Xbox : Jaws Unleashed Reviews

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Below are user reviews of Jaws Unleashed and on the right are links to professionally written reviews. The summary of review scores shows the distribution of scores given by the professional reviewers for Jaws Unleashed. Column height indicates the number of reviews with a score within the range shown at the bottom of the column. Higher scores (columns further towards the right) are better.

Summary of Review Scores

Game Spot 38
Game FAQs
GamesRadar 60
CVG 55
IGN 74
GameSpy 40
GameZone 69
Game Revolution 15
1UP 15

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A Fun and Innovative Game

3 Rating: 3, Useful: 10 / 11
Date: June 09, 2006
Author: Amazon User

Despite mixed critical reaction Jaws: Unleashed is a flawed but ultimately solid and innovative game. The concept of playing as the definitive oceanic apex predator is a brilliant conceptual premise that is occasionally hampered by an unresponsive camera and some sporadic glitches. Nevertheless, there is some quality here and those looking for something outside the norm may find this game worth the investment.

JAWS: Unleashed is an open-ended game set up very much like the GTA titles. After playing the tutorial and first level, the game allows you total access to a massive ocean with primary story missions that cam be activated at any time. The map is also littered with numerous side missions, most of which are time trials and fetch quests that range from mundane (hunting dogs) to entertaining (eating bungee cord jumpers). Like the GTA games, Jaws allows you to do as you like and select side missions whenever you choose while forcing you to play story missions in a certain predetermined order. Also like GTA, you can opt to simply roam the large world map, dining on sea creatures and attacking humans in their various seafaring crafts.

Admittedly, roaming the open sea is more enjoyable than most of the story missions. Simply swimming around and attacking boats, swimmers, and other sea creatures is surprisingly fun and the sheer variety of prey keeps the game play from getting stale. As Jaws you'll encounter all manner of sea life including dolphins, whales, and a variety of fish including other sharks. Some prey will fight back while others will be helplessly consumed, all of which fill both your hunger and health meters. Humans are predictably the most fun to hunt and they appear in all manner of boats and vehicles, including jet skis and helicopters. Almost any vehicle can be brought down with enough damage and fleeing swimmers make entertaining and nutritious diversions. Kill enough people and you may eventually be hunted by the coast guard, another nod to the GTA franchise.

Story missions are sadly not as inspired as open ended exploration. Most of the story missions involve the destruction of something and these missions are typically both a hassle to play and less fun than the open-ended component of the game. It is also at this point that the Jaws becomes less realistic and more fantastical, with the shark performing activities such as hurling explosives and solving puzzles. While some of these elements are forgivable and admittedly clever in terms of implementation, the game mechanics that propel these types of missions forward never seem as solid as rest of the game. Compound this with the fact that many of the story missions are confined to smaller, difficult to navigate areas and you are left with an uneven experience. Still, some story missions are quite enjoyable, specifically those which have you attacking aggressive shark hunters or hitting up the local beach as your own personal buffet.

The camera is also a nagging issue, although no worse than what is found in many other 3D titles. Set behind the shark, it works decently in open water but has a tendency to become useless in more confined spaces. Manual control of the camera does allow for some relief but unfortunately rotating the camera is a slow process and can sometimes makes matters worse. Other glitches include occasional frame rate drops and some nasty collision detection issues that allow the shark to become entangled in any number of underwater structures and debris. What's interesting is that Appaloosa's more realistic approach to developing this game has made Jaws that much more difficult to play; since the shark cannot swim backwards, his extraction from certain locations and areas becomes much more challenging and ultimately frustrating.

Despite these issues, there is quite a bit of fun to be had in Jaws: Unleashed. Even though the camera is less than perfect, the controls are surprisingly intuitive once mastered and allow the gamer to pull off all manner of maneuvers ranging from charged speed boosts and tail swipes to stealth kills and sensational leaping attacks. The controls for the shark are not dissimilar from those of a flying or driving game, allowing for acceleration and turning but with an emphasis on physics and mass. Even though most of this game is about eating anything within range, the developers have done a solid job in implementing a sizeable arsenal of attacks. While most of these attack techniques ultimately serve the same end, the variety nonetheless is welcome and keeps the carnage from becoming stale.

