Sega Bass Fishing Wii Review - 21/04/2008

The Sega Bass Fishing franchise has appeared on many consoles after its huge fame on the arcade market in 1998, but since then, has it gained popularity and enhanced its gameplay experience?

You may remember Sega Bass Fishing if you happened to own a Dreamcast 'back in the day'. Although it showed gamers some of the greatest visuals of that generation, its gameplay let it down tremendously, and was only popular amongst fisherman and women. But will this reincarnation use the Wii's innovative controls to its advantage?

There isn't really a story to Bass Fishing on the Wii, other than the obvious; you are a fisherman trying to win yourself tournaments and go casual fishing. The core gameplay is brilliantly executed on the Wii remote and Nunchuk combination. The remote acts as the rod, and the Nunchuk is used as a reel. It feels natural most of the time, but for the fishermen out there, it may feel like a cheap gimmick and you can easily shake the Nunchuk instead of using a circular motion to reel in a fish. There is also a lack of modes to play, and no multiplayer, which is unusual as the Wii is the party console of this generation. The existing modes are Tournament (which involves you trying to catch the biggest overall weight of fish), Arcade (places you in different lakes trying to catch the minimum total weight of fish, given on the screen) and Nature (you can choose the season and time to best suit your style of fishing and practice your skills).

Nature mode is new to the series and is really just a practice mode for you to perfect your techniques and is great for beginners. Arcade mode is the classic and ideal for old fans. The only problem with Arcade is that you only have around 2 minutes per round, but if you happen to not reach the target weight, you simply hit A when it comes to the continue screen and you're right back into the action (even if you had a fish hooked)! Tournament mode can be challenging at times, but is really for experts and people who have mastered the game entirely. And with over 20 lures to collect and unlock and 4 types of bass to catch (Florida Bass, Redeye Bass, Smallmouth Bass and Largemouth Bass), it should keep you busy for at least a handful of hours.

This is the life...

To control your rod, you simply need to flick the Wii remote in the direction of which you wish to cast and then wait, or shake the Wii remote (depending on the lure you are using) to attract bass. If you happen to hook a bass, you will need to immediately raise the remote/rod and reel in using the Nunchuk. Although this may be considered cheating, the easiest way to do so is to just shake the Nunchuk! The bass can be very feisty at times, and you may be asked to swing the remote in a certain direction. It becomes all too easy all too fast, as everything will be prompted to you on screen. When the bass is close to your boat, lower your rod/remote and keep on reeling it in. After a sometimes exhausting fight, you will be shown how big/small your fish is and how much it ways. Obviously you will want the heaviest/biggest bass in the lake and will be very disappointed if a 5 minute 'battle' turns out to be a pathetic 1 pounder!

The overall presentation of this title is relatively poor, especially when more and more Wii games are getting better, graphically. The graphics are very last gen, and the fish move like robots! The sound is almost identical to it's arcade counterpart and very old-school. So if you are looking for a decent looking game, this may not be your cup of tea, with clunky menus, terrible in-game graphics and cheesy soundtrack.

It takes expert waggling of the Wii Remote to avoid this.

All in all, this game is best suited for Sega Bass Fishing veterans or lonely fisherman. With no multiplayer to keep you playing after you master the basics and all 3 of the modes, you won't be playing for more than a week at the most. Even if you are a fishing enthusiast, the controls don't feel entirely natural and you can easily be put off by the terrible visuals.

Sam Foster