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Pro Cast Sports Fishing Xbox

Published by CAPCOM
Developed by CAPCOM
Released - Out Now
Price : £29.99

With Pro Cast Sports Fishing the Xbox finally gets it's first fishing title. Fishing is one of those sports where it's always difficult to please everyone because if you go for the arcade approach you upset the enthusiast and if you go for simulation you upset the fast and easy gamer. Capcom have leaned Pro Cast Sports Fishing more towards the simulation. Let's take a look.

Pro Cast Sports Fishing offers an arcade mode, simulation mode and a free fishing mode. The arcade mode is a series of quick fire tournaments in which you have to finish in the top ten in order to be able to progress through to the next round. The first tournament is fairly easy but it soon gets quite difficult. Free fishing is, as it implies, a mode to relax in and practice your technique. The core of the game is simulation mode. In simulation mode you can take part in tournaments, buy new fishing gear and boats, go fishing to practice and acquire expert tips.

When you catch a fish you are given points, how much depends on the size of the fish of course, and with these points you'll be able to buy extra lures, rods, reels, line and even boats. The better equipment will of course, improve your fishing skill and enable you to have more of a chance of winning the more competitive tournaments. What about catching the fish though? Well basically you select one of four casting methods (overhead, underhand, sidearm and backhand) using the directional pad and then press A to cast. It would have been nice to have actually have had more of an influence over the cast but it doesn't matter too much. Once you're in the water then you'll use the left analogue stick to move the rod and the right trigger to retrieve. Once a fish takes the bait you'll have to pull the left trigger in order to hook the fish. Of course it's not guaranteed that you're going to land your fish and you'll have to put up a fight using the tension gauge to keep an eye on your progress as you reel in the fish in.

Most fishing games are based around Bass fishing and Pro Cast is no different. Besides the various types of Bass you'll only be able to catch a Bluegill which is considered a bit of a booby prize. Because of this narrow focus of just fishing for Bass it lacks the depth of titles such as Reel Fishing III on the PS2, because after all if you're only fishing for one type of fish then you don't need the many different types of lure, floats, rods and bait that you would if you could catch 20 or 30 different types of fish.

The gameplay in Pro Cast is one of extreme contrasts. Unlike Reel Fishing III that we reviewed on the PlayStation 2 a few days ago you're not guaranteed a bite with every cast you make. Those expecting instant gratification from their swimming prey will be disappointed but this shouldn't be regarded as a problem with the game. Fishing after all is not about pulling fish out of the water time after time as someone once said if it was about catching fish all of the time it would be called catching and not fishing. There are times when you're going to need patience and be content with going lengthy periods without a bite. However when you do have a bite, and you manage to land the bass, it feels great and all the previous tedium disappears as you become engrossed once more and feel the need to cast your line once more. Fishermen (male and female) will appreciate this but your average gamer might not.

The graphics in Pro Cast are certainly adequate although you can't help but feel that more could have been achieved on the Xbox. The standard of graphics that you have in Pro Cast could quite have easily been achieved on the Dreamcast or PlayStation 2. I did like actually being able to see the fisherman though and it was especially pleasing to be able to see him/her pull the fish into the boat. The Bass themselves look rather impressive and the swim fairly realistically. It's a bit disappointing that you can't customize the look of your fisherman though and that you have to make do with one of the three characters to use as your avatar.

Pro Cast is rather more deaf gamer friendly than Reel Fishing III. Capcom decided to visually display the tension on your line using a tension gauge that appears once you hook a fish. This makes live much easier and there is no reliance on sound in order to be able to catch a fish. Apart from the odd word on the menu screens (which isn't important) there is hardly any speech in the game and all information is given in text. When you are out on the water you can converse with other fishermen and these conversations are all in text. The text is quite large and even on a small TV it's very easy to read. Whilst the manual is only 20 pages long, I feel it does a good job of familiarising you with the controls of the game. The basic fishing instructions appear on pages 10-11 and these instructions are clear and concise. In fact you could very easily just read these two pages and be up and running with the game in no time at all.

Pro Cast Sports Fishing is definitely a worthwhile first fishing game for the Xbox. The game on the whole is good but it needs more depth to really make it something special. My only real issue with the game was with the 'Expert tips' that you pay for with your precious points and for the most part they were useless. Basically what's here is a solid basis for a sequel that could really be something special. I really liked the way you aren't plucking fish out of the water with ever cast as it makes landing a Bass very satisfying. The inclusion of tournaments and the ability to purchase extra equipment is also good but imagine the extra depth if they had included different types of fish and expanded the tournament mode. It would have really been special if sea fishing had been included and you could have landed swordfish and small sharks etc. Still if you're into your Bass fishing you'll enjoy what Pro Cast has to offer.

Overall Game Rating: 7.8/10
Enjoyable and a good first fishing title for the Xbox. I would love to see a sequel with much more depth and variation though and then we would have a cracker of a fishing title.

Deaf Gamers comment:
No problems at all for deaf gamers. Capcom have included a tension gauge so there's no need to listen out for the line straining under the weight of the bass.