Fishing Goes Xtreme
Quiet summer days lolling by the old fishing pond isn’t what Xtreme fishing is all about. Expect the boats to be more powerful, the settings more vivid and the catch more exciting when you pick up the Wii remote and cast your first line. Or draw back the box and take on predators that wouldn’t mind taking you on. Or go under the sea like the little Mermaid, only you’re breathing courtesy of Scuba gear.
Cutting edge equipment is there for the choosing, but so is what to wear. You’re no fashion plate but baggy shorts and a T-shirt don’t cut it when hitting some of the hottest fishing spots God ever created.
What Did You Catch?
There’s more than 50 kinds of fish lurking in the shallow or deep waters. Some are tasty and easy to catch, some are exotic and really shouldn’t be bothered (that’s the liberal in me talking), while others wouldn’t taste good if you poured butter and champagne on them. Those fish, in case you didn’t figure it out already, are also dangerous to go after. Not that hunting Gators is a picnic, but at least they come up for air so you know what’s going on in their mind (i.e., maybe YOU’RE the one good to eat?). Good deeds do get rewarded though. There’s like 65 awards and medals to be offered up. Maybe you can snag one from somebody if you’re skills puke. At least you won’t have to suffer the ignominy of posting crummy scores to the leader board for others to see.
Graphics Make Fishing Real (4 out of 5)
The graphics capture the look and feel of fishing and blend in a color palette that makes the locations attractive enough to want to visit. Locations vary as you’d imagine - some very beautiful ones too. Nor is it always high noon so expect to learn how to fish depending upon the time of day as well as trying to figure out what’s going on in the minds of your opponents. The intensity of the light affects what you see and how you’ll fish - the graphics reflecting this in real time and with a smooth consistency that isn’t jarring as the light changes. The Wii can’t quite match the photo-realistic graphics of other next-gen consoles, but as the game is a bit stylized anyway, this isn’t really an issue.
Many of the locations are exotic. For example, fishing the cold, dark waters of a North American Reservoir can be exchanged for submerged Mayan ruins or tropical seas teeming with sharks. Don’t recommend scuba diving there, but of course it’s your call.
Sound Off for Fishing (5 out of 5)
Sound plays a big part in the game as it adds to the overall feeling of ambience. Distinct sounds, such as casting a rod or fining the speargun, are obvious in that they sound correct - but then so does the “background” noises that make up a scene. Of course the roar of a boat overshadows that of a fish leaping into the water, but there’s a time and place for everything. Sound works well in this game because it matches the environment the player is in before adding sound effects for what the player is doing. This results in creating a sense of “reality” for the game that otherwise would be lacking.
Controls Catch the Prey (4 out of 5)
Controlling the game is intuitive and done through the Wii remote and the Nunchuk. Duplicating the actions as if you were using the real deal comes naturally, whether using the rod for fishing, shooting a bow or using the speargun. Views aren’t restricted to third party alone either but include first person and even zoomed in shots when the action gets intense.
The gear you’ll be using is the real deal too - even if it’s only on the TV screen. Shimano provides you with excellent choices for fishing with their rod and reels, as does AMC Bow fishing’s spear gun products. Hoyt rounds up the deal with archery products, so the gang’s all here.Take the time to get used to the motions required to make actions happen, for example drawing back the bow should be done with a slow and steady motion - no jerking. Practice using the speargun - remember there’s a recoil and the spear won’t be shooting through the water the same way it would on land.
Fortunately the controls are smooth and intuitive, even using that blessed Nunchuk (though it does take a bit of time for you to get used to them). Over time you’ll grow more adept and you’ll develop muscle memory as the motions become second nature even as your ability to catch your quarry improves.
Warning: Just don’t expect that to happen fast. You’ll need to do a lot of practicing before it all comes together. But who knows - maybe you’ll get good enough to want to go get the real thing and try your luck fishing in the world of reality. Until then, there’s always the Wii to keep you company.
Gameplay for the Whole Family (5 out of 5)
Gameplay isn’t restricted to one genre as it is in other fishing games. The addition of the bow and speargun add to the value of playing in different scenarios that require a different mind-set. The weapons (if you can call a rod that) you handle affect how the game progresses in the particular location you’re in, as well as how the fish react both to you and their (possibly) impending doom. All this not only has an impact on the gameplay, but keeps the game from becoming sedate and repetitious.
Family Fun, Not Family Dumb
Now those who prefer solitude will probably not care that up to four players can participate against one another. It’s not leisurely but fast paced action as it’s a contest to see who can catch the most fish.
On the positive side, contests can bring a whole new attitude to having fun with the family. Make that competition with the family. Make that a problem is everybody is a type “A” personality.
Fishing games can be quiet, zen-like exercises that let you mind run free while the quiet waters ripple and flow. This ain’t Shimano Xtreme Fishing. But you knew that, right?