Republished on Wednesday, December 30, 2020: We’re taking this review back from the archives following the announcement of the PS Plus lineup for January 2021.
It follows the original text.
One of the free next-gen upgrade games on offer for the latest hardware from Sony, developer Tripwire has returned with a few new extras to its undersea all-you-can-eat buffet. Maneater is now running at 60 frames per second and at native 4K resolution, although these improvements are small to be truthful.
While ray tracking, the most significant new feature, is not yet implemented, lighting and shadow casting look much better in the game. In this word, spending time in the water is simply breathtaking.
The light that filters through the swaying water looks amazing and is the title’s most impressive graphical attribute by far. The vivid colors of the sea look more enticing than ever before, combined with the newly introduced HDR. Just beware of the sharks.
However, to smooth out the results, it’s very disappointing that the game doesn’t take advantage of this latest technological leap.
The framerate plummets every time the screen gets too busy – particularly when you’re being pursued by the Grand Theft Auto-like tracking system of the game. When you increase your shark’s speed, it becomes particularly troublesome. You are going faster than the load times for some parts of the map, after all.
This leads to a cascading effect where, until you pause and let the title catch up, the framerate gets worse and worse.
However, the most disappointing thing is that the PS5 update was not used by Tripwire as an excuse to redesign the camera. It’s still a bit wonky and frustrating to use, especially during combat.
A lock-on system would have been very welcome.
Ultimately, however, the scope of changes is rather small.
Apart from some performance improvements, the game remains almost identical to its last-gen counterpart. The free upgrade was absolutely the right decision.
There isn’t really enough to move the needle in any meaningful direction as far as changes go.
The same combat, level progression, sound, and soundtrack provide the same exciting experience as on the last generation.
The new features are welcome, and the game definitely looks nicer, but other than that, it’s the same experience. If you were already sick of the title on the PS4, there’s not much to come back for. However, if you’re just diving into the game, this is the version you want.