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Rapala Tournament Fishing has the distinction of being the first fishing game to come out for the Nintendo Wii. It’s also a truly awful mess of a game, and the only thing it has going for it is decent graphics. Everything else about it, especially the controls, just looks like it was tossed together without much player testing. It seems like more of an interactive Rapala fishing lure commercial than a video game.
The game is played by first piloting a boat around a lake and finding a fishing spot. Another guy in the boat will comment on whether or not the spot will be any good, and I found his judgment questionable. Once you find a good place to fish, you ‘cast’ your line and slowly reel in. If you’re lucky, you might even get a bite. Sounds good so far, right?
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Gameplay and Controls
The problem with this game is all in the controls. For one, just casting your line is a mess. You’d think that simply flicking the Wii Remote like you would a rod and reel would cast the line, but it doesn’t work half the time. I would do one motion and nothing would happen, then I’d do the same thing again and the line would cast. Reeling in the line is kind of neat because you can use the Nunchuck like the reel handle and actually spin it around to reel in. I’ll give the developers credit for that feature.
Controlling the line is still a mess, though. If you try to pop the cork, which is an extremely basic move when fishing in freshwater with a cork on the line, it just doesn’t work. You can move the controller and it takes a full second before there is any response. When you actually get a fish on the line, the process of reeling them in is very simple. However, it then makes you do this incredibly stupid mini-game where you must press random buttons at just the right time in order to catch the fish in the net. Trust me when I say it takes all the fun out of the game. The reeling in part should be more difficult than just scooping the fish up in the net.
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The graphics are really the only thing this game has going for it, because it does look nice when you are out riding the boat around. Depending on where you throw your lure out, you can also see underwater if any fish are around and this is also very cool. It’s too bad the control system is such a mess because this game really does look good at first glance.
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A friend let me borrow Rapala Tournament Fishing and I gladly gave it back to him a week later. When he asked what I thought of the game and I told him the truth, he laughed and agreed. There are other fishing games out there for the Nintendo Wii that are supposed to be much better than this one, but I will definitely rent or borrow before I buy one of them.