Shimano Xtreme Fishing Review

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Shimano Xtreme Fishing Publisher: Mastiff
Developer: eV Interactive

Platform: Wii
Reviewed on Wii

When I hear "fishing," I usually think of men slowly casting lures in a quiet setting, occasionally reeling in a fish. Shimano Xtreme Fishing is a reminder that fishing can involve bows and spear guns firing bolts with compressed gas. Choose your weapon in Shimano Xtreme Fishing to participate in tournaments or just fish freely.

Kyle Ackerman

Shimano Xtreme FishingIt's Fishing! It's Extreme! It's Shimano! All right... it's not Shimano. Shimano isn't even an adjective. It's actually the name of an international manufacturer of fishing equipment (and bicycle parts). But the game really is extreme – other fishing games focus on catching fish with a conventional rod and reel – Shimano Xtreme Fishing let me go spear-fishing and bow-fishing. Fishing with a spear gun does feel extreme.

Let's be clear – if you don't like fishing, adding a bow and a spear gun to the arsenal of your Wii Remote isn't going to be enough. But, as a fishing game, Shimano Xtreme Fishing offers a lot more variety and different styles of play than a typical fishing game. To the game's credit, it's easier to learn how to play Shimano Xtreme Fishing than Wii Bowling, and stands a chance of getting fishing fans excited about more complex play, thanks to the shooting. On the other hand, it's not going to convert a hardcore gamer to pursue fishing games.

Jerk the Remote and Set the Hook

Shimano Xtreme FishingTraditional rod and reel fishing in Shimano Xtreme Fishing is comparable to other fishing games available for the Wii. It's basically an exercise in patience and button management. Most of the basic fishing interface involves holding down a button to reel in the fish, without letting a gauge (representing line tension) get too tight or too slack. Occasionally, this exercise is interrupted by quick-time-style events requiring the controller to be jerked in one direction or another. It's possible (but completely unnecessary) to use the Nunchuk as the reel rather than the "B" trigger.

Hard fish are genuinely difficult – they change the line tension more erratically, and require more jerks of the controller, but it's easy to get the hang of fishing so that you can easily land fish after fish. The tournaments are each fairly long, and while the play is fairly consistent, there's some excitement in landing record fish and finding the spots with the best fishing. The only challenging decision in the game is choosing the right tackle – a task that will give anglers some pleasure. It did bother me that while there's plenty of scenery, fish (and your line) can easily pass through piers, boats and anything else. Obstacles would have made choice of position and casting a lot more interesting.

When Fishing Gets "Xtreme"

Shimano Xtreme FishingBow-fishing is faster-paced and a welcome change from rod and reel fishing. It uses the same boat to navigate around similar landscapes, but players get to fire arrows attached to lines to snag and drag fish to the boat. It's important to lead fish a bit, and while similar to other target shooting games on the Wii, the shots travel more slowly making it a bit more challenging. Once a fish has been shot enough times (larger, more difficult, fish require more hits) a twitch of the remote flips the fish into the boat. Fortunately, it's not any harder to land a 150-pound fish than a two-pounder. I did have some trouble with thrashing fish that had already taken a hit – the aim seemed a little mushy – but the bow-fishing made fishy target practice entertaining for a bit.

The spear-fishing was easily the most interesting for typical gamers if not for typical fishermen. I got to swim around in fully 3D, watery environments, scaring off predators and firing spears at prize fish. I enjoyed hunting the sharks that stalked me, and leading moving fish with slow-moving spears was an interesting exercise, but there were serious problems that might equally alienate casual fishermen and hardcore gamers. The action takes place in the third person, and the floating diver has a habit of blocking the middle of the screen, right where target fish swim. Also, the game has arrows to alert divers to dangerous predators, but these only work horizontally, meaning that a shark much above or below you is nearly impossible to find until it rips off a big chunk of flesh. Also, there are unbelievably lame treasures "hidden" around the landscape that are simply poorly drawn distractions.

Go For the Big Catch

Shimano Xtreme FishingIn all cases, the secret to really high scores is snagging monster fish and making repeated strikes without missing, whether in rod-and-reel fishing, bow-fishing or hunting with the spear gun. By avoiding misses, players can chain successes, increasing the multiplier necessary to get really high scores and win gold medals in tournaments. Those medals then unlock better equipment and different character models, making it a little easier to score even higher. That's worth some play time, as the different styles of fishing make for pleasant variety.

While the "xtreme" take on fishing does make Shimano Xtreme Fishing more interesting than a typical fishing game, it also suffers from ugly character models, limited play options and long loading times. That said, anyone interested in fishing action on the Wii should consider Shimano Xtreme Fishing for their entertainment time and dollars.

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This page contains a single entry by Editor published on October 27, 2009 9:05 PM.

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