Review: Sega Bass Fishing

BASSwiiFOB.jpgSega Bass Fishing is a classic gaming guilty pleasure. At a glance, there’s nothing remotely remarkable about it – seriously, it’s just a basic arcade fishing game — but it’s so damn fun and has that insatiable “just one more time” addictiveness to it that I say it’s deserving of a place in every gamers’ Wii tackle box.

Playing Sega Bass Fishing couldn’t be any more straightforward. You’ve got 15 locales to fish at – four from the arcade, four from the Dreamcast and seven that are new and exclusive to the Wii – something like 20 different lures to entice those big, stinky bass with, everything from spinners and worms to crankbaits and poppers, and four modes: Arcade, Tournament, Nature Trip and Practice.

Arcade and Tournament are the main attractions; the former offering the quick fishing thrills of the original arcade game and the latter a lengthy series of tournaments that put your angling skills to the test against AI opponents. I don’t quite understand the purpose of Nature Trip, though. The rules and background music are tossed aside and the flow of time is more realistic to create the setting of a casual fishing trip, but compared to the other modes I haven’t found much point with it.

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Once settled on a mode, the actual fishing is super simple (and super fun!). Choose a lure, move left and right in your boat with the D-pad or analog stick to set your aiming point, flick the Wii Remote to cast away, then hold A and/or B or crank away with the Nunchuk to reel in just like you would fishing in real life. Once a fish takes the bait, all’s it takes is a quick jerk up on the remote to set the hook and smart reeling and rod control to land those big ol’ lunkers without suffering snapped lines or tossed lures. Smaller fish are a synch to catch, but the big boys really put up a thrilling man-vs.-fish battle.

Despite the lightning-fast pacing and overall arcadey vibe, the strategies of real fishing do factor in. While you certainly don’t have to be an expert angler to be successful, as a fisherman myself I have noticed that factors I’d take into account while really fishing do translate over to the game fairly accurately. Just basic things like knowing how to use lures properly, which lures work best under the various seasonal, weather and time of day conditions, and how to angle the rod to keep tension off the line when pulling in a fish. The motion-sensing tech behind the Wii controls is actually a lot more engaging than the old fishing rod controller of the previous versions, too, and that’s been quite a surprise for me.

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For a Wii port of a Dreamcast port of an arcade game, I must say Sega Bass Fishing also looks pretty good. Certainly nothing that’ll knock your waders off – in fact, dreadful bouts of slowdown inexcusably crop up from time to time if you get near a waterfall or cast into a crowded school of fish, and there are some odd instances of collision detection failure (fish will swim straight through objects) – but all in all I’m pleased with the detail in the various environments and the underwater effects.

Sega Bass Fishing sure won’t win any awards, but to me it’s a perfect showcase for the type of casual, arcade-style gaming the Wii is built for. Simple as it may be, games don’t get a whole lot more entertaining than this.

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Pros:
+ Fun, fast and addictive gameplay
+ Excellent use of the Wii’s motion-control interface
+ Surprisingly realistic fishing mechanics despite being an arcade game at heart
+ Arcade and Tournament modes compliment each other perfectly

Cons:
– Frame rate slows to a crawl when there’s a lot of activity on screen at once
– Nature Trip mode seems kinda pointless

Game Info:
Platform: Wii
Publisher: Sega
Developer: Cavia
Release Date: 2/26/08
Genre: Sports – Fishing
Players: 1

About the Author

Matt Litten is the full-time editor and owner of VGBlogger.com. He is responsible for maintaining the day to day operation of the site, editing all staff content before it is published, and contributing regular news, reviews, previews and other articles. Matt landed his first gig in the video game review business writing for the now-defunct website BonusStage.com. After the sad and untimely close of BonusStage, the former staff went on to found VGBlogger.com. After a short stint as US Site Manager for AceGamez, Matt assumed full ownership over VGBlogger, and to this day he is dedicated to making it one of the top video game blogs in all the blogosphere. Matt is a fair-minded reviewer and lover of games of all platforms and types, big or small, hyped or niche, big-budget or indie. But that doesn't mean he will let poor games slide without a good thrashing when necessary!