I hadn’t really expected to be talking about a fishing game again so soon, but during the magic hour, those bites can come fast and furious. This time around it’s Fishing Sim World‘s turn.
Full disclosure/disclaimer: I previously had business dealings with Dovetail Games during the launch of Euro Fishing. I was not an employee though and therefore don’t feel as though that interaction has biased my ability to be impartial when talking about Fishing Sim World. With that out there, let’s talk fishing.
So with a wider scope than just Europe and Carp fishing, Fishing Sim World heads to the U.S. to tackle Bass fishing among other species as well. Let’s start though with the Carp. There is a lot of crossover here between Euro Fishing and Fishing Sim World. Locations will be familiar, as will the core mechanics at play. It was as obvious then as it is now that the team have a lot of passion for Carp fishing. Now while I may have logged 250+ hours into Euro Fishing by the time the title officially launched, I’ve only spent a fraction of time since release and some of these changes may have occurred before Fishing Sim World came about.
One of the more endearing elements previously was the all important battle to reel a monster carp in. These are still a highlight of course. While still rather enjoyable, the battles feel more rigidly scripted than they had at times in Euro Fishing. There seems to be little random variation in how the fish will react when on the line, seemingly requiring a set number of passes near the peg, only to circle out again, before it eventually tires out, but only near a peg it seems. The epic fights the European fish extend to nearly all species. It’s a definite highlight.
Now, I was rather specific to there being mostly epic fights with European species of fish, that is because it seems their North American counterparts didn’t quite get the memo. Compared to the fights of even a Tench or Bream, both species of Bass here seem to offer far less resistance. That of course is slightly disappointing for fish renown for their fight. It’s not just the Bass either. Reeling in a 32 lb Pike was also far easier than expected, especially on 10 lb test. It’s certainly nice to be able to go angling for fish I’m accustomed to catching in the real world, the disparity between catching “new” species compared to the fish that appeared in the previous Euro Fishing is quite noticeable. It makes sense given there’s been a few years more work put into that area first and closer proximity to the team and certain species of fish. Personally, I’d be happy to host a “research team” at one of the many large local lakes here if it helps in getting the North American fish up to their European counterparts level.
There is one last point with the North American fishing experience to bring up though and that is a missing species. There’s nothing from the genus Lepomis, (bluegill, sunfish, warmouth, pumpkinseed). They’re a fairly common part of the Bass fishing experience and a far bigger “nuisance” when targeting Bass than other. Sure, I’ve caught Crappie and Perch while angling for Bass, but no where near the frequency of a Sunfish or Bluegill with eye’s far bigger than their stomachs. That may be a nitpick on my part, but they seem like a natural choice to be there.
Let’s switch gears here though and talk equipment and locations. There are 5 Euro lakes and 2 NA available to fish. The European venues should be familiar ones, although I don’t recall Gigantica. The NA lakes are two fictional ones set it Florida and New York. The added bonus here is that they feature boats! That had been a regularly asked for feature in the past, so it is a nice addition. They also come with a fish finder! If you’ve ever used one though you might not be as excited though as they work just like real life, which is to say, they show what’s directly under the boat and that’s about it. But hey, at least you know something’s in the area.
When it comes to your tackle…phew is there a lot. There is a leveling system attached to the game where anglers gain xp and tp (tackle points) for each catch. The xp of course goes to a leveling system used to unlock more gear with the tp being the currency used to purchase that gear. I’m not opposed to such a system, but it does seem like a little bit of a cluster. Again comparing to the launch of Euro Fishing there was a visual “tree” of equipment. With the sheer amount of items and types of fishing available, that sort of thing would be unbelievably large and awkward to navigate this time around. Fishing Sim World instead just opts for pages of lure. The problem here is that this is also somewhat unwieldy but with the added drawback of not knowing what exactly has been unlocked with the level gain, if anything. Plus the not knowing what might still be out there may mean when you may drain your tp on items you don’t want instead of what you do. That can leave players with the feeling of wasting time instead of working towards a goal.
Bottom line though, while I may have highlighted more of the areas that could use some improvement, overall Fishing Sim World gets the feeling of fishing more correct in more areas than most of the competitors do. The full casting controls are great, there is an option for a simplified version though if there is trouble getting them down. The fight to reel in a fish are some of the best, the biggest issue I had wasn’t that they weren’t good but rather some species are seemingly up to the same standard as others even accounting in different variations based on their real differences. It will be interesting to see this evolve over time as more and more gets added. There are improvements to be had, but still one of the better fishing games out there.