Top 10 Fishing Games Of All Time

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

There have been fishing video games since the 1980’s, but never has the genre been so popular as it is right now. More titles are being generated than ever before; much of its success stemming from motion-capture technology, which adds a sense of greater realism to the experience. Yet despite the advantage of better gaming technology, there are far more awful fishing games than good ones, some so terrible they are borderline offensive – especially for anyone who has some actual fishing experience. If you’’re looking for a fishing game that’s actually worth the time and money, here is a list of the best that’’s out there.

THE STRIKE (2009) – XBOX 360, WII
The Strike is well thought-out fishing game that is sure to please both professional and amateur anglers, so much so that it is arguably the best game on this list. Here’’s a game where it is clear the developers actually appreciated fishing as an actual sport. It’’s challenging, and some skill is needed, which anglers will love. This game is best played with the Xbox controller rod that comes with it. The best thing about the rod is that the rotors shake inside, providing tension for when you cast your line or when a fish bites.

What makes Rapala Trophies such a great game are the exceptional controls. Reeling and casting is easy to learn, but relatively challenging to master. Shifting camera angles keeps it from being dull: when making a cast, you can view your character in the predictable third-person perspective, but once your lure hits the water, the camera shifts to a close-up of the bait in the water. Such a view allows for a more intimate fishing experience that lends a closer look at potential bites. Rapala Trophies has an arcade mode, a time trial, many exotic locations, and even fishing tournaments. All of the fishing gear is completely licensed and abundant.

Pro Fishing Challenge is more of a simulation than the other games found on this list as you spend just as much time customizing your look and switching between lures and locations as you do casting and reeling. That sounds like something that could be very boring, but the greater sense of realism brings a different level of enjoyment. The game offers more choice than most fishing games (like lures, rigging, rods, etc) and has a lot of depth. It’’s certainly a game that real-life anglers would enjoy more than others, though it isn’’t perfect. Driving your boat from one end of the lake to the other takes several minutes, and even the most hardcore angler looking for realism will find that excessive.

Often considered the definitive fishing game in an arcade-style, Sega Bass Fishing is the polar opposite to Pro Fishing Challenge, but just as fun in its own way. The Wii, PS3, and Xbox 360 all have updated ports of the original Dreamcast version, each with a few extra twists to keep the game fresh. The graphics are a little dated now, but they were top notch back when the game was first released over a decade ago. Though it is fun enough on the newer consoles, Sega Bass Fishing truly shines on the Dreamcast, especially when combined with the Dreamcast fishing controller, which to this day remains the best accessory for fishing games. Trying to shake and wiggle your lure to entice bass with the rod controller is a real gaming pleasure. No fishing game has generated the same kind of respect and positive reviews as Sega Bass Fishing when it first came out.

This game is actually a port of Sega Bass Fishing 2 for the Dreamcast, but the many changes for the PS2 version make it a superior game to the original. Sega Bass Fishing Duel really brought up the competition aspect, something not yet seen before in 3-D fishing games. You can fish against one other person in different modes, compete in tournaments, and even gather a fishing club of your own, but only if you beat them in a one-on-one fishing “duel.” There are many game modes to keep the game fresh, and over 100 lures divided into such common classifications as top-water, crankbaits, and jerkbaits. Sadly, like most fishing games, the poor graphics lead a lot to be desired, but the fun factor is enough to push it over the edge.

Angler’s Dream is a fitting name considering its focal point is to treat fishing like an adventure, one where the “dream” of a once-in-a-lifetime catch is the main objective, backed by an emphasis on fishing in exotic locales. From tranquil lakes and streams to tropical beaches, there’’s no shortage of pretty destinations when reeling in the big one. Over 40 fresh and salt water species are available for capture, but what makes this game so unique is the push to find the “Legendary Fish,” whom you’’ll only find with practice and by learning the tricks of the trade. When not fishing, time is spent at a lodge, where you can pick up tips from a Fishing Master, take care of fish you catch in an aquarium, and check out the prizes you earn along the way. To top it all off there’s even a 4-player option in Versus Mode.

This game is unique for having three different kinds of fishing experiences: the traditional rod-and-reel approach, bow fishing, and the ability to dive under water to spear fish. Each fishing campaign is a treat all on its own, but bow and spear fishing are the ways to go, if only because no other game offers such a playing experience. Spear fishing requires you to dive under water in full scuba gear and swim around to find your prey. The addition of sharks and alligators cause the right amount of havoc when fishing this style. The single-player bowfishing campaign will last you up to 10 hours. The more accurate you are, the more points you get and ultimately the better gear and clothing becomes available to you. The rod-and-reel campaign is not as enjoyable here as other games on this list, but the other two options more than make up for it.

Rapala Pro Bass Fishing is a real sporting experience that’’s all about tournament competition. Head-to-head action, two-person commentary (including Barry Brueland, the voice of InFisherman TV), competitive leader boards, and final live weigh-ins will make you feel like you’’re a part of the Bassmaster Elite Series. The goal is to fish multiple tournaments (up to 20) and put together enough good results to win a championship season.

The single-player campaign is this game’s bread-and-butter, but over 50 kinds of two-player contests will keep you coming back for more. Over 25 trophy fish species are ready to be had, all on some of North America’s best bodies of water.

The best fishing game before 3-D consoles took over is Mark Davis’ The Fishing Master, a gem of a game that stands the test of time due to its difficulty. A big reason why many fishing games made today don’’t stack up is because you seem to reel in a fish with every cast, no matter what lure or weather condition is at play. In this Super Nintendo title, if you don’’t pick the right lure, you won’’t catch anything. Sure, that may sound intimidating and not very fun, but that’’s what fishing’s all about in real life: finding the right pattern for the right day. The sequel to this game, Mark Davis Bass Pro Challenge for PS2 (2003), is a worthy follow-up in its right.

BASSMASTERS 2000 (1999) – N64
Nintendo kickstarted the fishing game craze back with the NES and have not taken their foot off the pedal since. In the N64 era, the best game was Bassmasters 2000, which features the voice talent of professional angler Shaw Grigsby. Four different game modes are available: Casting, Speed Fishing, Tournament, and Exhibition. The tournament mode is the main event, where the goal is to win the Bassmaster Classic. The music is a real standout and among the best of any fishing game ever made, but the sound effects lead a little to be desired. Mostly, you may get annoyed listening to Grigsby’s color commentary– the constant use of “Nice cast!” may have you casting terribly on purpose just to avoid the sound bite. Nevertheless, a fun game with enough realism to make it worthwhile.

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