The Fisherman – Fishing Planet is a full paid version of the same game known as just Fishing Planet on the Xbox One storefront. It has an entirely separate list of achievements which makes it an entirely different game for those wondering. The only difference really is the content that is included in the paid version of the game. This version is known as the complete edition and houses all previous content plus 2 new boats, 4 new species of fish, new location and a new fishing technique. So, is this worth your investment or should you just stick with the free version?

Well, that all depends on how into the game you are. There are plenty of advantages to owning the paid version of the game. Its been a while since I loaded up Fishing Planet on my Xbox so jumping into this paid version of the game I expected my character and levels to carry over. That was not the case. You start completely from scratch, but let me tell you that its not such a bad thing. The game boasts a very good tutorial that eases you into the game teaching you how to set up some rods and guides you through some of the basics of the game. I remember a small tutorial in the free game, but it seemed more like it just threw you to the dogs after a short introduction.

So, The FIsherman is a pure fishing simulator. You will have loads of species of fish to catch, many locations to fish and a shop with hundreds of items to equip in your tackle box. This game has it all and more. Now, don’t get me wrong, the Dovetail game is good as well but I think these two games are totally different beasts. This is pure sim folks. Pure. Sim. You’ll need to learn how to rig your rods properly with the right pieces of equipment. From reels to lures to specific rods types. It can be overwhelming and thats why I am glad the tutorial in the beginning of the game walks you through a lot of this stuff. It can get pretty technical.

The game looks fantastic and I have to say the fish models are superb. This is how the fish should look in a game that calls itself a fishing simulator. You won’t get rehashed fish model that are just skinned over. For instance, the various trout all look different and not just their color. You’ll will notice distinct details that set each fish apart from the other. To me, this is extremely important in a game and makes it so much more realistic. Each of the venues will visit has great detail. You’ll have weed beds, lily pads, rock beds, reflections, and even fancy little fishing spots like bridges. You can see the fish in the water as they play with your bait which I thought was very cool. Sometimes the fish can look bigger than they are. But at least you get a general feeling for what is biting at your line.

This game is an online experience so you’ll constantly see others out there fishing on the banks or fishing from their kayaks. There are options in the game that allow you to turn off other player models so you won’t get distracted when someone stands directly on top of you in the game. You can also switch up the control settings to be either left or right handed which will be a huge asset to a lot of folks. The menus are extensive and it unfortunately it will take you a bit to get used to the control system when navigating the UI. Prepare to push the wrong stick, wrong button, wrong direction on the D-Pad multiple times before you get used to the system. Even once you are used to it, you’ll find that you will still press the wrong something from time to time. But, there is so much content in the menus especially when switching up your rods and tackle that there really is no easy way to do it. Just be patient and get used to the controls.

The same goes for the fishing controls. You’ll find yourself accidentally casting, missing your mark at times and even accidentally cutting your line. Again, with practice and experience you’ll catch on and be a professional angler in no time. You’ll be happy to know that there are multiple casting techniques. Now some depend on the rod set-up, but you should find what you are looking for when it comes to casting. You can aim you casts using the left trigger and the thumbstick to position an aiming marker. Once positioned, just cast with the right trigger holding it down until the meter hits the marked spot. I really liked the casting and fishing controls. You’ll fight fish by pulling the rod left and right, up and down as well as using the left trigger to pull up on the rod. All this while reeling in with the right trigger. Adjust your drag accordingly using the D-Pad, left and right. The bigger the fish as well as the species will determine the fight you have on your hands. IN the beginning you’ll notice that you’ll be dragging the fish right out of the lake with ease. But be patient, the big ones will comes. You just need the equipment.

When on the lake there are many determining factors that come into play as to whether the fish are biting or not. You’ll want to check the time of day and weather chart to see when fish are biting. You can fast forward the clock at anytime by pushing the X button. THis wills ave you time from just waiting around for the fish to bite. The size of the fish you are catching depends heavily on your equipment. Bigger hooks, different color lures, varying line weights all factor in. You can check the fish chart in the menu to see what fish like to bite and build a strategy from that. Remember though, this is a fishing game so even with the perfect set up you may not always catch what you want.

There are tournaments for you to join with varying degrees of difficulty and stipulations. Register for the ones you like and earn money and virtual prizes for placing well in them. There are even special events that will show up in your mission log. For instance, there is a Halloween event going on right now at the time of writing this review. I think that is awesome and it gives you even more reason to play. I mean seriously, who doesn’t want a skull bobber. Even in the career portion of the game there is never a shortage of missions to complete. You’ll be tasked with catching certain fish, exploring new locations and making the most out of your trips. I think the stipulations that are added to some of the missions can be really challenging and should be great for seasoned anglers. For those of us who are more amateur, there are plenty of missions for us too. Just go catch fish, level up, unlock new equipment in the store and become a pro.

You’ll earn both types of currencies while playing the game. Now, of course you can buy coins if you so desire but it isn’t necessary. Sure, it’ll be a grind to save up enough Baitcoins to get some of the fancy gear but it’ll be worth it in the long run. You’ll level up, work towards achievements and show up in the leaderboards just from the amount of playing time you will put in trying to earn those Baitcoins.

I could go on and on about all the equipment, locations, variety of fish and tournaments but honestly you just need to go experience it for yourself. The game is packed full of fishing goodness and the $39.99 price tag is well worth the investment. I love comparing with friends on the leaderboards and you’ll find this to be something you check a lot, especially after catching a trophy. Let me just say that the game price is equivalent to the amount of content you will be getting. Again, there is a free version to play but I highly suggest you check this one out instead if you are really a virtual angler and find these games fun.

There aren’t too many issues with the game that I noticed. From time to time you’ll get some weird issues happening when a fish bites and then it tells you either you tried to quickly or too late to hook the fish. A few times the buttons were unresponsive in these instances. I would sit there trying to hook a fish and it just would not hook even though it was pulling my line all around. The drag meter is a little inconsistent at times too I think. But for the most part this game is a solid experience and none of the things I mentioned should deter you from picking this up.

This game is superb when it comes to fishing. There is so much content for you to enjoy from licensed equipment to fantastic fishing venues to pull in those trophies. If you aren’t quite sure if you want to make the purchase yet then go check out the free version of the game. Its got separate achievements and you’ll get a good feel for the game. But I can tell you that this is definitely worth a purchase if you enjoy virtual fishing games. You’ll find that you will lose hours and hours to this game just relaxing and reeling in fish.

Score: 95 out of 100

*** A copy of this game was provided by the publisher for review and streaming purposes.

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