|System: Wii||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Arc System Works||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Aksys Games||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Oct. 30, 2007||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-4||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Jonathan Marx
Hooked! Real Motion Fishing released for the Wii on the 30th of October. The controls are simple and solid, but the uninspired graphics, repetitive music, lack of content, and the nearly unused Wi-Fi multiplayer make for a sub-par title. The good news is that the gameplay surpasses that of Rapala, but taken on the whole it proves to be only marginally better.
The controls are the best part of this title, but they're not great by any stretch. Thankfully, it is easy to cast regardless of the situation due to the multiple casting options. You can use an overhand, sidearm, backhand, or pitch cast depending on the structure and conditions you face. This adds to the realism, but I found the backhand cast to be very difficult to implement. In fact, the backhand function seems to be broken. Besides that, you'll be able to get your lure into fishy areas fairly quickly.
Other than casting, the active retrieval system is manageable, but teasing the lure through the water is not nearly as responsive as it should be. You can shake and move the rod up and down, but the lure doesn't act the way it should. You're really better off controlling your retrieval speed by thumbing the A button. This is very disappointing because luring fish to bite is what bass fishing is all about, and the speed at which you reel in is just one technique. I would like to be able to bounce a worm off of the bottom, zigzag a crank bait through the weeds, and skitter a plug across the surface. This level of control and realism is simply not an option. Unfortunately, fishing fanatics will not get their winter fix with this title.
The gameplay, regrettably, is lackluster at best. The lack of lake variety quickly becomes tiresome. After all, there are only six from which to choose. Accordingly, you'll find the best holes in no time and will only be thwarted by the seasons and extreme water temperatures. These factors make the bass dive or rise in the water column which nicely augments the challenge. In order to catch fish in less than ideal conditions, you'll have to select the appropriate lure that gets to where the bass are. If you think you can have bass come to the surface midday in late July, you're wrong. You'll have to get deep and cruise shady, structured areas at the bottom of the lake in order to have any kind of success.
Speaking of success, you may get frustrated when you do get into a honey hole of largemouth, have them hitting consistently, but can almost never land them. The most difficult part of this game is the fight. Playing a large fish is such a delicate process that it too feels broken. You'll have to lift, lower, and turn the rod from side to side for seemingly no reason. Heck, the fish hardly moves at all! Nevertheless, if you do not follow the commands of the awful guide you will snap off fish after fish. I don't know if the developers go fishing, but monofilament is extremely tough. The fact that your line breaks with such frequency makes the game woefully unrealistic.
There are four modes of play from which to choose. You can challenge the pro circuit in the Tournament mode. You can best your own results in Time Attack. Hone your skills by setting the conditions in Practice mode. Or you can even challenge the world or up to three other friends through the Nintendo Wi-Fi connection. Tournament is the best mode of play because of the unlockable lures, stat tracking, and the prospect of rising through the pro ranks. You'll take on several levels of professionals throughout your fishing career. You'll start off as an amateur and then progress to semi-pro, pro, and top pro as you win tournaments, garner rally points, and top the leaderboard. Along the way you will open up lures that will help you entice fat bass to bite. There are 32 unlockable lures in all along with two color patterns: natural and appeal. You'll start the game out with only four lures, but will quickly unlock the rest as you ascend the tournament ranks.