Sega Bass Fishing 2, the final fishing game released for the Dreamcast, and the last to make use of Sega's unique fishing controller, was actually a great game that added a number of improvements to the already great experience offered by the first game. Now, just over a year later, Sega has ported the game to the PlayStation 2 and added a new mode for good measure. Virtually nothing has been lost in the translation (except the ability to use that fishing controller), and aside from the one new mode, the game is basically the same as it was for the Dreamcast. So while the gameplay is still great, the graphics definitely wear their origin on their sleeve and don't really hold their own against other games on the system.
Since there is currently no fishing controller available for the PlayStation 2, Sega has made a number of changes to the control scheme to compensate. The results are surprisingly good, though not as a good as having a dedicated fishing controller. Here, controlling your boat is handled by the left analog stick, while actions like speeding up and slowing down, selecting lures, and so forth are mapped to the face buttons of the controller. Casting and reeling, on the other hand, have been moved to the shoulder buttons, complete with pressure sensitivity. Should you find the last change too much to get accustomed to, you can also use the right analog stick to reel in your catch.
When you start the game, you can pick from a number of different character types, each with varying stats (such as casting distance), which makes each character just a little bit different when you get them out on the lake. To add to this, you can also make a variety of cosmetic changes to your angler, such as adding a hat and sunglasses or changing the color of your angler's shirt or boat. While the way your character dresses has no effect on his or her fishing skill, it's nice to have the option to change outfits.
Once you take your character out on one of the game's spacious lakes, you can then look for a spot to fish. On board your boat is a handy "fish finder," which uses sonar to tell you if a fish is in the vicinity of your boat. But for the most part, fish can be seen just under the water's surface when you drop anchor, rendering the fish finder nothing more than just eye candy. As you guide your boat around the lake, you'll notice trucks and boathouses on the shore, docks protruding into the lake, and other details. Under the surface, you'll find tree trunks, rocks, and other things that fish like to hang out around. Aside from choosing your location, you can also choose the time of day, month, and weather for your outing. All of these factors make a cosmetic difference when you start to play, but they also factor into whether or not the fish will be biting. In fact, some combinations of weather and season will make the fish downright finicky, and you may come away from the lake empty-handed until you figure out the ideal combinations of weather conditions.
There are three different modes of play in the game. The first is free fishing, in which you set out on the lake for a set period of time and try to catch as many bass as you can, similar to just about every fisherman's weekend outing, but without the sunburn. In this mode, you can choose from any of the available areas and attempt to break your own personal records. For those who are a little more competitive, you'll be right at home with the tournament mode. This mode features four tiers of competition: amateur, professional, top anglers, and world classic. Even veterans of fishing games will find this mode to be a challenge. Lastly, the new mode added is duel mode. Simply stated, you take on either a computer-controlled opponent or a friend to see who the better angler is. The two-player mode is a welcome change, and even dueling against the computer can be quite fun. While it would have been even better to fish against other players online, the two-player mode is just enough to keep the game interesting over the long run. Beyond that, this game still has plenty of depth to keep even the most fervent anglers occupied for quite some time.
While Sega Bass Fishing 2 looked great on the Dreamcast, this updated port looks virtually the same. Fortunately, the game still plays just as well as it did originally, but the fact that nothing was done to take advantage of the newer hardware is thoroughly disappointing. Similarly, the sound and music have received the same treatment by coming straight over from the Dreamcast. The audio serves its purpose well, but it certainly isn't anything special.
If you already own the game this one was based on, there isn't much reason to take a serious look at this game unless you absolutely have to have a two-player mode. Overall, Sega Bass Fishing Duel is a solid-playing game that simply doesn't look that great. Since this game is currently up against a group of subpar fishing games on the PlayStation 2, it can be recommended rather easily as the way to go.