|System: Wii, X360||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: MagicWand||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Activision||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Nov 2006||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|Review by Vaughn||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Vaughn Smith
Anyone who has spent time at the fishing hole in Twilight Princess will most likely agree that it's actually quite entertaining thanks in no small part to the various lures and the excellent control scheme. They might even consider that a game based on real fishing would be even better. That's where Rapala Tournament Fishing comes in. The series has been around for a couple of years now and has at least some name recognition with virtual master anglers. Unfortunately RTF published by Activision Value feels rushed to market and isn't up to the usual standards of the series, nor is it up to the standards of the other Wii launch titles.
The game offers a few different modes to fish in such as Arcade, Free-Mode and Time Trials, but it's the Tournament Mode you'll most likely spend the majority of time playing. Players will be able to create their player from a selection of outdoorsy types and then whisk away to the first tournament. These tournaments are timed so you'll be under the gun to reel in the poisson de jour which will have to qualify in the various categories such as weight, length, how many wishes one will grant you if you throw it back... kidding. Rapala provides a mind-numbing amount of lures to choose from and I'm guessing fishing enthusiasts will definitely appreciate the attention to detail, which was completely lost on me. All I ever used was a Red Devil and by gum, that's all I ever needed - to catch Pirch and Jack. Along with the Rapala-sponsered lures that you'll have to guess as to why one is better than the other, unless you already know, you'll also have to select from a variety of rods and lines, both of which have different characteristics. To the novice virtual fisherman this info will be absolutely overwhelming at first, but in all fairness this game is aimed at those who probably already know what they're doing or at least are familiar with the Rapala name. If you're just going to buy this because you liked fishing in Zelda, you will most likely be confused with the sheer amount of choice afforded you. Now it sounds odd to slam a game for having too much content, but in this case developers MagicWand skimped on the useful info. If they had given detailed information regarding the strengths and weaknesses of the various lures, rods and lines and what they were intended to catch, you might have been able to come away with a head full of fishing knowledge. For novices RTO is nothing more than trial and error and we all know how much fun that is after hour 4.
MagicWand created intuitive fishing controls with the Wii-mote, which plays a lot like the more advanced fishing in Zelda. You will need to hold A, while you fling the Wii-mote forward to cast, simultaneously releasing the button at the apex of your movement. You will be able to move the line left and right, and reeling in the fish is accomplished by moving the nunchuck in a reeling motion. You set the drag of the line with the d-pad, which will release or add tension to the line depending on what kind of fight the fish is putting up. Holding the Wii-mote will add tension to the line and the rod, so you'll have to be careful not to break it. Once the fish is near the boat, a little mini-game pops up that requires you to press a sequence of buttons to land the fish in the boat. The fishing controls feel a little sluggish at times, but for the most part this is the best part of the game. If you can overlook the repetition of doing the same procedures over and over, you might get some enjoyment out of it.
Catching a fish in real life requires all sorts of high-tech equipment these days. Titanium fishing rods, computerized fish finders, infra-red night vision goggles, electrified nets, a fish psychic etc. are all part of the fisherman's tackle box. The most high-tech gadget I used to use was an oar for my rowboat. In RTF, you'll have your fishing caddy who will tell you where to fish and if you listen, by golly, he's right! If you happen to choose the right lure for the particular fish you're after, you'll be smooth sailing. Catching a fish in the game isn't particularly difficult nor is it particularly time-consuming, both of which are completely unrealistic. Fishing is a sport best enjoyed with a good boat, beer, sandwiches, dirty stories and a buddy who provides all of it free of charge. You'll be reeling in fish in RTF like you've got a MagicWand attached to your rod, and just maybe you do... This level of ease diminishes the overall worth as the game becomes entirely too repetitive with no real boost in challenge. Reeling in the larger fish in later tournaments might cause a few snapped lines and some whiteknuckle moments, but not as many as you'd hope for.
Visually the game looks like it would be better suited for the N64 than the Wii, with the exception of the underwater scenes, the fish and the animation of the fish. The rest of the graphics such as the character models and environments are generic and weak in all areas. Yes, it's a budget-priced game but does it really have to look like one? The water noises and the background music are decent and impress more than the bargain store visuals, but that's not saying much since people don't buy fishing games for the music.
If you're just dying to play another fishing game on the Wii than you've obviously found your game. The rest of you who are slightly curious would be well advised to rent Rapala Tournament Fishing for a few days to see if it's worthy enough to get tossed into your boat. It speaks volumes that when I was taking a break from reviewing RTF, I went back to my Zelda game and found myself visiting the fishing hole and enjoying it far more, even though it's not as complex as Rapala.
CCC Site Director