Simulation Games have been rather common as of lately. People can now live their hobbies through a computer screen, whether it being a train driver, farmer, or even a rock or a goat. These types of games try to replicate the experience as closely to real life as possible, and their degree of success is their closeness to the actual thing.
One such activity which has quite a lot of titles trying to replicate it is fishing. Fishing has existed ever since the first civilisations, mainly as a means to procure food but has become more of a hobby and a way to pass time, as the main way to obtain seafood is now through shops and markets. That said, many people will still go fishing for leisure, and the ability to do so from the comfort of one’s home is very appealing, explaining the plethora of fishing simulator titles available. One of these, Ultimate Fishing Simulator, aims to be just what it says in the title, but it does have its issues especially on its Xbox One version.
Developed by Ultimate Games, Ultimate Fishing Simulator tries to capture the activity of fishing as best it can. Now I am no fishing expert, but the game feels like what one would mostly expect from a fishing game. You immediately start off with a fishing rod and some bait, and you can set out to fish from the get-go. There is a help section which should be checked out frequently as it provides a neat guide to the basics and even advanced sections of the game.
Controls are very straight forward – you move about with the analog stick, and throw with the right trigger buttons. RB will throw to the location you are currently looking at, while RT will charge up the throw as much as you like to even end up across the lake if you so wish. You have a circle which shows how far your hook is, so you can calculate if you see more fish near your location.
You can then use the left trigger buttons to release or pull the line. This mechanic comes in handy when you have a fish on your hook, as then it comes to a battle to tire out the fish. Releasing a little of your wire will let the fish swim more and get tired faster, although pulling little by little will get you the same effect, just have to be careful enough not to break the line by pulling too hard.
Progressing in the game is fairly easy; you get XP from catching fish, with a small additional amount awarded if you choose to release the fish instead of selling it. There are levels which you will get upon reaching a preset amount of XP, and upon levelling up you will be able to unlock a skill from a set offered to you upon levelling up. These levels are also essential for you to be able to unlock new locations, as these are only available once you reach level 2, for example, Betty Lake here below.
What the game, unfortunately, fails to tell you is that you will need a drill to be able to fish on this site. While the drill will be immediately available for you to take upon reaching level 2, you will learn of the necessity of this drill when going to the location, and if you had already used the skill point you will have to earn another level in order to get the drill. It is a tedious experience, and an honestly useless one as the game could have explained better in the location description.
The game definitely does not lack scenery, as apart from the different locations it also features a day and night cycle, with a time display on the top right to show what time it is in-game. It is a nice feature as it helps identifying the time brackets at which some fish may be easier to catch, as well as knowing when night time will be falling to see if you need to change your location or bait in order to catch different fish.
The game surely looks to be sound from the fishing department, but it is plagued by the terrible porting issues which have brought the game from an obvious PC release to console. The game still functions with a cursor, so controlling it with the analog stick will be incredibly tedious as well as time consuming. The menus at the top left of the screen have small icons so you will need to be accurate in your adventure of selecting which menu to go for.
The screen resolution is also not supportive of all, as on my small TV I had a cropped out window and could not see the whole picture. Luckily this does not affect the gameplay a lot, but it can hinder menu selections and hide some text from explanations which could be vital.
In the end, Ultimate Fishing Simulator is a game which does its job finely without any snazzy graphics or effects, but which on console suffers a lazy port which could have been much better. The game fulfils what it was created to do, but it could have been much more with a little extra attention to detail.
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