The announcement of a fishing mini-game in Red Dead Redemption 2 caused much jubilation. This excitement came as no surprise – fishing is the ultimate pastime for those seeking a means to relax and unwind. A gentle breeze, the calming sound of birdsong, the tranquil stillness of the water, the grating ear-piercing alarm from a fishing rod’s motion detector, a countdown buzzer to inform that there are only five minutes left to beat the competition…wait, this isn’t relaxing at all.
Fishing Sim World makes the world of fishing more exciting – and less relaxing – than it actually is by presenting players with four quick burst 20-minute tournaments. They each have different scoring methods, amongst other minor variations. Bass fishing involves using a boat to find the best fishing spots, with the winner determined by the total length of the five biggest bass caught. Predator fishing is a tad more complex, using floats and lures. Here, the total length of all fish caught is used for scoring. Carp fishing goes by total weight, while the Match Series is essentially the game’s ‘quick fire mode’ set in narrow canals and such – the gold mdeal goes to whoever catches the most fish.
You’re up against AI opponents in all four tournaments. Their presence is reduced to nothing more than a ticker on the side of the screen, informing of current placings on the scoreboard. This leads us onto our first gripe: the AI will, quite simply, catch a fish every 2-3 minutes. This, of course, means that you must do the same or risk falling behind. It also means that the outcome of every tournament is rather predictable.
With only 20 minutes to spare having a few fish escape your grasp or accidentally catching the wrong breed can cost dearly, and there’s little time for experimenting with new bait and such. The against the clock nature does, at least, make things reasonably thrilling, constantly trying to catch one last fish before the timer runs out.
The developers clearly understand that casually waiting for fish to bite isn’t the most dramatic of pursuits as most modes involve using four rods at once: three in a stationary rig, and one in your hand (so to speak). The rods in the rig must be cast out in the usual way – there’s a choice of casting methods and both realistic and basic settings – and the aforementioned motion detector will sound if a fish bites. The noise of one alarm soon grates, let alone the sound of all three chiming at once. It’s akin to a car alarm going off in your living room. A carp alarm.