Deadliest Catch, the fourth season of which is currently airing on the Discovery Channel, is an exciting documentary-style reality show in which crews fishing for crab in the Bering Sea do battle with nature and risk their lives on an almost-daily basis to get their jobs done. By contrast, Deadliest Catch: Alaskan Storm is a slow-paced strategy game of sorts, in which you captain one of the aforementioned crews and do battle with choppy frame rates, console-freezing bugs, and dangerous levels of boredom while scouring the sea for something resembling fun.
Don't let the pretty screenshot fool you, the water looks far better than anything else in the game.
Your first port of call in Deadliest Catch will be the Missions mode, because you have to beat the first four of its 20-plus challenges to unlock Career mode. Those four challenges are interactive tutorials in which the star of the show, Captain Sig of the Northwestern, talks you through the basic controls necessary for navigating and maintaining your chosen boat while fishing for crabs and managing your crew.
After choosing one of five boats to captain, your first job in Career mode is to hire a crew. There are plenty of potentials to choose from, and while all of them are capable of getting the job done, the guys demanding a larger slice of the season's profits are invariably worth the money. You need a deck boss, three deckhands, and a bait boy to start fishing, and somewhere in that mix you need guys who can double as engineers, cooks, and medics. Before leaving the harbor you can also stock up on fuel, crab pots, and bait, as well as carry out any necessary repairs and upgrades. All of these chores are dealt with via a menu system that's functionally sound but not even remotely interesting. The controls are easy to pick up, but that's mainly because, in Career mode, you simply don't have to do very much.
As a captain in Deadliest Catch: Alaskan Storm you never leave the wheelhouse of your chosen boat, and you spend the majority of your time performing mundane, repetitive tasks. You check the crab survey information on your map to locate good fishing spots, you mark your intended fishing locations using a plotter, and then you control your boat's speed and course as you travel between them, making sure to slow down when your crew is attempting to retrieve pots that you left to soak earlier. Controlling your speed and course is occasionally made challenging by bad weather, but if you turn your autopilot on and take advantage of the option to speed up time, you can bypass the worst of it before you encounter anything resembling gameplay.
It's the other members of your crew that get to do all of the "fun" stuff, though they won't lift a finger--not even to save an overboard colleague from drowning--unless you tell them to. With the push of a single button you can set your crew to one of four modes: drop pots, retrieve pots, chip ice, or rest. That last one is especially important, because tired crew members are more likely to have accidents and potentially put themselves out of action for the remainder of your season. More specific orders can be given by using a rudimentary conversation system to interact with your crew one-on-one, but these are rarely necessary unless you're experiencing mechanical problems that your engineer hasn't noticed or need to coordinate the rescue of a man overboard.
You're the only member of the crew who never gets to set foot on this deck.