Fact: 95% of fishing-based videogames are terrible. Therefore, if you are still a fan of the genre after years of horrid fishing games on all generations of game systems, then you’re probably not that easy to disappoint. That being said, this game will still manage to disappoint you.
Bass Pro Shop’s Trophy Bass 2007, as with every other fishing game, forgets why fishing exists. Fishing gives alcoholic rednecks an excuse to leave their house, drive miles away to a large body of water, boat out into the middle of it, leaving their wives and families far behind, and drink heavily without being nagged for it. If this game came with a coupon for a 30 pack of Pabst I’d at least have been too drunk to have cared that the game was about as fun as sitting on a belt sander, and just as pretty.
Start up the game and you’re given the option to create a boat and a character. In this rather anemic create-a-character mode you can pick from three men or two women, four skin tones, four different colors for your shirt if you’re a man and two colors if you’re a woman. If I’ve done my math right this means you can create a total of 64 nearly identical characters. Compare this to the billions of possible combinations in games like Tiger Woods 2007 and you quickly see that this game’s create-a-character mode is sub-abysmal. After you’re done matching your nondescript fisherman’s shirt color to your no-frills boat’s color, you’re ready to play.
Choose between Tournament mode to compete against computer opponents or Quick Fish to experience instant fishing gratification; and by “gratification” I, of course, mean “suicide contemplation.” After choosing, hop into your boat and get ready to fish. You’ll find that your boat glides above the water like a hovering Ouija board piece, never once touching or disturbing the water in any way. Drive it around for long enough and you’ll swear you’re driving that high tech boat from Thunder in Paradise because, unlike a normal boat, this boat senses when you’re about to crash into land or a competitor’s boat and stops you about 10 feet before you hit it and plays a bad crashing sound effect. High tech!
If you find that you don’t like the way that the boat controls then you should probably set down your controller, turn off your Xbox and call it quits, because driving your boat around a lake is about 90% of this game. You’ll be riding around for quite some time because it seems that all the fish in the entire lake only like hanging out in one tiny spot. If that doesn’t make it hard enough to find the fish then your giant screen-hog HUDs will. Once you actually find all the fish you can start fishing.
Casting your line is one of the very few things this game does somewhat well. You can choose between a few styles of casting (side-arm, overhand, etc) and the gauge that chooses how long your cast will be goes so slow that, unless you’re a 90-year-old who just dunked their hand in liquid nitrogen, you should have no problem stopping the gauge exactly where you want it.
Another thing this game actually did right is its Quick Reel feature. Finally, you don’t have to sit there reeling in hundreds upon hundreds of feet of fishing line in real time. Just press a button and it reels the line in quickly and automatically. This concludes the “what they did right” section.
The fishing itself seems to be based largely on luck. Sometimes you’ll reel a fish in immediately, and sometimes you’ll try for an hour to reel it in only to have them pop off the line for no good reason or just swim away like you aren’t doing anything. Unfortunately, the game doesn’t really give any useful advice on how to keep the fish on the line, or any useful advice on anything else for that matter.
Once you get the hang of the fishing you can go to tournament mode and perform some magic tricks. Go on; you can do this at home. Simply drive up next to a competitor’s boat, cast your line into his boat and voila! You are now fishing through his boat. The game does recognize that your lure has gone through a boat because it plays a wooden “clonk” sound—it just doesn’t particularly care.
So I’m in the tournament and I’m boating and fishing like a champ, but now I’ve gotta take a leak. What do I do? Sorry, but Tournament mode offers no quarter for the small-bladdered among us, as it has no pause feature whatsoever. Yes, it does have a menu screen if you press the start button, but the game continues moving along in the background even if you don’t want it to.
So, while you’re wasting your day fishing on a near-empty lake in your Ouija boat, what are you listening to? No, the game does not allow you to play your own soundtracks. What the game does allow you to listen to is a never-ending amount of annoying bird calls with some Kenny G-type music being played at two decibels in the background. Occasionally a hillbilly announcer will chime in while you’re fishing to let you know that you’ve got a “monster fish” or “that fish is going to give you Popeye arms.” Never anything useful, though.
So now it’s decision time. You’re a big fishing fan, you have $19.99 burning a hole into the pockets of your mustard-stained overalls and you can get past the fact that the game doesn’t come with free beer, the gameplay is terrible and it’s about as visually moving as a gibbon pissing into your eyes. Before you go blowing your hard earned money on this garbage consider this:
Bass Pro Shop’s Trophy Bass 2007 $19.99 (gamestop.com)
Streetwise 150,000 Volt Stun Gun w/ Alarm and Holster $19.99 (firstlineindustries.com)
A 150k volt stun gun is the same price as this game. I suggest going with the stun gun for the following reasons:
a. It offers a level of personal security that throwing an Xbox disc at somebody doesn’t.
b. If you press this to your bare taint and activate, it will emulate the exact kind of fun you’ll be having with this game.