Needs more wasabi.
The arguments have been made already. Digital fishing is ridiculous. There's no argument at all what a tried and true fisherman would rather do. Wake up at 5 AM in the morning, bolt down to the bay, and fish for tasty morsels of aquatic joy, or sit on his duff eating cheese snacks while fishing for fake fish? Fishing is,, to a great extent, about character building, and that same quality and experience can't be found in the armchair.
Sega Marine Fishing takes a silly video game concept and manages to make it more interesting to play. It's much better than Sega Bass Fishing, but the same major problem still exists: What the hell are you doing inside, fishing out of a TV screen, when there are actual, live fish outside?
At least the fishing experience that Sega Marine Fishing tries to offer is harder to replicate in real life. You are now treated to yuppy style fishing on a big yacht with a humble manservant. Pass the caviar, Jeeves.
With Sega Bass Fishing, all the fish were bass. Bass everywhere! And hey, if you're into the sweet, delectable taste of bass, than you might have been happy. Not me. I crave more variety, and Marine Fishing adds diversity to my chowder. From the Bluefin Trevally to the Yellowfish Tuna and even the wily Blue Marlin, you'll find a bevvy of fishy varieties sure to whet your appetite.
Of course what it won't whet is your hunger. You can't eat a virtual fish, and near as I can remember, that was one of the benefits of actually going fishing. I could sure go for some sashimi, but noooo, all I can do is stare at these digital fish. These meaty, fresh-out-of-the-water digital fish... mmmmm... curse you game! Why can't you be more useful around the house instead of just sitting there, asking me to play with you? Make me food! Err, I digress...
The game demands to be played with one of the various fishing controllers out there. The big problem with home fishing controllers is that they can't duplicate the line tension quality found in both the arcades and real life. Instead, the reel just buzzes. Of course, simulating line tension in a cost-effective way is nigh impossible, so I'll cut 'em some slack for that.
The gameplay is straightforward: Cast the reel and move your bait in a manner that simulates an actual piece of fish food. Each type of bait has a different movement set. Wait for a fish to come over and grab your lure, and then reel that sucker in. The bigger fish will put up a fight, threatening to break your line and leaving you empty handed. The solution is pretty simple - just keep the bar within the right amount of tensions. Not too much, not too little, and eventually you'll reel it in. Gee whiz, doesn't that sound like fun?
To add depth, there are several mini games designed to improve various aspects of your fishing skill. One game involves casting your reel at targets. Another tests your bait mastery skills. It's a nice touch and a welcome addition.
Marine Fishing boasts of network options sure to bring fishing to the next level. But when you visit their website through the game, you find that nothing is up yet. Hey, that's fun. Waiting. Oh wait, that's what fishing is all about! So they're trying to duplicate the feeling of fishing by making us wait for features. Sure, it makes a lot of sense...in virtual fish world. Back to reality, people.
But even if the online component worked, it's not that thrilling a concept. You can post your online scores so everyone will know you are the best. Plus, you can write "fish mail." Since it isn't even available yet, this fish mail sounds an awful lot like the experimental e-mail project that was akin to a message into a bottle being tossed into the ocean, just waiting for someone to pick it up. It would be almost interesting... if it were actually up.
At least these fish look good. The Shortfin Mako has a silvery sheen to it, like it swam off the set of Jaws 2, into Ecco, and then right into this game. The graphics are going in the right direction, towards photo-realism and fluid animation. Hmm... I wonder how hard it would be to mo-cap a fish?
Sound consists mostly of environmental audio and the same voice dude through and through. Not much to complain or laud. Both are decent enough.
As far as fishing games go, it's one of the best out there, but that really isn't saying much. It's still just casting the reel, nabbing a fish, and repeating, with some slight strategy and statistics thrown into the mix. I think more risks could be taken. How about if you were given free reign of a man who was forced to fish for money? He could work his way up to owning a yacht and being a major player in the fishing world. Just like Forrest Gump!
Despite my fisherman fantasies, the simulation and arcade aspects of the game gel nicely with one another. If the cycle of reel casting and fish nabbing floats your boat, than by all means you'll get just that. But when you're still hungry for a something more substantial, don't come running to me.