Deriving from the old arcade classic, SEGA Bass Fishing isn’t a fishing simulator but SEGA’s arcade style, user-friendly take on bass fishing. There’s not a whole lot to this game other than trying to catch the biggest fish possible in a certain amount of time.
In Arcade mode, the player will be sent to one of a few different locations and have a certain amount of time to catch as big a fish as possible. Every time a fish is caught, the timer increases by a small amount and at the end, the weight of every catch is added up to give the fisherman a score. Score high enough to progress, or miss the cut and face the “Game Over” screen.
While earlier stages are extremely easy, later stages in arcade mode can take a bit of skill and luck. Bigger fish are not only harder to attract, but harder to reel in once you get them to bite. Expect to break a lot of lines in the later stages of arcade mode resulting in a waste of huge amounts of time. Much like the arcade machines, there isn’t a save or checkpoint system: if you fail a stage, it’s back to the docks for you to start all over again.
At the end of each stage, gamers are also rated on their performance via a letter grade. The faster a fish is caught and the more caught given the time limit, the higher the grade.
The game also features a practice mode to get the hang of the benefits of each lure or explore the different lakes. Original mode is also included which is essentially the same as arcade only much more time is given per stage.
The simplicity of the gameplay is not only its strongest aspect, but also its weakest. You simply cast out one of 14 different lures and try to hook a fish. Once the fish is hooked you must reel it in by monitoring a line strength bar, being sure not to snap the line. After that, rinse and repeat. Within about 30 minutes, one can experience just about all this game has to offer.
Move controls work extremely well in this virtual fisher. Actions and commands are all intuitive, making use of the motion controller particularly easy. You cast by flicking the controller as if it were a fishing pole and move it around once the lure is in the water. To reel in, push the T trigger either lightly to reel slow or push it all the way to reel in quickly.
While you can cast out with a buddy, there are online leaderboards allowing you to compare scores with friends and strangers around the world. A quick review of the status of the leaderboards after only a few days of being released show some heavy competition for anyone looking to reach the top of the boards.
While this game has been around for a long time, there have been little improvements in the way of graphics and audio. In an arcade style game such as this, graphics might not be a huge selling point, but a little improvement on the textures and polygon count would have been nice.
Each environment has its own characteristics and visual effects to it, but none of them look particularly pretty even with all the horsepower of the PS3. The virtual fisherman and different bass are no exception, and muddy textures and sharp polygonal models plague just about everything in this game.
The soundtrack is extremely retro, but fits the game nicely. Like the arcade edition, the voices and sound effects are muffled and low quality, but considering how the game looks, it’s fitting.
The combination of classic style arcade gameplay and motion controls fit well together and make for a solid fishing experience for newbies and pros alike. It’s a shame not much was ever added to this classic title over the years to extend the longevity of gameplay, but for the content that is included SEGA Bass Fishing is a game for any fan of the series with a PlayStation Move controller to consider.