fish­ing sim world

Fugly fisher has no plaice in your col­lec­tion

XBox: The Official Magazine (US) - - CONTENTS - Dave Meik­le­ham

Though we’ve never tried our hand at car­dio­vas­cu­lar surgery, we’re pretty sure it’s eas­ier to mas­ter than real-life fish­ing. One mem­ber of Team OXM spent his birth­day this past June try­ing to catch brown trout in the teem­ing rain of the Scot­tish High­lands, and the re­sult­ing six, soaked (trout-free) hours scarred his soul for­ever. An­noy­ingly, land­ing a fishy in this thor­oughly un­wel­com­ing bass-snag­ging sim is al­most as tricky.

Dove­tail Games spe­cialises in hard­core sims – see this year’s Train

Sim World – so it’s no shocker its take on vir­tual angling is un­apolo­get­i­cally chal­leng­ing. Yet where the stu­dio’s choo-choo ad­ven­ture had a per­versely en­dear­ing qual­ity in spite of its po­faced sub­ject mat­ter, Fish­ing Sim

World is just flat-out bor­ing. It’s also ter­ri­bly un­invit­ing. For a game with so many com­plex me­chan­ics, Dove­tail does a ter­ri­ble job of eas­ing you into this fisher’s con­fus­ing waters. Key tu­to­ri­als are buried away in sub­menus where the nar­ra­tor does his best to be­fud­dle your brain ev­ery step of the way. There’s a quite lu­di­crous amount of depth to this carp-catcher – not only do you have a wealth of lines and tack­les to choose from, you can even fish with three rods at once – so the fact it cal­lously throws you into the drowny end of the pool is un­for­giv­able. Bass ef­fect As a bud­get ti­tle, we can al­most for­give Fish­ing Sim World for look­ing

“We can’t get past how per­plex­ing its sys­tems are”

like a cheap and cheer­ful Xbox 360 ti­tle. What we can’t get past is how per­plex­ing its sys­tems are. Just take the game’s boats. While fish­ing on larger bod­ies of wa­ter – like Lake John­son in the US – you sail around us­ing a sonar to try and de­tect fish. Trou­ble is, said radar is about as re­li­able as a Rolex made from silly putty, which makes find­ing bass, bluegills and pick­erels as easy as dig­ging out a nee­dle in a haystack the size of Europe. We don’t see a fish un­til we’ve been play­ing for 70 min­utes.

On rare oc­ca­sions, the game’s fas­tid­i­ous at­ten­tion to de­tail pays off. The fact you can play with ei­ther a golf-es­que swing me­ter to cast your rod, or a more ac­cu­rate but chal­leng­ing ana­logue sys­tem with the right stick, is cer­tainly wel­come. There’s also a com­mend­able va­ri­ety of fish. Not only are there dozens of species in Fish­ing Sim World, but each one is pro­ce­du­rally gen­er­ated, mean­ing you’ll never catch ex­actly the same size fish. Al­though that said, we have caught a lot of iden­ti­cal look­ing carp in Grand Union Canal.

While it’s ob­vi­ously aimed at an in­cred­i­bly niche mar­ket, the most damn­ing reel we can cast in the game’s di­rec­tion is the fact its take on fish­ing is less fun than ei­ther Far Cry

5 or Red Dead Re­demp­tion 2. On the rare oc­ca­sions you do hook a po­ten­tial catch, the re­sult­ing strug­gle feels strangely weight­less, and cer­tainly less tac­tile than the two open-world games we just men­tioned. That both those sand­boxes man­age to out­an­gle a spe­cial­ist fish­ing sim with throw­away minigames tells the whole sal­mon story.

If you’re re­ally des­per­ate for hor­ren­dously hard­core fish­ing ac­tion, Dove­tail has at least put to­gether a fairly gen­er­ous pack­age. A wealth of sin­gle-player tour­na­ments and on­line con­tests could keep the most com­mit­ted dig­i­tal fish­ers oc­cu­pied for weeks. For every­one else, the fugly, ter­ri­bly ex­plained ac­tion will drive you back to catch­ing Wild West cat­fish with Arthur Mor­gan.

left Un­less you were born with a rod in your hands, don’t choose the To­tal Cast Con­trol scheme.

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