Graphically, Jaws: Unleashed is serviceable but uneven. The underwater backgrounds and water effects are solid and Appaloosa has done an admirable job of imbuing the ocean environment with subtle and realistic details. Even more impressive is the number and variety of marine life that populates this game, giving the environment some much needed animation that supports the illusion of a living, viable eco system. The shark itself looks very good and animates even better, while the other sea creatures populating the game contain a lower level of graphical polish but still look and move realistically. Considering the large scope of the title and the size of the game world map, the graphics are easily on par with other open-ended games of this type. The human sprites are probably the ugliest characters onscreen but thankfully they are small and make up for their lack of detail with solid animations.

Perhaps the most impressive graphical element of Jaws is the carnage. Despite being based on a PG rated film franchise, Jaws is a bloody, violent game that earns its M rating with room to spare. Every creature in the game is edible and most can be torn apart into bloody chucks, including humans. As a point of fact, the human models can be ripped apart at practically any joint, making the sight of severed arms, legs and even heads a common occurrence. This gory goodness is punctuated by the realistic animations of flailing swimmers trying to escape the maw of the shark. As you whip their rag doll bodies back and forth, blood clouds the water and envelopes everything within a murky crimson hue punctuated with tattered appendages and viscera. The more sadistic gamer can opt to swallow their prey and chew it down or even allow a wounded swimmer to attempt an escape towards the surface (often sans an appendage) and trailing a stream of blood in their panicked wake. Most swimmers will frantically try and escape the jaws of the shark and sometimes they will actually succeed in between your bites. Other characters, such as divers, will pull knives and begin stabbing you even as you bite down on them, doing damage to the shark as you kill and devour them.

As for sound, it's a bit of a mixed bag. The voice over-work is atrociously delivered and effectively dilutes any narrative quality this title might have delivered. However, other effects, such as the muffled, gurgled screams of victims underwater are actually handled quite well, along with the anguished exclamations of those on the surface. The music is passable and makes solid use of the now infamous Jaws theme though more strategic placement of this music would have been appreciated. As a whole, the sound reflects the budget and, voice acting aside, it gets the job done.

Ultimately, the pros far outweigh the cons, making Jaws: Unleashed an entertaining romp through a playable predatory gaming construct. The biggest strike against this game is largely budgetary and because of this Jaws misses being an uncontested AAA title. Still, there is much to enjoy here, especially given the open-ended nature of the game play coupled with a gory and satisfying dismemberment engine that will make the more macabre gamer squeal with a certain unhinged delight. Even more important is that the game does a solid job of emulating the look and feel of the original film and includes several nods to the classic movie while attempting to convey a decent (if underdeveloped) story. For the budget price, Jaws: Unleashed delivers a unique and competent game experience that is sure to please anyone looking for something different.


5 Rating: 5, Useful: 7 / 7
Date: July 19, 2006
Author: Amazon User

Jaws is screaming bloody good fun. It is not designed to be one of the best graphically looking games of all time, or even the most intelligent, but it has bags of surreal murderous mayhem to offer and not since `Manhunt' has there been anything quite as violent as it. I am very surprised that it doesn't have an M for Mature rating for the console although the PC box does. I think the RP rating is a very low rating. The game features bodily dismemberment quite literally as people are chewed up into bags of blood with their body parts floating about. They bawl gargling and try to swim to surface missing a leg. The fun you have with this game in the first few days makes it absolutely a must have. If you own a PS2 or XBOX or a PC get JAWS UNLEASHED, especially if you are fan of the movie. How can anyone refuse to play as a great white monching up swimmers and divers? The shark movements are great because you can increase your shark attributes as the game progresses. You can stealth kill swimmers, jump up onto boats, catch people in mid air, drag them under water, torture them, play with them chomp them up into a bloody mess and then go on a free run and do it all again. The story is totally different from the movie but it does include themes very similar to all four films. There are many levels which do require some brains to work out how to solve certain puzzles. In fact I was surprised by how much this game did have to offer considering that it look like a low-entry level console game. It is far from it! This is a fully charged arcade thrill kill with more gore than you would have anticipated. It has you laughing loud at the outrageous things you can do with the shark. You have never played anything like this before, not will you again. And remember this should have been an M rating as the PC box states. The shark is literally tearing people up quite graphically.

Stay Out of the Water

1 Rating: 1, Useful: 8 / 9
Date: May 31, 2006
Author: Amazon User

Jaws Unleashed was announced a while ago. People have been waiting for sometime to be the shark himself. Even better, the game was done by those who created Ecco the Dolphin. What's not to like? The answer: Quite a bit. There are some moments of fun to be had in this game, but overall, the everlasting appeal a game of this calibur should have aren't really there.

