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August 21, 2015

Fishing Master: World Tour (Part 3)

Missed something? Read Part 1 here, and Part 2 here!

So, we’ve caught plenty of fish, including a lot of weird ones, and we’ve won all of the actual fishing competitions in the game. Now, if we want to be known as the real Fishing Master, we need a Fiendfish. Oh my, this is gonna be difficult. So, now we’re in Oceania to practice a little more, and we start off in Sydney. There are 19 different species of fish here, and only one pink fish… but when you pull it out, it turns out to be an army of small fishies. Allow me to make the obvious joke.

Yeah, I had to do that. Anyway, our trip across Oceania continues in Tasmania and Tahiti, but then we get news that there’s a giant fish roaming the waters around Antarctica. It’s not just any fish; it’s a giant squid, and it’s not any giant squid, it’s the Emperor Squid. It’s so huge it terrifies people. In fact, how can I know, with utmost certainty, that we’re not gonna be fishing out Cthulhu’s head over there? Oh well, we are not given any choice in the matter. The Emperor Squid has very eclectic tastes when it comes to bait; the only thing that interests it is a crown. The sole problem with that is that this thing fights like a demon (what a surprise) and will frequently leave with your bait, because it can easily break your line if not careful. Also, the crown costs 1800 Catch Points, and you might have to shill out the cash for multiple crowns if you want to have a chance. And since the Emperor Squid is a Plot Mission, you HAVE to catch it. Yep, there’s no skipping that one. Fill your wallet, buy loads of crowns, and chase down this Emperor!

This looks like Antactica... it isn't.
Don't you hate misleading pictures?

Wait… Legendary fish, which are extremely hard to catch, with most of them requiring the strongest baits, take a few – or in the worst cases, many – tries before you can finally get them? Are you SURE this wasn’t heavily inspired by Pokémon after all?

It's so big its picture doesn't even fit on the screen.
Anyway, I catch the Emperor Squid, and MY GOD! Over 300 feet long, and it weighs over 100 tons! Holy crap! Anyway, now that it’s caught, that means we can move to the location of the infamous Fiendfish… South America! There are quite a few fishing spots here too; First there are two separate sections of the Amazon River, Lake Baccarac, the Caribbean Sea, and finally Easter Island. As for the special types of fish, the list contains golden dorados, whale sharks, hammerhead sharks, bellicose piranhas, and of course the legendary Fiendfish. In the Caribbean Sea, if you throw your line with a crown on the hook and a pink fish catches it, you’ll need to be careful not to break your line… because you’re gonna pull out a treasure chest! Yep, chests chomp on crowns. We learn something new every day.

Am I the only one creeped out that inanimate objects act like fish?
Now I'm picturing a chest closing its lid to catch the crown...

Finally everyone’s favorite captain finds out the Fiendfish is located near Easter Island. Time to fish it out and get the title of Fighing Master! For this fish, only one type of bait can be used: The Fiend Lure. It costs 2000 Catch Points, so stock up before you head to Easter Island to catch this one! Personally, I had problems with the Emperor Squid, but for some reason (maybe I was lucky), I caught the Fiendfish on my first try. Kinda like when you use a Master Ball to catch the Legendary Pokémon you want. Except instead of a ball, it’s bait. And it was probably of the “Master” type. All things considered, this would make for a snark-worthy name, so maybe we should just keep calling it Fiend Lure. Long story short, I caught the Fiendfish, and that Ryan guy was there to witness it. Oddly enough, he doesn’t comment. The only one who acknowledges your epic victory for now is the ship’s captain, when you tally up your catch. Nicola is now a Fishing Master. Time to celebrate! There’s a party on the boat!

That night, the captain gives the protagonist a marvelous trophy. And on the next day, we get a call from Fishy the eighth dwarf – I mean Gramps. He congratulates the player, and then gives one last surprise: He reveals to the player the location of the Isle of Mystery, a place with only two fishing spots, but those spots contain all sorts of rare fish in all sizes and shapes. It’s the perfect moment to visit this place! Go there and have a blast! Special fish there include megamouth sharks, humphead wrasse, golden toothfish, super sturgeons, giant squids, treasure chests (again?)… and an upgrade to the Fiendfish, the Twisted Fiendfish, which nets even MORE points! That one must be freaking gigantic.

After a while, you’ll get another call from Gramps; he has “magic words” that turn all the blue fish you didn’t catch in any spot yellow, so that you can know exactly what you have and what you don’t. Well, except pink fish; those remain pink, so you can fish out pink fish you already caught. This comes in handy to complete the fish journals, for which you must try to catch every species of fish in every location. THAT’S a tough thing. Just for reference, the whole list of fish that can be caught in every location is more than six pages long. There’s THAT many.

Man, those fish journals sure feel like a Pokédex, don’t they? It just makes me think that a Pokémon fishing minigame would be awesome. Fishing out a Gyarados would simply be epic. In fact, a full-fledged Pokémon fishing minigame where you’d go to the best fishing spots in the entire Pokémon world would be great. Imagine going to Johto and catching the Red Gyarados!

Welcome to... Fish Paradise?
Once Story Mode has been completed, there are no Story Mode missions anymore. However, the Captain of your ship may still have missions for you. And he may have MANY missions. So there’s this to do if you feel like spending more time fishing, maybe doing those would be good. Plus you earn free Catch Points when you complete the captain’s missions, so I guess that’s good. Another thing would be to look for the “Achievements” in this game. Sometimes you’ll earn medals for completing certain tasks. You get one medal (named Title) each time you win a tournament, you get one when you catch the Emperor Squid and another for the Fiendfish. There are only 30 Titles to earn, and at least one third of them will have been found by the time to beat Story Mode. The other titles include quests such as “catching every shark”, there’s another for not breaking your line in a while, another for fishing up lots of trash (and opening a museum to put them all on display – nah, just kidding), but of course most Titles are earned by catching all the species of fish. At the same time, if you really want, you can go buy every rod available in the shop, including the best one… which costs 50,000 Catch Points. That would require catching 17 times the Fiendfish, just imagine that.

