Jaws Unleashed Review

Sharks have survived for hundreds of millions of years because they are such powerful and efficient killing machines. However, if the real things were anything like the clumsy, awkward shark in the game Jaws Unleashed, sharks would have been relegated to a small layer in the fossil record a long, long time ago.

Your first realization that there are some serious issues with Jaws will hit you during the tutorial. Yes the tutorial. During my attempt to play through the tutorial I died twice and had to restart once because I couldnít find where to go next. Each time I was forced to go back to the very beginning of the tutorial and learn four times that the X button is used to swim. A gameís tutorial is supposed to ease you into the game; to create some controlled situations to teach you the basics of gameplay. Itís not supposed to confuse you with vague objectives, make you learn how to perform special moves while something you canít even see on the screen quickly kills you, or cause you to want to scream in frustration because you canít line yourself up correctly to attack a stationary practice target. Hmm, on second thought the Jaws Unleashed tutorial does do a pretty good job of preparing you for the experience that awaits you in the gameÖ

Life under the sea.
Jaws Unleashed is one of those games thatís potentially a good idea thatís been completely butchered by poor execution and design. Playing as a shark terrorizing a beach community in a free-roam environment is certainly an original concept. However, many things went wrong in taking the game from the conceptual stage to the final product. The first and most apparent of these issues is the gameís control and camera scheme. Granted, a two ton fish canít stop and turn on a submerged dime, but sharks in the wild donít seem to have trouble pointing their teeth in the direction of their next meal. They also donít have to contend with a camera that canít seem to point in the right direction most of the time. Seriously, when I make a turn to attack an enemy fish or frogman, Iím not looking to get a front view close-up of my sharkís nose. I lost count of how many spears I took in my cold and slimy skin while moving forward blindly and trying to get the camera to swing back around behind me. The game will let you switch into first person view on the fly, but it also constantly pops you out of that view and at the most inopportune times. Itís bad enough that the game makes it difficult for you to attack anything, but matters are made far worse by mission objectives that rely on precision moves. It is incredibly difficult to do things like attack a small device sitting on an undersea shelf thatís making you hungry (donít ask) or pick up and throw explosives. In some cases youíll even need to snatch people off of land. Not only is it ludicrous for a shark to beach itself and then go waddling inland after its prey, itís a pain and a half to control. Itís hard enough to control your shark in the water, but on land youíll constantly get stuck or find that you canít turn yourself around to get back into the water. This is made even more frustrating by the fact that you die if you stay out of water for more than ten seconds.