There's not much of a story to Jaws Unleashed really. It takes place thirty years after the film where yet again, another giant shark is terrorizing people and taking people for his lunch. That's about as much of an explanation as I can give, really. It's clear that this game isn't really much about storyline. Nor does it seem like it really needed the Jaws license. Still, I can deal with that. This is a game that shouldn't have to have a story.

Much of the gameplay is similar to Grand Theft Auto. In a sense, when you're not doing a "mission" you get to free-roam and go about eating people and other fishes if you like. The free-roam aspect of the game isn't so bad, but in reality, this is the only real fun you'll have with this game. It's Grand Theft Auto... but with a shark. And you actually can have some mindless fun while doing it if it weren't for a few things. For one, the controls are terrible. Second, the camera angle is terrible. The camera and bad controls together make the gameplay experience hardly worthwhile. You'll spend a lot of time trying to readjust the camera, and when you do it still isn't quite right. Not to mention that if you surface or something, the camera shifts on its own, meaning you'll have to go through a whole lot of trouble to set the camera again.

The missions are also a drag. Many of them are dumb and pointless. For example, you'll have to beach yourself on the shore and eat someone, and then make it back into the water before you die. This wouldn't be so bad if there weren't invisible walls and a few graphical glitches that make a task such as this mediocre. Not only that, but seeing Jaws beached is not exactly something that'll give you much of a thrill. You might as well stick to just free roaming. Many other missions are also a drag. Sneaking into an amusement park to eat a whale, and the like. Most of these missions are tasteless and all around not very entertaining. Again, stick to the free roam. You'll probably find it much better to sink your teeth into unsuspecting people and fish rather than doing the actual missions this game has to offer.

What really keeps this game down besides the controls, missions, and camera angles may actually lie within the overall presentation of the game itself. It doesn't really look fantastic. Many of the people look bad, and while the environments are colorful, The XBOX is capable of much more than this. The voice acting also isn't great. That's not to say the graphics are horrible. Jaws himself doesn't look so bad, neither does the environment that he swims in. The environment just feels like it could've used more detail is all. What urks the most about the presentation is that it's full of glitches, frame rate issues and invisible walls. For such a long time in development, one has to wonder how these bugs found their way into the game. The music isn't so great either. Much of the music actually comes from the movie. The classic Jaws Theme is given a make over, and it doesn't really sound all that great, to be honest with you. It also gets repetative after a while.

I had high expectations for this game. It didn't quite live up to them at all in the long run. For a game that spent such a long time in development, it really could've presented so much more and been better. The low price tag of $30 might be a little tempting, but I urge you to resist temptation. If you MUST have the game, then wait until you find it used and at a very low price. Otherwise, avoid buying this game at all cost.

The Good
+The Grand Thef Auto like gameplay is actually quite enjoyable
+You actually play as Jaws

The Bad
-Graphically it doesn't look great
-It doesn't sound great either
-The music actually gets repetative
-Too much fighting with the camera
-Clunky controls
-Strange missions
-Quite a Buggy Game. For a game that spent so much time in development, one has to wonder how it could be pack full of bugs

Clumsy and Ridiculous

3 Rating: 3, Useful: 5 / 8
Date: May 25, 2006
Author: Amazon User

I've been anxiously awaiting "Jaws Unleashed" for months now despite not really hearing much about the game. No reviews or the like have influenced me; my excitement simply comes from the idea that I can play as a dangerous shark rather than be the helpless victim trying to avoid said shark.

Now that I've purchased the game and have spent some time swimming around and destroying things, I wonder why I looked forward to this game. Only an hour or so into the game, I've become annoyed with several gameplay issues.

Controlling Jaws is a tough affair. Even with the "Shark Vision" lock-on style, aligning the shark with boats, swimmers and sea life is clumsy and frustrating. To have to hold down a button to swim, direct yourself with an analog and hold down a trigger button to charge is a handful. ..and all to simply miss and have to turn around to try again is even worse. Some may find the controls to take but a small amount of time to learn, but others may get overly frustrated.

Levels are set up so that therein, you can take part in minor missions or story-related ones that'll progress the game further. Beating missions will grant you points to spend on improving your skills at swimming, hunger control and other shark-related abilities. This is very cool, though I am not sure how practical it is.

