to make an appearance. Heading in at anything below level 30 is really asking for trouble. Fortunately there are new upgrades on hand with an entire atomic themed set of abilities added that will spice up the action. Extra challenges are available too with checkpoint races being the most noticeable additions, as well as new collectables to discover.
Mostly though you’ll notice new enemies in Truth Quest, like the inclusion of Great White sharks and Sperm Whales. These are brutes that take a lot of punishment and can tailwhip you right out of the ocean. To beef up the difficulty these will come in different flavours too so they mimic the evolution upgrades of the bull shark, adding a bit of strategy to whichever set you equip. Mostly these combatants are found swimming around the area, so getting into a fight is quite easy, though there’s a couple of special ones that need story beats completing before they appear. New activities aren’t limited to Plover Island either, there are collectables dotted around the original maps, which gives a reasonable amount of content to pull you back into the main game, even if you’ve done everything it originally had to offer. This is particularly good news if you’re revisiting on a next gen machine and importing your old save.
Sadly, the structure of Plover Island means that there’s not much in terms of comprehensible story, and without even trying you can crack through it quick time. It’s not as well put together as Scaley Pete’s adventure, and does feel a bit haphazard in what’s trying to say. More disappointingly I didn’t get much in the sense of a resolution, but then I stopped going for the maximum infamy rank as it was beginning to get tiresome. The new area gets frantic with sailors, depth charges, machine guns and helicopters, and the meter needed to get into a boss fight increases so slowly that it becomes a chore slowly chipping away at the health of a protected boat. There’s little skill involved in taking them down, just persistence and the need to run away every 30 seconds to refill health and special abilities. At least on a next gen machine the performance is solid and it copes well with whatever objects are thrown in the water.
If you already own Maneater and want more content to flap your fins through, then Truth Quest is worth a punt. Be aware that it gets repetitive fast though, and there’s not much variety once you’ve done each of the 2 new mission types. Finding new license plates and underwater cache’s fills an exploration gap, but the infamy ranks are sadly dull. I loved the inclusion of the first new boss being in a helicopter and needing to jump out to take him down, yet after the 15th jump and tail whip it started to grate. There was potential here to add to the zany nature of the game, and the voice acting is excellent again, but it feels like it’s gone and jumped the shark.
A PS5 review copy of Maneater: Truth Quest was provided by Tripwire Interactive’s PR team, and the DLC is available now for around £10 on PS4, PS5, Xbox One, Series S|X and PC.