Some sports just don’t translate very well to video game form, and unfortunately, fishing is just not a great sport to base a game on, much like Tiddly Winks, darts, or handball. Ultimate Fishing Simulator does nothing to change my mind on that – in fact, it cements that idea very firmly. This isn’t a great game, not from any… angle.
First of all, it looks awful, even on PS5. It’s not a pretty game at all and it looks like it’d be at home on a PS2 rather than a PS4 or PS5. The geometry of the game’s environments is very basic with minimal details. I know I’m not supposed to be staring at trees, but I’d have liked it if they at least looked somewhat passable. In fact, the same can be said for much of the game’s graphics, aside from your character’s hands, rods, and of course, the fish that you catch.
It’s all very basic, then, and as visuals are often the first thing a player notices in a game, the first impression is a poor one. In fact, that begins before you even throw a line into the weird-looking water – the splash screen and logo are sub-HD resolution, too, and on noticing that before I even got into the main game, my expectations sunk even lower.
But whatever. I’ve played great games with bad graphics before. We all have (hello, PS1) and graphics don’t make a game. Gameplay is what matters most and I suppose Ultimate Fishing Simulator delivers, depending on who you are. If you’re me and you don’t find fishing to be all that thrilling – I’m not a vegan or anything like that, I just had loads of cool toys as a kid, and I fed enough I didn’t have to go scrounging around in nature – then you’ll find it to be an utter bore.
The beauty (or so I’ve heard) of fishing is in the relaxation. You sit by a river or a lake, you cast your rod, then sit back with some beers and hope that some poor animal gets a nice big hook to the mouth. You don’t really get that in this game, or any other fishing game for that matter. There’s just no ambient experience to enjoy. You hold your controller, you pick a spot, or boat out to a nice spot, and then you cast your line and wait for the controller to give a little rumble, indicating that Daddy Fish won’t be making it home for supper tonight. That’s the bulk of it and for me that’s not enough. I know – there’s nothing else you can really do to make a realistic fishing game exciting to a guy who grew up on Die Hard, Smarties, and PlayStation, and that’s fine. I’ll accept that.
For those of you without nice toys and decent meals by mum, you’ll probably find something to like. I’m not an expert on fishing and I can only name three fish: shark, dolphin, and Nemo. But it feels like it’s got the depth that you’d expect from something labelled “simulator”.
You can level up by collecting experience points through your fishing exploits. You can make cash by selling your bounties, and you can upgrade your equipment with all sorts of rods, weights, baits, lures, and whatever else fisherpeople like to spend money on. In fact, you’ll need to do all of the above to make progress as new areas are locked behind levels and money; you have to buy a license to fish in a new area, and that’s probably another reason I don’t fish – I would lose that license within a day.
Is Ultimate Fishing Simulator as ultimate as it claims to be? No, not by a long way. I reckon the core mechanics are what one would expect from a fishing game, but the rest is shovelware-tier levels of poor – except for the music. The music is surprisingly good, but this isn’t a music game, and I doubt I’d get far trying to fish with my local fishermen while blaring a 5 Minute Crafts background tune. Might try it for the laughs, though…
Ultimate Fishing Simulator PS5, PS4 Review
Overall - Bad - 4/10
There’s nothing really “ultimate” about Ultimate Fishing Simulator, and honestly, you’d probably have more fun fishing in Red Dead Redemption 2.
- The music is quite catchy
- Fishing fans might find something here, but even then that’s a stretch
- Very poor graphics (don’t be fooled by PR screenshots)
- Gameplay is boring (but so is fishing…)
Review Disclaimer: This review was carried out using a copy of the game provided by the publisher. For more information, please read our Review Policy.
Reviewed using PS5, PS4 Pro.