Still fishing for a great bass title!
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.
I really liked the data that the game saves from your tournament results. Statistical information is important to any gamer and Hooked! does a good job of saving important stats for your review. The records that are kept under your profile are annual victories, total number of times you have won, placed or showed, how many big and super big bass you’ve landed, max fish weight, average weight, total fish, number of times you’ve participated, and your hit percentage. All of these stats are essential for gamers who want to know where they stand. Hooked! Real Motion Fishing does a good job of appeasing our lust for knowledge and gaming status.
Time attack is a very simple timed mode that has you meet specific fishing requirements within a set period of time. You can choose from three levels of difficulty to up the challenge ante, but this mode of play is more of an afterthought than a real option. The online component is fun and interesting, but unless you have friends that own the title, you will almost never be matched to anyone. If you are lucky enough to get online while others are there, the Nintendo Wi-Fi connection allows you to play with up to three other people via Wi-Fi Battle. There is also the ability to play against friends by entering their friend code into the Friend Roster. Fortunately, this is made easier for gamers because your Wii’s friend code will be on the same menu screen so that you can quickly relay the code to your friends over the telephone. This kind of friend matching is horribly archaic though, and attests to the level of commitment Nintendo has to online gaming. The developers did a good job trying to alleviate some of the inefficiencies.
The graphics are standard Wii fare that don’t quite cut the mustard. Nothing is difficult to look at, but it isn’t particularly lifelike either. The fish look good, but their action animations are terrible. The bass take lures very passively with their mouths open as if they were hand fed in a tank. After the “hit” they calmly swish their tails and move their fins as if they didn’t have a barbed treble hook hanging out of their maw. The only time they will try and shake a hook is when they break the surface. Thankfully, it is easy to see which fish are lunkers and which should be kept out of your livewell. This wasn’t the case in Rapala. It is also easy to distinguish where your lure is in relation to the fish due to steady camera angles that only change when a fish takes interest in your offering. Finally, there is no angler customization to speak of, and the environments, while well-depicted, are uninspired.
The sound quality, commentary, and music is an abomination. The same cheesy song will play over and over again. Thankfully, you can turn off the music in the options menu. This holds true for the guide’s voice too. This really annoying lady will bark orders at you throughout the day. This becomes especially annoying when you’re trying to land a lunker bass and she’s screaming “left, right, up, down” before ever even finishing her first thought. Finally, the sound effects are bad. The Wii remote’s little speaker will be making this awful clicking sound that is supposed to represent the sound a reel makes while retrieving your line. Overall, sound quality is about the worst I’ve ever heard in a mass marketed title.
If you thought Hooked! Real Motion Fishing was going to be the Wii fishing game you’ve been waiting for, guess again. The poor graphics, terrible music, limited content, and the nearly useless Wi-Fi multiplayer make this another Wii fishing title with almost nothing rewarding to offer. The inclusion of several lure types and manageable controls make this the best Wii fishing title to date. However, it is a discount title selling at full retail price and is not worth buying even if you’re an avid fisherman. Someone needs to grab the bass by the lips and make a fully licensed fishing title for the Wii that will knock our socks off. If anyone from EA Sports is reading this, get busy!
RATING OUT OF 5 RATING DESCRIPTION 2.7 Graphics
You can play the game without going blind. 2.9 Control
The controls are the best part of the game, but it’s nothing to write home to Babe Winkelman about. 1.0 Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
You’ll be entertained for a maximum of two hours.
2.4 Overall Rating – Poor
Not an average. See Rating legend above for a final score breakdown.