COLUMN: Aaron’s Backstage Pass: Rapala Pro Bass Fishing Wii U Review

Updated: 12/20/2012 11:03 AM KSTP.com By: Aaron Chalich

I am not a very good fisherman. In fact, I have gone fishing only a few times in my life and I don’t think I even caught a fish. However, that did not stop me from playing Activision’s “Rapala Pro Bass Fishing” for the Nintendo Wii U.

Last week Activision sent me a review copy to try and I really enjoyed it a lot. I played it quite a bit and I actually was able to catch a ton of fish and even won a few tournaments.

There are a few different ways you can play “Rapala Pro Bass Fishing.” You can play a one player game, where you can compete in different tournaments. Or you can play two players and can “free fish” where you can choose a lake and fish for as long as you want. 

You can compete against the other player to see who can bring in the bigger fish. When you do this, the screen is split and you can see how each other is doing. I thought that this was a lot of fun.

When you first start the game, you create a profile and then you can create the outfit your character wears. You can choose what type of shirt he is wearing or what type of sunglasses.

You can also change your boat. The more you play and win tournaments, you can unlock different outfits and boats to use. I really liked this a lot because it was fun to change your outfit from time to time.  I also really liked the different boats and some of them looked really great. 

You can also unlock different lures, boats, lines by completing different tasks in the game. For example, if you catch a certain amount of fish on a lake, you can unlock a better rod. I really liked this a lot, because it made me want to play the game more and it challenged me to do different things in the game.

Before and during your fishing experience you can choose what type of rod and lure you use by going into your tackle box. This can also be accessed anytime during your game. You can just look at your gamepad and select the different equipment right there.

That was pretty handy, because when you are in a fishing tournament there is a time limit and you want to try and catch as many fish as you can. By having the menu right there saves a lot of time.
When you start a one player game you can choose what level you want to play. You can choose from Rookie or Pro. You can compete in over twenty tournaments against some of the best anglers in the sport.

The next step is to choose which tournament you want to compete in. There are three tiers with a few different tournaments that you can choose from. Each tournament has a certain species of fish that you need to catch in order to win the tournament. Your goal is to catch as many fish of that species as you can in a certain amount of time. 

After the time is up, you have ten minutes to get back to the dock to weigh in. You win the tournament by having the most weight in fish. If you win the tournament, you also get a certain amount of points. 

You want to win as many tournaments as you can because all of the points count towards your overall ranking among the pros. As you are playing a tournament you can see how the other fishermen are doing and how well you are doing.

This was nice because it gave you an idea of how you were doing and if you had a chance to win the tournament. Every time someone caught a fish, it gave you an update of who was in the lead.
The controls were fairly easy to learn. There are on screen commands that come up and show you what buttons you need to push to cast, hook a fish, reel your line in, or fight a fish. 

This was very helpful and I liked it a lot. It did take me a while to learn how to cast, because you need to tilt the gamepad forward just right while you are holding the “ZR” button.  Then at the right time, you have to let go of the “ZR” button.

This took me a while to get down, but I eventually go it. The other thing that took some time for me to learn was how to hook the fish when they bit the hook. You have to jerk the gamepad just right and after a few tries I got it. When the fish is on the hook, there is a little icon of a hook and it will show you if the fish is on good or poorly. 

Then you have to fight the fish the whole time you are reeling it in by tilting the gamepad to the left or right. Your goal is to keep the fish in the center of the screen. 

If you play a two player game, then the other player uses the Wii Remote controller. This was very easy to use. When I played two players, I played with my five-year-old daughter and she learned how to catch fish right away. In no time she was catching more fish than I was.

The graphics are amazing. The anglers look so lifelike and you would swear you were in the boat with them. The lakes and scenery are very detailed and look amazing. There are seven different North American Lakes you can choose to fish on.

One of the lakes featured in the game is Lake Minnetonka and it looks exactly like it does in real life. The fish and underwater shots are very detailed as well. The weeds in the water move and you can see the gills of the fish move as they come close to your lure.

The audio was really well done.  You can hear birds and other natural sounds that you would hear when you are on a lake. There is also audio commentary by Barry Brueland who is the voice of “In-Fisherman TV” and other announcers. This was fun to listen to while I was playing in the tournaments. 

The announcers would give you tips and if you used the wrong lure for the fish you were trying to catch, they would let you know. I thought this feature really added a lot to the game, because it made it more entertaining.

There is a “Fish-O-Pedia” that is really fun to look at. This is a menu that you can access that explains everything in the game to you.

For example, you can learn when you should use specific lures or rods. You can learn about the different lakes you can fish on in the game. You can learn about all of the different species of fish that are featured in the game. You can also see who the top anglers are. This was a fun feature and I really liked it a lot.

I really liked Activision’s “Rapala Pro Bass Fishing” a lot. I thought it was a very fun game to play on the Wii U.  The controls were pretty easy to learn and pretty much anybody can play it. The graphics were amazing and the commentary was a blast to listen to. I think a lot of people will find that “Rapala Pro Bass Fishing” is a really fun game to play and you don’t have to know a lot about fishing to play it.  Believe me, if I can catch fish and win tournaments, anybody can.

Aaron Chalich is a columnist for KSTP.com blogging about the latest entertainment news.