Ultimate Fishing Simulator not only sums itself up in the title, but offers much more of an interactive and picturesque fishing experience than expected of such games. With the correct fishing gear (and a little trial and error) it is possible catch numerous fish, upgrade equipment and enjoy visiting some stunning locations in lakes, rivers, the sea and even try out some ice fishing in the winter.
Although this game appears to have been designed for the PC, it is still enjoyable, with only a few elements which don’t quite work as well when playing it on a console. The mouse cursor is probably the most irritating example, as it is extremely difficult to adjust to when using the left stick or d-pad because it is too sensitive which makes navigation much more complicated and frustrating than it should be. For anyone (like myself) who does not already have a vast knowledge of the various fishing techniques and the correct equipment required for a successful catch, the help pages really are an essential component of the game but the difficulty in accessing these pages can make it rather infuriating. Within the guide, some pages begin to explain a technique, followed by an explanation that this information can only be found on another page but with no reference as to where exactly! This could definitely be presented in a more organised and user friendly way. The other frustrating element is that there are a few button prompts which appear within the game as a very tiny diagram of the controller in the middle of the screen but it is almost impossible to see this image, let alone the buttons which it refers to (even on a 60″ screen!) so this is totally unhelpful unfortunately.
The time feature allowing day and night fishing, combined with the various changing weather conditions, certainly enhances the very realistic feeling of being outdoors. The graphics definitely deserve a mention here as well, as the water is exceptionally realistic. The graphics of the underwater perspective can often appear to be less convincing but as this is not an integral part of normal fishing, this can be excused. The detail of the equipment is also outstanding and will unquestionably add authenticity for all players, with or without prior fishing experience. Perhaps not so much time was given to designing the trees and vegetation, but this does not detract from the overall experience as the focus should ultimately be on the water when fishing.
The calming music and the natural waterside locations create the perfect environment to relax and appreciate the game at any pace, which comes as a pleasant surprise. There are not many pieces of background music, but they aren’t so short or invariable that they become too annoying -thankfully! The ability to try out all sorts of techniques whist experimenting with various bait, or even just going out fishing on a boat, creates a much welcomed freedom which also resembles a more authentic and realistic fishing experience overall.
When a fish is caught, it is great to be given the option to sell it for better equipment or release it to earn bonus experience because in this way, the game accommodates different gaming styles and allows players the flexibility to enjoy the game on a more individual basis overall. For those who are experienced in fishing, this is probably quite a comparable experience in terms of the time it takes to choose the correct equipment and set everything up correctly. The undeniable contrast to real life is that with the correct setup (in Ultimate Fishing Simulator), a catch is almost always guaranteed! If trying to earn enough money to open a new location, and catching fish does become troublesome, it is always possible to move back to a previous location with a setup that works so that this can still be achieved. There is a satisfactory balance between being able to catch enough fish to make it rewarding and enjoyable as a game, and the knowledge or time it takes to set everything up correctly to be able to succeed in doing so.
At first glance, Ultimate Fishing Simulator might not seem like it would appeal to everyone, but it is engaging enough to enjoy whether the player has any interest in fishing, or none at all. There are plenty of beautiful locations to choose from and with a vast array of equipment to experiment with, it is likely to be an interesting and enjoyable fishing experience for all.
This game was tested and reviewed on Xbox. All of the opinions and insights here are subject to that version. Game provided by publisher.Want to keep up to date with the latest Xt reviews, Xt opinions and Xt content? Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube.