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Reel Fishing III PlayStation 2

Published by Natsume
Developed by Marvelous Interactive
Distributed by Ubi Soft Entertainment
Released - Out Now
Price : £19.99

If you think about it fishing is a difficult sport to completely capture in a game. The developers either go for total realism and you sit on the sofa for hours on end without even the slightest nibble or they go for the arcade mode and you're pulling the little rascals out of the water for fun. Either way will please one section of gamers and at the same time put off another section of gamers. Reel Fishing III offers somewhat of a compromise. It offers the depth that a fishing enthusiast would demand but on the other hand doesn't leave you hanging around waiting for your next bite.

The game begins with your childhood pal, who you haven't seen for many years, sending you a letter that asks if you would look after his fishing lodge until he returns. Of course the offer is too good to refuse and the game begins with you arriving at the fishing lodge. On arrival you are greeted by Furball, the dog. In case you are wandering you can change his name to something less silly, if you want to. Whilst you're at the lodge you can check out the different rooms, collect the mail from the dog who brings it to you and when you are ready you can head out for a spot of fishing.

The fishing is what it's all about and Reel Fishing III does a nice job of recreating the nature of fishing. Initially you'll only have access to one fishing spot but in total there are around 20 different fishing locations in the game. You even have to take into account the weather when deciding what equipment to use. You'll be able to go bait, lure and even fly fishing. There are over 30 types of fish including a range of different Bass, Salmon and Trout to name just a few. There are over 150 different types of fishing tackle with an impressive range of rods, lures, floats and bait on offer. If you decide to keep the fish you catch you can place them in the Livewell, which is a portable tank, and you can put them into your aquarium when you return back to the lodge at the end of the day. The only real grumble is the frequency with which you can catch fish. Virtually every cast into the water gives you a very good chance of catching a fish, assuming you set the hook right of course.

Graphically Reel Fishing is quite nice however, there are some areas that could be improved upon. You don't really walk around as such. The camera will automatically swing from one area of the lodge to the other. You never get to see your in game character. Whilst fishing, it's a hands free rod and when a fish comes close enough to be landed the screen goes white and you are given the option to keep or release the fish. Once you've got the chance of hooking a fish the camera switches to an underwater view and here it's looks excellent. The fish look and move very convincingly and it's great to see such a variety of sizes. You can almost guess the weight of the fish before you are given it. Whilst the game never really pushes the capabilities of the PlayStation 2, it does look good overall.

For the most part Reel Fishing III is OK for deaf gamers. There is no speech in the game so all information and dialogue is delivered in text only. The game manual doesn't really tell you anything but this is remedied by the excellent in-game information that can be accessed by looking at your letter tray (which stores all the helpful tips you've received in the post) and fishing notebook. You can access these sources when you're back in the lodge so you can always jog your memory if you forget how to do something. The only problem for deaf gamers with Reel Fishing III is that there is no gauge to show the line tension once you have a fish on the line. As the fish pulls away from you, or tries to swim through the undergrowth, the line will of course tighten. When this occurs a pinging sound informs you that you have to be careful and to release the tension on the line. There is no visual indication to highlight this though. However if you follow the in-game advice of lowering your rod if the fish tries to fight with you, you shouldn't run into any major problems as this relaxes the line and should prevent the fish from escaping.

We started off this review by talking about the problems of creating a game based on fishing. Reel Fishing III might not be realistic in that you can catch a fish, or at least have the possibility of catching a fish, almost every time you cast your line into the water but it does have a lot going for it. The amount of fishing equipment such as flies, lures, bait etc. on offer is impressive and at the lowly price of just £19.99 it represents great value for any fishing fans out there.

Overall Game Rating: 8.2/10
A solid and comprehensive fishing title that should please most fishing fans out there with it's sheer depth.

Deaf Gamers comment:
A gauge to depict the line tension would have been great but if you lower the rod when the hooked fish tries to struggle then you won't go wrong.