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Bassmaster Fishing 2022 Review

Bassmaster Fishing 2022 Review

I’ve always had an affinity for both raising fish and catching them in real life, so naturally any game that has a fishing mini-game or is entirely focused on the art of fishing has my attention. British developer Dovetail Games had been working on train simulation games for a number of years prior to tackling the sims that require a tackle box – fishing simulators. I was certainly interested when getting offered to do a Bassmaster Fishing 2022 review for its latest entry.

Their latest is the officially licensed Bassmaster Fishing 2022, which is based on the actual real-life Bassmaster professional fishing tournament series. Just like the real-life counterpart, the new game lets you enter the annual Bassmaster tournament, where anglers compete to become Angler of the Year. Just how does this game stack up to previous fishing outings, is it more arcade-y or more sim-like? Find out in our Bassmaster Fishing 2022 review!

Bassmaster Fishing 2022
Developer: Dovetail Games
Publisher: Dovetail Games
Platforms: Windows PC, Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S (reviewed), PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5
Release Date: October 28, 2021
Players: 1
Price: $39.99

When starting my Bassmaster Fishing 2022 review, I immediately noticed the attention to detail with the environments that you frequent to go fishing. In total there are eight venues based on real-world locations where anglers actually go fishing competitively. The locales range from the big wide-open Lake Ray Roberts to very thick backwaters in the Sabine River, all the way to waters surrounding the Memorial Bridge on St. Johns river.

Environment details look fantastic, water effects look quite accurate and foliage overall is very realistic, all of it has been painstakingly recreated even with the help of freshwater biologists. Dovetail also captured scans of water depth to the real-world locations, alongside data on local species like the average fish weight and population in the different venues. Essentially every corner of each map has different water depths, fish, and foliage.

Overall visuals when doing my Bassmaster Fishing 2022 review were excellent but there were oddball issues I noticed, like textures loading improperly for the player character around his/her neck, as well as your line and lure sometimes being reeled in literally through the boat and the player character. Occasionally I also saw fish swimming vertically, only to randomly snap back to their natural lateral swimming movements.

To be clear, when the game is running it looks great and when there are now minor visual glitches like this – it’s a very relaxing and enthralling experience. I did my Bassmaster Fishing 2022 review on the Xbox Series X, so while it’s not the latest PC hardware it certainly has the upgraded console hardware. It was a bit disappointing to get thrown into a lush and realistic fishing environment only to get shaken out of it with the uncommon but noticeable visual glitches.

When doing my Bassmaster Fishing 2022 review, the gameplay is where the game really shines as this borders between the fishing experiences you’ve become used to and more of an actual fishing simulator. This isn’t like old fishing games or mini-games where you just hit a button and then keep reeling the catch in – you have to actually physically move your character to battle the fish and keep that thing on the hook.

At first this can be a bit jarring if you’re not used to active fishing or the concept of fishing in and of itself – you have to actually battle the fish and essentially keep it hooked until it gets tired and you can land the catch. The actual fishing mechanic will have you learning movements to follow the fish’s movements, driven by a very promising AI system to mimic real-life fish behavior. This is where the game really does keep you on your toes and had me keep coming back.

Between the attention to detail in the environments and the fishing mechanics, I was exploring pretty much every major region in the various locales. You’re not guaranteed to find a massive lunker in any one particular spot in the lake or river – you have to keep searching for it and keep trying, just like real life. When casting and switching to the underwater camera (which is quite good by the way), you’re not even guaranteed to get the attention of that big old bass.

There are tons of licensed rods, reels, and lures for you to choose from in the game, and pending what you’re going after and where you’re pursuing it you’ll have to pick different rods, lures, and weights. You’ll also have to consider how you’re trying to land your catches, as mimicking prey will get the attention of fish more than just.. flailing and reeling it back as fast as possible. You also have to consider how much strength you put into each cast, and how deep you let your lure go.

You really have to spend some time exploring the various waterways and see how fish behave both in day and at night, also see how they move within the areas and what attracts them quicker. I sometimes got a bit frustrated that I wasn’t getting any hits, only to remember that this is also similar to real life fishing. Once you find a good spot, though, you can get so many catches it gets a bit silly and I sometimes wondered if this was the AI getting clunky or actual fish grouping behavior.

The game’s main multiplayer mode – Bassmaster Royale – is as the name implies, a battle royale like mode where you compete against other players for up to 40 minutes for a very competitive and challenging experience. If you keep catching fish, and while that is the point, generally you’ll do ok but if you’re not into high-stakes modes like this it can get a bit overwhelming. Online there’s never a shortage of other players as the mode is fully cross-platform.

In terms of sound and music – there isn’t really any music outside the main menu and some other minor spots, however the ambience you get when out on the water can be something else. Both water sounds, fish movements, and fishing rod noises are all faithfully recreated in game and further bring in the immersion for the experience. There’s enough environmental noise to make you feel outdoors, but not too much to where it becomes repetitive or odd.

Outside of the main Bassmaster Royale and the single-player tours you can do in the eight environments that’s all there really is to do, as the Bassmaster Classic competition won’t be coming until after the game’s initial launch and updates. While the core gameplay and visuals can look great, I can’t help but feel like the game feels like a bit of a budget title in this sense. It’s a great attempt but I definitely wanted a bit more.

All in all, Bassmaster Fishing 2022 is a solid attempt at an officially licensed fishing game from a developer with a pedigree of making nothing but simulator games. When doing my Bassmaster Fishing 2022 review, I was pleasantly surprised by how solid the mechanics are and how gorgeous the visuals can be, despite some minor visual glitches here and there. Overall Bassmaster Fishing 2022 is a solid effort but clearly a budget release with some minor gripes.

Bassmaster Fishing 2022 was reviewed on Xbox Series X using a review code provided by Dovetail Games. You can find additional information about Niche Gamer’s review/ethics policy here.

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The Verdict: 8

The Good

  • Realistic, fantastic visuals of environments and foliage
  • Engaging and realistic fishing mechanics
  • Varied environments have ever-changing fishing conditions
  • Fish AI is usually excellent, keeps each catch interesting

The Bad

  • Occasional but noticeable visual glitches
  • Can sometimes feel like a budget title

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Owner and Publisher at Niche Gamer and Nicchiban. Outlaw fighting for a better game industry. Pronouns: Patriarch, Guido, Olive, Catholic