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The Fisherman – Fishing Planet Review

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If you know the difference between a tench and a perch and in which situation it’s best to use boilies rather than maggots, The Fisherman – Fishing Planet is the game for you.

Available for years on PC, Fishing Planet has enjoyed much success as a free-to-play title. The Fisherman – Fishing Planet is pretty much the same game, but published by Bigben Interactive it brings a more comprehensive package to not only PC, but also PS4 and Xbox One. It’s essentially Fishing Planet but with years of DLC folded into it, as well as new and exclusive content to make it even more enticing. Wondering what that new content is?There’s a new location, four new fish, two motorboats and the trolling technique.

Upon starting The Fisherman – Fishing Planet you’re prompted to create a character. It’s easy to become a little weary of the game at this stage, as your options are very limited. There’s only one pair of pants, for example, though you can have them in three colours. But you’re not buying The Fisherman – Fishing Planet to play dress up, are you? You’re buying it to fish. And that’s where the game comes into its own.

If you’re a fishing pro, The Fisherman – Fishing Planet‘s first few hours of sporadic tutorials may annoy, but for everyone else they do a fairly good job of explaining the basics with hand-on exercises. You’ll learn how to set up rods for float, spinning and bottom fishing, how to adjust the resistance of the line and your reel speed, and even how to set your leader length. The Fisherman – Fishing Planet’s tutorials truly make you feel like you know what you’re doing. When you’re let loose to go your own way, however, it make take some time to adjust and find your bearings.

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The Fisherman – Fishing Planet is a fishing sim through and through. While you can track missions doled out to you if you please, it’s a game that wants you to enjoy the simple pleasure of sitting at the side of a lake, casting in your bait and then waiting and hoping for a nibble. Sometimes you can sit there for minutes and not have any luck. Other times you’ll be inundated with interest as soon as your bait hits the water. But just like real fishing, it’s a case of choosing the right equipment for the job, and also taking the weather and time of day into account.

Each fishing location, of which there are many, is home to numerous families of fish. You’ll need to learn what fishing techniques work best to catch each and every one of them, as well as their preferred bait and what parts of the water they tend to live in. Some of that information is available to you explore The Fisherman – Fishing Planet‘s menus, but much is left for you to figure out yourself. Persistence also plays its role. Sometimes you’ll be using the right bait and the right technique, but a certain type of fish you’re hoping to catch will just elude you. Only by trying again and again will you finally land the catch you’ve been waiting for.

How you spend your time in The Fisherman – Fishing Planet is largely up to you. As already mentioned, missions are doled out on a regular basis, so you can tackle those if you wish. Alternatively you can just enjoy yourself, fishing where and when you like simply for fun. And then there are competitions. They run every day, and all you have to do is sign up for them and then be around at the specified time to compete. Fishing doesn’t have to be a lonely experience, either. You can fish alongside others in private or public rooms if you wish.

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However you decide to play, you earn experience and cash through catching fish. As you level up you unlock new locations to fish at, opening up more fishing opportunities to test your skills, and equipment to buy at the shop. Unless you’re really frivolous, you should naturally earn all the money you need to fund your fishing excursions, too, as well as buy the licenses required. That’s right, even in the virtual world you can’t avoid needing licences to fish, and you better make sure you follow their rules, or you might find yourself being fined.

When you’ve found a nice spot to fish from, The Fisherman – Fishing Planet looks nice and is a tranquil experience. It’s best not to play it when you’re tired, as starring at a body of water watching the patterns created by ripples as you wait for a bite might just send you to sleep. When you decide to try a new spot to fish at, however, you might be a little dismayed at the level of pop-in as you explore. And your shadow is ghastly; you’ll think you’re being pursued by Slenderman. Considering how long you spend wandering around though, neither are really an issue.

What is an issue though, is how fiddly The Fisherman – Fishing Planet‘s menus are with a controller. Even though it’s laid out what each button does at the bottom of the screen, having to use a mixture of the d-pad, both triggers, both bumpers and both analogue sticks to move around and select various functions and options can be very troublesome. For hours and hours you’ll find yourself getting into a muddle until everything finally sinks in.

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Make no mistake, The Fisherman – Fishing Planet is very much a game for those serious about fishing. From its mechanics to the obscene amount of equipment available for purchase, it’s truly comprehensive. It’s not a game to pick up if you’re after instant gratification and high levels of excitement. To succeed requires preparation, planning, patience and skill. It really is like fishing, only you don’t have to wake up early in the morning to get the best spot, or face the elements.

It’s safe to say that The Fisherman – Fishing Planet is the best fishing game available on console. It packs in so much content that you could play it for tens of hours and still find enjoyment in going back for more. It’s mechanically sound, too, making the act of fishing engaging yet not overly complicated or gamey. If you’re a PC gamer who has already invested money into Fishing Planet, however, the new content on offer probably isn’t worth splashing the cash required for this complete edition.

The Fisherman – Fishing Planet is available on PS4, Xbox One and PC. We reviewed the Xbox One version.
Editor in Chief // An avid gamer since discovering the wonders of the Acorn Electron in the '80s, Rich has nearly played more games than he's had hot dinners. Not one to put all his eggs in one basket, Rich is happy to play games of all genres, but he particularly enjoys racing games and anything that's full of non-stop action, especially if it includes a good dose of humour, horror or crudeness!