Deadliest Catch: Alaskan Storm Review

Since the first telecast of Deadliest Catch on the Discovery Channel, I have been a die-hard fan of the television show. It follows the exploits of crab fishermen in the waters off of Alaska. The job is called the most dangerous job in the world, according to the producers, because the death toll is a significant risk factor in taking on this job in the treacherous 40 foot waves, high winds, and subzero temperatures of the Bering Sea.

So I was really looking forward to the video game when it was first announced back in February. The game, Deadliest Catch: Alaskan Story is a nice simulation of what it feels like to be a captain of a crab boat. You’ll have to set your course on the radar, approximate how many crab traps, called “pots,” to lay down, where the best locations to fish for crab are, hire your crew, pick up the pots and attend to a host of other duties to make for a successful crab season.

DC:AS features Sig Hansen, captain of the Northwestern boat as well as some of the other familiar characters of the series. The fishing season starts with a certain limit of crab available for the fleet to fish, and you’ll have to keep a close eye on the catch figures to make sure you don’t fish out of season or run out of time in collecting your pots.

The career mode is definitely not an arcade style game. As you plot your course to drop your crab pots, you will literally have to go through the process of watching your crew hoist each pot with a hydraulic crane, setting them in position and baiting the traps. If you are off course or fail to drop them at the proper intervals and locations in the sea, your task of retrieving them will be hell as you try to maneuver your boat to compensate for your previous mistakes. Properly selecting and taking care of your crew is also tantamount in being successful in the game. You have to arrange for shifts in sleeping, attend to injuries, discipline complainers, and try to keep everybody happy during the fishing season.

It’s just not about straight fishing; you’ll also have to maintain your boat by upgrading parts or repairing broken equipment, stocking your boat with enough bait, pots and fuel and be precise and efficient in your handling of time and resources. There are also missions that you unlock which breaks the sometimes monotonous play of career mode and offers you chances to race against other boats, compete in competitions and other events.

As a simulation game, it does a surprisingly good job. It’s not geared for fast action, but you’ll understand the mechanics of what real crab captains have to deal with in order to run a business. The “excitement” comes from implementing a well-planned strategy in catching crabs and being able to return to harbor safely to sell your prized catch of Alaskan King and Opilio crab.

There are in-game videos galore and these are unlocked as you play the game. The video crew who shot the footage definitely wasn’t paying attention to color balance as almost all the videos are shifted in color way to the red. In addition, the audio is very spotty and Sig Hansen sometimes can barely be heard while at other times, he seems to be shouting.

Quality control, or the lack thereof, is a big issue in the game. Frame rates are as choppy as the waves of the Bering Sea, the game completely crashes and locks up at times, the radar disappears from the screen, the game radar gives false statistics, game alerts are incorrect, and there are a full pot of other bugs and glitches.

But in spite of these serious problems, the game was still fun. I know this is a contradiction, but as a true blue Deadliest Catch fan, the game brought to life the feeling of actually being a crab fisherman. Whether this positive experience negates all the minuses is something that each gamer will have to figure out for themselves. Just make sure you save your game often, just in case.

Deadliest Catch: Alaskan Storm captures the essence of what it takes to go through a crab season and what it feels like to be in the driver’s seat of a crab boat. The graphics aren’t the greatest, and neither is the sound, but at the heart of this game is what every fan of the TV series is after…a simulation of what it feels like to be part of the Deadliest Catch.


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Author: GamerNode Staff View all posts by

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