The lights are on
This fall you'll be able to play as everyone's favorite survivalist, Bear Grylls, on PS3, 360, and Wii, courtesy of Crave Games. But how does this Discovery Channel show translate to gameplay? We recently got an early look to answer that very question.The game features five different areas to survive: the Rockies, the Everglades, the Sahara, a jungle island, and Patagonia. Developers Scientifically Proven and F84 Games say that real geo-mapping terrain data has been used to create the environments. Stages begin with clips from the show in which Bear describes the dangers present in the area and then parachutes out of a helicopter. The essential goal is to make it from this initial drop zone to a final extraction point.Bear has done all the voice work for his onscreen counterpart and will keep you on task as your primary guide. For example, he'll say something to himself like "I need to get to the top of that cliff to survey the landscape." He'll have a constantly depleting hunger and thirst bar that you must keep from draining by eating bugs, hunting animals, fishing, and finding places to fill your canteen. You'll also have to watch how cold and/or wet Bear gets and warm him up at a fire if necessary. Most of the tasks we saw involved collecting items like kindling for a fire or completing minigames like searching a log for grubs to eat.
Full weather and time of day effects sell the unpredictability of the outdoors along with loads of dangerous wild animals. If you happen to run into an alligator or grizzly bear, a battle mode will trigger in which you have to mix dodging, attacking, and in some cases retreating. Of course, Discovery Channel isn't cool with their TV star's arm getting ripped off, so Bear won't die or get seriously injured. If you fail at certain dangerous situations, Bear will simply be airlifted out and you'll restart at the nearest checkpoint.Completing objectives will contribute to your experience and raise your Adventurer level. The higher you get the more outfits, stat boosts, and TV clips you unlock. Even though there are only five areas, these locations are built with multiple branching paths with various objectives sprinkled along the way. With all of these unlocks and hidden trails, Scientifically Proven hopes to provide plenty of replay value for fans of the show and hopefully draw in gamers curious about a different style of game.
While it certainly is a unique concept, Man vs. Wild is going to have to provide a lot of unique ways to interact with nature to keep things interesting. Hopefully, making that 200th fire will not make you hate life. The game is still very early so I'll be interested to see how it plays after a few more months of work.If you'd like to catch up on the show before the game comes out, loads of Man vs. Wild episodes are available on Netflix streaming via PS3, 360, and Wii.