|System: X360||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Liquid Dragon||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Navarre Corp||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: June 17, 2008||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1; 2-8 Online||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: RATING||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
Looking back, I guess the trivial micromanagement options wouldn't have been so bad except for the atrociously slow gameplay. This is where the action side of the title fails. While heading out to sea, the Plotter allows you to use a fast time option to speed ahead to your target locations. This is a very important tool that does away with macro-boat navigation. Unfortunately, this slick tool is not used for setting and retrieving pots. Literally, players will have to suffer through hours of doing nothing but adjusting their ship's velocity. That's because, as the ship's captain, the lowly A.I.-controlled crewmen will do all the heavy lifting for you. You'll just sit back, answer a few radio calls, and press a buzzer when it's time to drop the baited pot. I could have seen this hands-off game mechanic working if it was implemented like an RTS, but there are too few things to keep you occupied, and your ship is about as fun to navigate as an RV is to park.
The development team tried to mix things up a bit by providing a Mission mode and Multiplayer to the mix. Disappointingly, the missions typically involve a cheesy slalom course for a skiff, the plodding rescue of another crew, or navigating through mildly challenging, ice-filled inlets. As for Multiplayer, good luck finding anyone to play with! If you do, you'll be able to slog through hours of play against others rather than challenging the CPU.
The game has solid sound effects and voice acting throughout. All the live action video clips and crew commentary are performed by the stars of the Discovery Channel program. Familiar captains and deck hands such as the Hansen brothers, Edgar, and Jake add to the ambience of the title. Additionally, the sounds of the crashing ocean, the hydraulics on deck, and the seagulls overhead help to keep players in the setting.
The graphics in Alaskan Storm are bad. Other than the foam on the water's surface and the realistic swells, the visuals are on par with budget PS2 titles. The ocean's spray looks blocky, you can see the bow's wake through the crew's quarters, and the catch you unload from the pots onto the table looks more similar to dog food than crab.
Graphical pitfalls aside, Alaskan Storm does have an easy-to-learn control scheme. Even so, it fails to be engaging. Controlling your ship feels realistic enough; maneuvering the lumbering vessel is challenging and complete with cavitations and a Sea Sickness cam. But, who cares about piloting a ship? I would have rather gushed over solid command controls and menu interfaces. Alas, the controls are nothing more than passable.
Deadliest Catch: Alaskan Storm could have been a very good game if the developers would have sped up the action and further fleshed out the game's more cerebral portions. Unfortunately, the game gets caught between simulation, strategy, and action, and it doesn't pull any of them off. This game will be translated to the PC in the coming months and I expect that version to be far superior to that of the 360. If this title was priced at around $40, I might have recommended it to fans of the show. However, at $60 plus tax, there's no way anyone should buy it.
CCC Editor / News Director