Fishing remains a very popular past time for many people. And, there are many reasons that people seek it out, ranging from some low-key family time, solitude on quite waters, the thrill of fighting with another species, to professional and tournament fishers interested in competition.
When you cannot get out on the water, you may be interested in a fishing game to help pass the time, and the range of titles and formats can be overwhelming. There is a tough balance to achieve in fishing games—enough action for the video gamer, and enough simulated fishing to satisfy the fishers, and this explains why there are few fishing games that have been really successful. Here, I will provide comments about a few of the best-reviewed fishing games out there today.
Atlus Pro Fishing Challenge (rating 4 out of 5)
For simulation games, an older and highly rated game is Atlus Pro Fishing Challenge (for Xbox). With the fishing rod controller, this game provides an in-depth experience, simulating a real fishing trip. The game features 4 photorealistic lakes. You create your avatar and there are many “skins” to select from, including both men and women. You gear up at the tackle shop and head for the water. The game has over 100 pieces of tackle including rods, lines, reels, and lures. As you progress in the game and win tournaments you can unlock optional gear and clothing as a reward.
You select lures, rods, reels, and other equipment and learn about water conditions as to where to find the best fish. Depth, water temperature, and other environmental variables are given for you to find the best holes. One feature that may be a plus or a negative is that the action is all viewed from above water—just like in real life you are not transported to an underwater view of the action. You cast, and trawl, and when a fish bites the real fun begins.
You cannot just reel it in—your line will break or the fish will otherwise get away. Instead, you must “play” the fish, letting it battle you until it fatigues and you can safely bring it aboard, just as in real life. You can even utilize the online gaming experience to visit a virtual lake and interact with other anglers. This is as close to a real in-door fishing experience you are likely to get.
Rapala Pro Fishing (rating 4 out of 5)
Rapala Pro Fishing (PC, PlayStation 2, PlayStation3, and Nintendo Wii) has also been around for a while, and is generally well reviewed. In contrast to Pro Fishing Challenge, it is slightly more of an arcade experience in that you do not have to fuss as much with all the variables to start fishing, but there are variables to play with. The game features 11 species of fish, 12 localities around the world, and 2 game modes, free and tournament.
You have a fishing buddy in the game that can help by pointing out various tips to improve your experience, such as changing lures and other things that can be a big help. The camera view briefly shows you underwater scenes as fish approach and takes the hook. After that, it is above water views as you fight to land your fish. If you leave too much slack in the line your fish will throw the hook. Keep the line too tight and it could snap.
Rapala Pro Bass Fishing 2010 (rating 4.5 out of 5)
One of the newest video fish games on the market is Rapala Pro Bass Fishing 2010 (Nintendo Wii, PlayStation 2 and 3, Xbox, Nintendo DS, and Sony PSP). This game comes in both a standard edition and a rod peripheral bundle edition. The game features over 25 species of trophy fish as well as many lures, boats, and other gear. There are several game modes including free, amateur, pro, and legendary, and head to head, with 4 levels of competitions at each. There are a variety of competitions styles within the game, including heaviest, longest fish, most fish caught in a given period, and so on.
This game boasts of a true tournament structure, with the action presented as a live TV event, including announcers calling the action. Being very new, many reviewers really like how this game makes use of the newest PlayStation move technology.
The game features a lot of different gear, with 49 lures, and extra rods, reels, and boats. Built-in fish-o-pedia will tell you if you have the right lure for the target species you are after. Once hooked, the view shows a split screen view of both above and under-water action. You fight your fish, working to keep it in the center of the screen so it does not snap your line and get away.
Given the diversity of formats available for this game, and the quality of its graphics, I think this is the game I would opt for, all things being equal, if I wanted just one fishing game in my collection.
Of course, a true fishing experience involves a quality fishing controller. Here is a list of several fishing controllers you can get for your system. This section is not comprehensive, and I have not reviewed these controllers, but list them for you as a place to start if you need a controller and will not get one with the game bundle you purchase. Happy fishing!
Naki Bass Champion X Fishing Controller for Xbox
Naki Bass Champion 2 Fishing Controller for PS2
Wii Fishing Rod with Reel for Nintendo Wii