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Pro Cast Sports Fishing
game: Pro Cast Sports Fishing
four star
posted by: GF! Back Catalogue 10/2004 => 1995
publisher: Capcom
date posted: 12:00 AM Mon Nov 10th, 2003
last revision: 12:00 AM Mon Nov 10th, 2003

By Eric Qualls

For those of us that aren't city folk?, our experience with fishing isn't limited to the one and only trip our family took to Big Snake Lake on that one memorable weekend five years ago. Around my little slice of heaven in Idaho, a fishing trip is more of a weekly ritual rather than something big that you have to plan for. As such, I like to think that I know a little something about the sport of fishing. I have played my fair share of fishing videogames trying to find one that captures the same feel and fun of fishing in real life, but none have really hooked me. Pro Cast Sports Fishing from Capcom is the latest fishing game to come out, and the very first one to land on Xbox, but it is yet another game that fails to realize that fishing is more than just tossing a lure into the water. Pro Cast is a title that both serious fisherman and city folk? would be best advised to throw back.

Pro Cast has all of the modes that you would expect. An arcade mode where you just compete in tournament after tournament with strict time limits and try to advance to the next round by catching as many fish as possible. A simulation mode where you are competing to earn points so you can buy new poles, tackle, and boats. And finally, there is a free fish mode where you can just waste away the hours with your line in the water and not have to worry about competition.

What drags Pro Cast down into the dregs is its extremely shallow gameplay. The basic elements of choosing the right lure based on time of day and weather conditions seem to be nonexistent. Most of the time it doesn't matter what lure you are using because the fish will seemingly go after anything. You have a selection of plugs, plastic worm, crank baits, and spinnerbaits, but you only have one color of each lure to use. Like I said, it doesn't really matter, but the fisherman in the back of my mind is screaming because I can't use the right color to suit the water conditions. I would have liked more lure and color options, but it just doesn't matter in this game.

Any fisherman knows that fish usually hang around structures such as docks or trees or rock outcroppings. This is something that Pro Cast got right. You can cast out to areas where you think there will be fish and more often than not there will indeed be fish there. There is just one problem. Once you cast out and jiggle your bait a little bit and a fish actually starts coming after it, the fish rarely bites and will just follow your lure all the way back in to your boat. You spend a majority of your time watching fish NOT bite your hook. This is somewhat realistic, I suppose, but you don't have to spend $40 on a videogame to sit around all day and not catch fish. When I first started playing the game it was a full hour before I caught something. That isn't fun. At all.
That isn't to say that Pro Cast doesn't have its moments because it does. The game is simple and easy to pick up and play so it is easy to jump in and fish for a little while. Once you get used to the way the game plays it is easier to catch fish, but you will still be looking at several minutes at a time of reeling in your line and coming up empty. The experience isn't great, but it is far from horrible.

The graphics in Pro Cast are pretty disappointing. The water looks decent, but the environments are bland and lack the realistic details that the Xbox can and should be producing. The fish look good, and it is easy to recognize the different species, but the animation is pretty stiff. Likewise, the character designs for the fishermen and fisherwomen are detailed enough, but they have absolutely horrible animation. The only things they can do is look left or right and make a cast and even these simple actions look stiff and unrealistic. Its not like making a fishing game is all that hard, so why not spend a little extra time making the game look as good as possible?

The sound is just as pitiful. You hear the splash of your lure hitting the water and the clicking of your real and that is pretty much it. The music that plays in the background is sad sappy music that simply doesn't fit. Luckily, you have the option of playing your custom soundtracks.

Overall, Pro Cast Sports Fishing is a sad excuse for a fishing game. You spend far too much time reeling in an empty hook than is acceptable for a videogame. The graphics and sound are also rather disappointing. I'm not a fan of the super simple gameplay and severe lack of options when selecting lures. It almost seems as if Pro Cast was intended to fill the hole in the Xbox fishing genre and nothing more. Serious sportsman and city folk? alike would be better off avoiding Pro Cast, but give it a rent if you must.