When I was a young lad, I used to go fishing with my dad.
Well, I say fishing. What I actually used to do was go with him with the intention to fish but then end up just being a prankster. One time I put a thistle on the seat of his box when he stood up – you can imagine how quickly he got back up when he sat down. Another time, I hid behind some reeds and threw maggots about 10 metres downstream from another angler. He eventually got up and moved all of his gear, thinking he was in with a good chance of catching something in the spot where I’d been causing water movement. I doubt he had much luck. Yeah, I think you could say I was a bastard.
In between all the hi-jinks though, there were times when I did just sit down and fish. Sometimes I’d catch small perch, but if I was feeling more adventurous I’d try for a carp or two. Being someone that didn’t like sitting still for more than two minutes, however, it’s fair to say that my time as a fledgling fisherman was short lived.
Now I’m in my thirties, I’d say that I’ve got much more patience for outdoor pursuits. And while I’m still not fond of the idea of gathering together a load of expensive fishing gear and lugging it to a decent spot, I do enjoy a spot of fishing in a video game. In most games fishing is a fun way to waste a bit of time on the side, often to make to money or get some food. The new Fishing Sim World by Dovetail Games, however, is a serious fishing game for serious people. Basically my current self kinda likes it, while my old self would absolutely hate it.
Fishing Sim World is so straight faced that it will be off-putting to many. It’s cold and clinical, devoid of any humour or fun. Its reason for existence is to solely allow you to do some fishing from the comfort of your couch rather than having to face the outside world. Needless to say, if you’re a serious fisherman that approaches the sport without a modicum of playfulness, you’ll probably enjoy it. Everyone else will no doubt shrug their shoulders, yawn, and then close the game to seek some excitement.
Like Marmite, you’ll either love or hate Fishing Sim World. It has got a range of beautiful environments for you to explore and fish in, more fishing equipment and options than I’ve ever seen in a game of its ilk, and allows you to play on or offline. It is the ultimate game for when the weather is too atrocious to actually go out and do the real thing. You can spend tens of hours sat in a boat on a lake, trying to tempt a tench to nibble on your bait. Then, when you feel competitive, you can take on the CPU or real human being in a variety of tournaments. Whether you just want to relax or feel the heat of competition, it’ll meet your fishing needs.
There are some problems that even the devout fishermen it’s aimed at may get frustrated with though. Graphical glitches are one. On Xbox One X, Fishing Sim World looks good for the most part, but I witnessed frequent graphical anomalies in the distance which ruined my immersion a little. Also, if you want to take a boat out to find the best fishing spot, be warned that they move frustratingly slow. Other than that, you’ll just have to deal with the game’s general drab presentation and occasional clunkiness.
In all honestly, while Fishing Sim World hasn’t got me hooked for the long term, I can see myself biting and going back for more from time to time. It may not try to inject any joy or personality into the sport, but it offers what is the most realistic representation of it to date. Sitting in the middle of a lake with the sunlight reflecting off the water, it’s hard to not be calmed by your time spent with it. Well, until you have a bite on your line and you have to quickly spring into action to do battle.