Also, finding scattered body bags (!) and license plates add to the fun of exploration. However, since you have to eat fairly often to stay alive, exploring is a bit of a bear. Real great whites don't have to eat as often. Yes, this is a game, but hey, games should be fun, right? Hunger should have immediately been a slow process...not requiring to spend your points on keeping Jaws "full."

Early in the game, Jaws is captured and taken to a lab for observation. Of course, you have to get loose and swim back to the sea. Strangely, however, you have to grab a scientist and take him over to a card reader that will open an underwater door for you to escape through. This seems very, very complicated and silly and I found it a bit ridiculous that I had to complete this task in order to progress the game. I'm sure that if I were a scientist and I had been attacked and pulled around by a deadly shark, I'd have the ability to swipe my key card for him. Again, this is a game, but having to do this is beyond stupid.

At a "low" price of $29.99, this game is barely worth it. I'd suggest renting it or waiting 'til used copies start flooding your local game trader because unless you're a Jaws fan, there's really no reason to play this game. I may recommend "Jaws Unleashed" to Dreamcast-era "Ecco the Dolphin" fans, but that's a stretch.

AT LEAST, after keeping the game on pre-order for months, I was able to score one of those nifty Jaws keychains. It's not cheaply made, as it doubles as a bottle opener! Very nice! (Better than the game.)

Back in the water

5 Rating: 5, Useful: 4 / 6
Date: May 26, 2006
Author: Amazon User

Yes, I waited for months for this game. Finally it has come to life and so far I have enjoyed it quite a bit. The controls take a little getting used to but compared to making Lara Croft do her stunts it was rather easy. I like the "first person" aspect of the game. You do not have to fight or kill a particular group of people. You simply have to survive humans in general. It was great to be the shark, kind of a different point of view. Yes, the game may have an issue or two, but they ALL have issues folks. Take the game for what it is-an escape from reality. Peter Benchley kudos to you for a great story.

Jaws rocks

5 Rating: 5, Useful: 2 / 2
Date: December 01, 2006
Author: Amazon User

I think this game got a lot of half-empty gamers palying it. The camera works fine, Jaws is easy to control, and eating stuff is great. Ture some glichs like no reverse button or stuff dissapears and sometimes not being able to beat the game sitnks. But don't let that get you, enjoy the game as a sandbox game. Just exlpore. You still have max fun. So I recomend you rent the game first, if you like than it buy it.

Jaws Unleashed? More like Jaws can't do a freaking thing with!

2 Rating: 2, Useful: 4 / 10
Date: June 18, 2006
Author: Amazon User

I am a honest to god X-Box gamer. Me and my husband both have had our X-box since the day they came out. We have played and own a lot of games. We try to be fair with our ratings and opinions of games.

With that said... Jaws Unleashed SUCKED. It was hard to control Jaws and the plot was just lacking in many areas. It was like they rushed to get this game done and it was not even half way decent. Don't waste your money on this game. There are much better ones out there to play!!!! I had mine only a week and traded it in at GameStop.

Can't get to second level.

1 Rating: 1, Useful: 0 / 4
Date: September 22, 2006
Author: Amazon User

The child the game was purchased for enjoys the first level but will never know anything about the second level because the game crashes with the message that there must be something wrong with the disk and your must reset the game console.

Very displeased with this purchase.

Great potential but...

3 Rating: 3, Useful: 0 / 0
Date: July 13, 2007
Author: Amazon User

This review won't be long. I actually think W.B. down below wrote an excellent overall review.

Aspects of the game are just great, they really are, and I think its worth owning for a fun game to pop in every once in a while. It's also not a bad game to fire up if you have company and just want to set someone lose in the open waters to mess around. It can be a lot of fun. The blood graphics under water are excellent.

However, like others have mentioned this game had 5 star potential but has a few flaws making it tough to play at times. It is a workout with the controller for the harder challenges. 'Charging up' to lunge forward or to tail swipe I think is not necessary. To me personally the view is draining mentally after a while. No pun intended but it actually makes me feel sea-sick which is ashame because the game itself makes me want to keep playing but I just can't take it after a while. The game view of being able to be just below the surface but still see above the surface is nice, however the reponse is too slow when you need to dive and see what is down below you, again adding to brain strain.

So in a nutshell it is a great premise. Heck, I even like the little Jaws trivia facts that scroll below whenever the game needs to load a scene. But in the end when you really want to sit and blow a couple hours on a video game, this isn't the one.


5 Rating: 5, Useful: 0 / 0
Date: March 17, 2008
Author: Amazon User


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