So yeah, I think that’s all there really is to say about this game… And to be frank, I have to admit I really, really like it! I think the Wii’s movement detection system allowed for more fishing games than any other console could ever have. The key was to combine these new controls with an interesting concept, in order to create a good game. On this level, Fishing Master: World Tour succeeds where other, more basic fishing games like Reel Fishing: Ocean Challenge failed. In the latter, all you could really do was casting your line, waiting for fish, then reeling in. Sure, you could change your lure if you wanted. However, the game was split into 30 missions (10 if you couldn’t pay the additional 100 points, which is my case), and every mission had very precise requirements… and you couldn’t move forward until the mission had been completed. What’s more, the fishing spots never contained many different types of fish, only the ones required for the missions. There was no story, there was no character, there was only fishing. It was lacking something… pardon the cliché, but one could say Reel Fishing: Ocean Challenge was lacking heart. None of those problems are in Fishing Master: World Tour.

Fishing Master: World Tour is also a sequel to a game
called... Fishing Master. I didn't even know that!
This Wii game added everything that should be in a good fishing game: Being able to buy new rods and all kinds of bait, a better “Escape or Break” system (where not reeling in sufficiently leads to the fish escaping and reeling too much results in the line breaking), the ability to choose between fishing spots from anywhere around the world, and giving freedom of catching almost any fish, at any moment, anywhere, with only the rare plot-relevant missions being of any importance and the captain’s missions being optional. In addition, you get to choose your character’s appearance and that character’s pet; at first this feels unnecessary, but the pet turns out to be a valuable ally who often finds new bait in the ground. Getting bait without having to pay for it? That’s neat! Along with this, we get a supporting cast that comprises the old man who sends you on your quest, a Captain who drives the vehicle to get you there, some competitors, and the people living near the fishing spots you visit. Oh, and the shop guy too, I guess. Anyway, what’s up with this guy? He always looks the same even though all nine shops are spread all across the world… Eh, it’s probably a Nurse Joy or Agent Jenny type of deal.

All the things to take into consideration when playing this fishing game (the location, the bait, the length of the rod, the season, the blue/green/pink/yellow fish) make this game complex, but very enjoyable once you get the hang of it. One could say each season being only three days long is too short to be realistic, but it could be quite the opposite; in some cases, it feels too long. Sometimes you want to catch a type of fish, but it only shows up on certain seasons, so you’re stuck having to wait for that particular season to return. Also, the fact that each new set of bait is unlocked after a tourney or when you reach a new continent. That may be an annoyance, but then again, most baits are unlocked only at the moment where they're needed for certain types of fish in the latest spots.

Now, about the fishing spots themselves: They are simply marvelous. And the music that accompanies the game is a lot of fun. Its in-story use is also pretty great: If you pull a normal-sized fish, the music playing will be enjoyable and fun. If you pull a bigger fish, the music will be tense. And if you pull a giant fish, the music will have a “boss battle” vibe to it. The real fish look pretty great, and the special fish also look great. (Well, except the Humanface ones, and a few others...)

There's also a multiplayer mode, and whle I never got a chance to try it, I know up to four players can cast their line at once, and it's a competition to see who has the best catch.

I do have a few points of criticism, and here they are: The CGI models of characters – other than the player character, his/her pet, or the fish caught – don’t look all that great. The sea captain’s movements are stiff and unnatural, and “Gramps” looks like a garden gnome with a mechanism à la Nutcracker. In that aside from a quick wink, Gramps never moves or even blinks, he just stands there, opening and closing mouth. At least the captain has more movement than that. Sorta. Even the shop guy looks alright, though his movements are kinda wooden too.

When we get to a new fishing spot, we get one e-mail telling us which kinds of fish can be caught there, and we’ll often also get other e-mails from people met during the competition… not all of it is important, you’ll often get e-mails that just make you waste your time. What’s worse, the list of fish in each fishing spot is split in two e-mails! You get the second one after you beat Story Mode! Couldn’t it be just in one e-mail and spare us the trouble? I mean, after a while you get tired of getting e-mails. Besides, all the fish can be caught from the first day you spend in a fishing spot, why splitting the lists in two?

A final thing: The rivals. God damn it, the rivals. Simply put, one of my pet peeves is the annoying rival who brags all the time, claiming his superiority, until you beat him for good… Look, I can understand how cathartic it is to teach a lesson to a person like that… But seriously, we just don’t need to go against jerkass rivals. Pokémon dropped the “Jerkass Rival” thing after its second Generation. J.J. is so full of himself that one can wonder if there’s even enough space for his ego on Planet Earth, and Ryan… well… is barely any better, he’s just more reserved and doesn’t show up until near the end of the game. Also of note, neither congratulates you on beating them, so along with being sore winners, they’re also sore losers. It’s just… The jerkass rival is one of the tropes I hate the most. These two characters are easily the most insufferable, annoying people in this game. And neither of them is called Keith, so that’s even worse.

But outside of those issues? Everything else is pretty damn good. This is the best fishing game I played for the Wii, I’m glad I own it. I still haven’t been able to achieve 100% completion, but someday maybe. Someday.

Come back here next week for another review!

This time, I will be reviewing Hotel Dusk: Room 215. And I will be adopting a "Typewriter" feel.