reviews\ Feb 27, 2008 at 7:00 pm

SEGA Bass Fishing - WII - Review

It has always been something of a sad joke that the best fishing experience on Wii is the mini-game featured in The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess. But now with SEGA Bass Fishing, Wii owners finally get a decent stand-alone fishing title, even if it is far from being an enlightening experience.

SEGA Bass Fishing first debuted on home consoles on the Dreamcast nearly nine years ago. The game provided a fun arcade experience with some nice simulation mixed in. For example, there are a wide variety of lures to use. You also need to adjust strategies depending on the weather conditions and temperature to truly succeed.

The good news is that this fun and fast-paced arcade experience still works. The bad news is that almost everything else comes up short. That’s because the Wii version of SEGA Bass Fishing is essentially the Dreamcast version of SEGA Bass Fishing. That’s right - the game features virtually identical graphics and sound from the 1999 version.

The Dreamcast version looked great in its time. The look hasn’t held up well.

The overall visual presentation has a very bland and dated look to it. There are also a number of graphical flaws including occasionally awkward fish animation, pop-in and an inconsistent framerate. The game also lacks 480p output and 16x9 widescreen.

Adding to the poor presentation is an excess of loading screens. None of them are particularly long waits, but they are all too frequent, with some of them coming in between different menu screens.

The sound is also retained from the Dreamcast version. This means you get some decent tunes (along with one really annoying song) and the irritating and repetitive arcade-like voice over.

Apparently it’s a fish…

And despite all of these shortcomings, SEGA Bass Fishing still manages to pack some fun. The arcade mode is really the game’s bread and butter; and the fast-paced gameplay serves the game well. The controls have been adapted to use the Wii Remote and Nunchuk, and they work fairly well. The reel is controlled by shaking the Nunchuk. It feels very good because of its analog nature. The faster you shake, the faster you reel. Unfortunately the rod control isn’t quite as good. Casting is not an analog process, therefore, no matter how strongly or lightly you flick the Wii Remote, the lure will hit the same spot every time. It’s essentially the same as a button press.

The rod is also a bit unresponsive when trying to ‘fight.’ In order to keep the line from breaking, you must change the direction you tilt the rod. Most of the time it works alright, but sometimes it doesn’t. Once in a while the game will yell at you to turn the rod a certain way, despite the fact you are already doing it.

In addition to the enjoyable arcade mode, is a fairly simplistic tournament mode in which you compete against a group of fellow anglers to see who can catch the most within a certain time. There is also a nature trip mode, which is a nice, laid back addition. There is no time limit, so you can fish at your leisure.

There is no multiplayer mode, although one can imagine that the game would work well as a head-to-head competition. It’s a missed opportunity to be sure.

And that’s what SEGA Bass Fishing really is; a missed opportunity. Even though the gameplay remains enjoyable, with a fresh coat of paint and a multiplayer mode this could have been a solid game. As it is, however, SEGA Bass Fishing can only be recommended if you are desperate for a halfway decent fishing experience on Wii, or if you are a huge fan of the original.

Review Scoring Details for SEGA Bass Fishing

Gameplay: 7.0
The core of the fishing gameplay still holds up fairly well despite coming up on its ninth anniversary. Arcade mode is easily best experience and continues to be a lot of fun. Everything else feels secondary and repetitive. The new Wii controls work well, although the rod control is a bit unresponsive at times.

Graphics: 5.0
The visuals are virtually identical to the Dreamcast version, and that is pretty unacceptable by today’s standards. Adding insult to injury, the game features a few graphical bugs (mainly pop-in fish) and does not run in 480p or 16x9 widescreen.

Sound: 5.0
The music ranges from acceptable to annoying. The voice over work is arcade quality and very limited and repetitive.

Difficulty: Easy
Although the tournament mode can present some difficulty on the more advanced rankings, everything else can be blown through without much effort at all. The time-based arcade mode would be challenging if it didn’t feature a continue option with no penalty whatsoever.

Concept: 6.5 
Even after all these years, the concept still works, although it is admittedly a limited experience. The mix of fast-paced arcade gameplay with more realistic simulation elements (such as lure types and weather conditions) provides a fun and occasionally rewarding experience.

Overall: 6.5
SEGA Bass Fishing can still provide some mild entertainment, even if it is basically a Dreamcast game with Wii controls. Despite its fair share of flaws, it’s the best currently available fishing game on Wii. It also helps that the game is only $30.


Above Average

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