A Challenge for the Avid Fisherman

Alright, so you take a look at the title - Pro Fishing Challenge - and it really doesn't scream out "Extreme sports!" to you, does it?  Definitely a calmer-paced game than today's slash-and-burn fare, Pro Fishing Challenge sets out to do exactly what its title proclaims - simulate the pro fishing experience, down to the smallest detail.  You may ask, as I did, "Why not just go out and actually fish?"

Why not, indeed.  The truth is that today's gaming world is obsessed with simulation.  With the advance of technology, almost anything can be simulated.  Yes, even fishing.  Perhaps you want the joy of fishing without having to brave the cold, wet atmosphere, or without having to buy the expensive tackle.  Perhaps you never had the time to follow your dream of becoming a pro fisherman.  Whatever the reason, if you're looking for a true-to-life re-creation of the freshwater fishing experience, this game is for you.

Gamers have the basic options of either competing in a fishing tournament or going out onto the water to fish at their own leisure.  If you opt for the more challenging tournament, you are given specific restrictions, such as a time frame and fish length, weight, and type.  There are several sessions of this competition, which you must do well in to unlock harder levels.  Other unlockable items include new clothing for your fisherman or new gear for his tackle box.  You can also play to earn money to buy other items, such as lures, lines, rods, reels, and boats, which can be found at the shop.

Once you're out in the water on your boat, you're pretty much given free reign over your experience.  You can travel anywhere you like in the several bodies of water that the game offers, and you can stop your boat wherever you like.  Once you're settled down, you can start fishing.  Players can choose to do three different casts: the overhead cast, which is the default one, the sidehand cast, and the pitching cast.  It's up to you to decide which one would be useful in what situation.  Don't be fooled, this game is not just a monotonous cast-and-reel-in string of actions that you would find in those classic arcade fishing games.  The gamer has to decide what cast to use when, how much power to put into the cast (watch your power meter; that thing goes fast!), how fast to drag the lure around, and how much to tug the line.  Once you've got a bite, you then have to make sure your fish is securely hooked, as well as carefully gauging what direction your fish fighting away from (shown by a color-coded tension meter).

Despite its thorough tutorial though, Pro Fishing Challenge seems more geared towards the already avid fishers.  The less experienced (like me) can find themselves a little lost in all the fishing details and large expanses of water.  Additionally, if you already find fishing boring, do not expect this game to change your mind.  There can be just as much waiting and monotony found here as there is on the real water.  Even the Xbox Live feature, which allows you to play with other gamers, doesn't really turn the game into an exciting sports match.

With its slow pacing, Pro Fishing Challenge is not for everyone, especially the average, inexperienced player.  However, with its fun attention to detail, the game is sure to be an instant favorite with people who are already passionate about freshwater fishing.  So hey, why not get out there and fish?

For more information, visit http://www.atlus.com/pfc/ 

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