Review: SEGA Bass Fishing (XBLA)

Review: SEGA Bass Fishing (XBLA)

I’ve never been a big fan of fishing games. Part of that, I’m sure, is that I’ve never been a big fan of fishing in general. I find it to be extremely boring. Back in my Dreamcast days, SEGA Bass Fishing was a game I never gave any attention to, and it was definitely not one of the first that would come to mind if asked which classic Dreamcast games should be re-released on XBLA with HD updates.

There’s a small problem with the whole thing about “HD updates” to re-released games on XBLA/PSN…most of the time, they’re not actually updated visually enough to justify the HD nomenclature. SEGA Bass Fishing is one of those, without a doubt. The only way the graphics of SEGA Bass Fishing on XBLA are updated significantly from the original Dremcast graphics is if the graphics on the Dreamcast was made from the stuff of nightmares. I must assume that is not the case, which leads me simply to believe that the game’s graphics were only touched up, at the very most.

Graphics aside, the game is very easy to pick up and play. Figuring out how the controls work is fairly simple, with the left joystick first controlling where you will cast, then the tilt of the fishing rod, the right joystick being rotated to reel in your line, the Y button controlling your choice of lures, and the A button casting your lure into the briny depths. A practice mode is provided to help you figure out what you’re doing if you’d like to, you know, be prepared or some silly nonsense. Arcade mode and Original mode round out the playing mode selections.

Arcade mode consists of three timed, goal oriented levels, followed by one single objective level. In the first three levels, you are given one to two minutes to catch up to a certain number of pounds worth of bass. If you don’t do it in time, you get unlimited continues that pick up right where you were before the time ran out. This takes away some of the urgency of the time limit, as you can simply keep continuing on without any adverse effects. The final level simply asks you to catch one Super Bass, and scores you based on the weight of the single bass you catch.

Original mode puts you into a tournament, which consists of three four-minute rounds where you fish against your competitors to pull in the most number of pounds total over the course of the three rounds. The pounds are cumulative over the three rounds, so a weak round can be made up for with a very strong round of fishing. Different locations and different types of bass require you to somewhat strategically use different types of lures, but that strategic mechanic is somewhat limited. It’s not terribly hard to hook a fish.

Actually catching a fish is simply a matter of playing against a Line Break meter on the right, once the fish is hooked. You have to be careful not to reel in too hard, or the line will break. It’s a matter of gradually reeling your line in and guiding the fish using the rod. It seems more luck based at times, especially with larger fish.

Do I recommend SEGA Bass Fishing? Well, if you enjoyed the Dreamcast original, then sure, you’ll undoubtedly enjoy this one just as much. Does it stack up to other fishing games? I have no basis of comparison, due to my aforementioned general distaste and avoidance of fishing games, but it was fun in limited doses, and I can see it making my quick-play list, albeit not in the top spot. For 800MSP, I guess it just depends on how much you like…fishing.


Easy to pick up and play
Multiple game modes
Not really skill based
Visually unsatisfying
70 out of 100
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