Sega Bass Fishing 2 Review

  • First Released Aug 21, 2001
  • DC

Sega Bass Fishing 2 is a model example of what sequels should be.

Wow Entertainment surprised many with 1999's Sega Bass Fishing for the Dreamcast. In what would become a sleeper hit, this game spawned the Dreamcast fishing controller and provided one of the most accurate fishing simulations available on any console. The year 2000 saw the release of Sega Marine Fishing, which had more of an arcade feel but still brought the excitement of landing a huge fish home. Now, in the final days of the Dreamcast, Sega is bringing Sega Bass Fishing 2 to the table.

While Sega Marine Fishing departed from the simulation-style gameplay that won many fans over in Sega Bass Fishing, this sequel has just about everything you could ask for, and more. In fact, there is a shopping list of small, significant changes made to the core gameplay that, in the end, make this sequel a much different game from its predecessor. This is quite refreshing, as it would've been easy to simply rehash what was found in the previous game.

One of the first changes you'll notice upon starting the game is that it is now possible to pick from one of many different character types, each with varying stats (such as casting distance), which make 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 is nice to have the option to change outfits.

Once you take your character out on one of the game's lakes, you'll see that you are no longer tethered to one part of the lake. You can now drive your boat across the level to find the right spot to land the big one. 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. For the most part, fish can be seen just under the water's surface when you drop anchor, rendering the fish finder mostly useless. These little touches do add a sense of realism to an already accurate fishing experience, and the level of detail in the game's five initially available spots have been turned up just a bit in comparison to the original game.

As you guide your boat around the lake, you'll notice trucks and boathouses on the shore, docks protruding into the lake, and more. Under the surface, you'll find tree trunks, rocks, and other things that fish like to hang 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.

As you might expect, the gameplay has also been changed just a little bit this time around. This game makes great use of the fishing controller. It can be played with a standard Dreamcast controller as well, but you won't get the same level of immersion. For the most part, the basic operations of casting, reeling, and such have gone unchanged; however, once you land a fish, you now must line up a mark on an onscreen meter to successfully bring in your fish.

There are two 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 Championship. Even veterans of the game will find this mode to be a challenge. Two things that seem to be missing from this game are a two-player mode and online functionality. While it would have been nice to hit the lake with a friend or have the ability to see the fish that other players have caught worldwide, this game still has plenty of depth to keep even the most rabid anglers occupied for quite some time.

In the end, Sega Bass Fishing 2 is a model example of what sequels should be. By taking an already great game mechanic and changing it ever so slightly, this sequel truly adds to the fishing experience--instead of just treading water. While it is almost saddening to know that a game this fun to play will be the final one for this system, it is comforting to know that this is the kind of game that you can pick up and casually play for years to come.

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