Pro Fishing Challenge Xbox Review

When I finally got my hands on Pro Fishing Challenge I began to think that it would be rather bland and have nothing to offer. After all, the last time I went fishing was when I was a young boy out on the lakes of Michigan. Rarely has fishing games been able to captivate the general audience since Sega Bass Fishing or Sega Marine Fishing on the Dreamcast and that was a while back. Pro Fishing Challenge isn’t arcade as it’s more of a simulation of fishing on huge lakes. With that being said, Pro Fishing Challenge is great on its own merit.

Not many fishing games currently locate themselves on the Xbox. Pro Cast Sports Fishing was published by Capcom and that turned out horrible. Then there’s Activision’s Rapala Pro Fishing which is heralded as the “#1 developer and publisher of outdoor sporting games”. Well I am here to say that Pro Fishing Challenge is arguably the best fishing game on the Xbox but that’s not saying too much as the competition is thin.

Gameplay

At first the game may seem to have a scarce amount of options to choose out of but when you finally inhabit the rest of the game, you will become overwhelmed. Creating your own custom fisherman may actually deter you away as you’ll want to just jump right into playing. You’ll be able to learn the controls and how to play through an exhaustive tutorial. It’s exhaustive as you just want to play the darn game and play it well. When you finally finished the tutorial, it’s time to start the competition with fishing tournaments with different regulations. Regulations such as weight, length, the type fish and how many fish can be implied on such tournaments so you will have to make sure you know the rules before heading out on the lake. If you that good at fishing, then you can move onto more difficult competitions that will offer you tougher challenges.

There are unlockables throughout the game such as new clothing and gear to earn. Heck you can buy new boats, lures, rods, reels and much more with the money you earn through the tournaments. The unlockables add to playing the game as you may just not want to play through the tournaments anymore and would rather just be free to roam where you want and fish how you want, which is always an option in Pro Fishing Challenge.

You may be wondering about handling the boats and how you drive them. Well they are slower than molasses right from the get go but you may attain better boats as you buy them. You will start every game off in engine mode which you have control of the direction of the boat but barely have control of the speed. Then when you find the spot, it’s time to get up out of your seat and start to fish. Now this is where it will be come difficult. Casting can become a real @#$%& but if you can learn the controls quick enough that pain of controlling how you cast will quickly go away.

Casting is controlled with the A Button and it all depends on how you hold it down and stop it at the position you want. There are three casting types that of course are useful for each situation. Overhead is the default and these will garner you will the best distance to cast with. Sidehand casting allows you better control which ought to help out when it’s windy or raining. Another cast is the pitching cast to help you throw near another object to help you out with your lure and making sure it doesn’t rest against the side of it.

When you have already set out your cast, you can use the thumbsticks to drag the lure back to the boat. Also tugging the line will attribute to some mild success to help you out maybe get the catch of your life. Though catching the fish is more based on timing rather then how good you fish. I started off very sluggish not knowing the controls and just monkeying around to get the controls down pat. Within that time I caught two fish, small ones nonetheless, but it was all by chance.

Graphics

Graphically speaking, Pro Fishing Challenge has impressive water effects and animation. Ripples and waves are noticeable while also maintaining great reflections of objects near by. Animations such as your character throwing his line are nice to make you believe that the bait/lure actually hits the water and sinks. The characters themselves I have seen better but they aren’t the main concern of the game. Camera is adjustable with three separate views and each helping out in different ways. The camera views allow you to notice the days changing, rain having an effect on your fishing and actually the rain hitting the camera to give it a better feel like you are in a rainstorm. There is one thing that is lacking and it is the environments. The lands that surround the lakes are bland and uninspiring. I never would want to leave the lake to step one foot on those boring landscapes.

Sounds

Sound is done to the expectations that a fishing game could meet. You’d like the game to be quiet while you are fishing as you like silence when out there alone pondering when your first catch will come, and in the game it is silent. Sounds you’ll hear often are from the boat when you decide to get up and drive to a new spot, when you actually throw out your line and when you actually get your catch and pick it out of the water. The menus are where all the sound is located and they are a big plus for this fishing game.

Lifespan

Xbox Live Support is enabled and it’s a little overwhelming to say the least. I was impressed with their layout and menus as I was just expecting rather bland menus. It might take a while to actually enter a game or even find one but Xbox Live is a great addition to make this game the best fishing game on the Xbox. You can find out what others are catching, talk to them over the headset to ask them some tips and anything you feel free to. Also you have the option to view everything you have caught over the time you have played online and see what your personal bests are.

Overall

I had fun with Pro Fishing Challenge while online. Single player was what I expected and maybe a little bit more packaged inside it. It may not be attracting to the common gamer but any fisherman should pick this up as it’s a delight to simulate a fisherman’s life. It’s the best on the Xbox I must mention again so this should be your only choice unless you follow another series for some odd reason.

7 out of 10
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