Bassmaster Fishing 2022: Super Deluxe Edition comes to Nintendo Switch later this week, and we had the chance to spend some time with Dovetail Games to preview what we can expect from the realistic fishing simulator.
Like me, you may not have heard about the Bassmaster Classic tournament before, which, among the many others that the Bass Anglers Sportsman Society (B.A.S.S.) runs, unarguably sounds like a remarkable spectacle that I now need to tune into.
Light-heartedly pitched to me as “the Super Bowl of fishing,” the three-day event challenges professional anglers to compete against each other – taking to the waters of a designated lake to catch the largest fish that they possibly can to later present at the weigh-in, waiting to discover whether their efforts have outmatched their competition. With a 5-bag limit, the pressure’s on to decide whether to return smaller catches to the water in the hope of securing something bigger. It’s a flagship tournament that closes out the year and is believed to be the largest in the world – attracting more than 150,000 attendees, not to mention the $300,000 prize money on offer to the eventual winner.
That extravaganza now comes to the Nintendo Switch. With Bassmaster Fishing 2022, the developer’s ambition was “to create the biggest bass fishing video game ever made,” and with this Super Deluxe Edition, they inch ever closer to realising that goal. That’s because it comes to the portable home console with all the downloadable content that has been released for the base game so far, including the Deluxe Upgrade Pack, Predator Fishing Equipment Pack, Elite Fishing Equipment Pack, 2022 Bassmaster Classic at Lake Hartwell and Bass Lake Bundle. Phew. In short, it’s a content-packed port meaning that there are even more places and ways for you to choose to spend your time in-game.
It’s up to you whether you want to approach Bassmaster Fishing 2022: Super Deluxe Edition casually or competitively minded. You can simply choose to fish at your leisure or you can set out to seek the glory of becoming a champion in the Career Mode – working hard to progress through the College Series, Opens and Elite Series before having your chance to compete in the Classic. This also extends to online multiplayer where you can participate in an elimination-style mode, as well as a more straightforward objective in edging your way up the game’s global leaderboards based on your largest catches.
Regardless of your aspiration, there are 11 real-world venues for you to freely explore, the two that I was shown being Chickamauga Lake and Lake Hartwell. You can also choose to play as 10 world-famous professional anglers – such as Scott Martin, Hank Cherry, Takumi Ito, Carl Jocumsen and Skylar Hamilton – who have lent their likeness to the game, or as an avatar that allows for more freedom for customisation.
You can kit your angler out with licensed equipment, but, integral to your career progression, are sponsorships. There is an in-game follower metric that is factored into this, for which you gain more based on the fish that you catch and how well you perform at tournaments. Increase your followers and you will start to attract bigger sponsors, build stronger relationships with them over time and you can secure discounts on their equipment or even receive it free of charge once you hit the big time.
And so, to the fishing. It’s clear that there has been a painstaking effort to lend as much authenticity to the gameplay experience, from casting a rod and the way that the fish behave to the real-world locations that have been faithfully recreated for you to explore from the comfort of your own home. Dovetail Games explained that it has worked closely with real-world experts like Scott Martin and even a freshwater fish biologist to help make sure that its simulation is as accurate as it can be. I felt the benefit that this expertise has provided right from the start, in the care that has been taken to put all that knowledge into its virtual take on competitive big bass fishing.
With a tutorial to teach you the basics, it isn’t long before you are setting out to catch the 24 different species of fish – and the more elusive legendary fish – that appear in the game. Each species will require specific equipment for you to ultimately prove more successful at catching them, and that’s where the gameplay loop creeps in – catch what you can to boost your followers, earn money for your efforts and attract lucrative sponsors that can broaden the equipment that you have at your disposal. Simple.
You won’t find every fish species at any one location, that effort to deliver an authentic experience meaning that you will only find the aquatic creatures that would normally call the lake home carelessly swimming around in it. You can see which to expect as you’re choosing where to set out on your next fishing trip, and you’re free to select the time of day and weather that you’d like or leave it so that it changes dynamically. The water temperature will determine how deep the fish are in the water, while the time of day will affect how many there will be.
Choices made, you’ll hop aboard your boat and will soon come to rely on your map and fish finder to work out where’s best to get started. I was told that, much like the real-world sport, it’s important to learn where the reliable fishing spots are – marking these with waypoints so that you know where to return to save yourself time on later trips.
Fish located, your effort to secure a catch is as expected – cast your rod, wait for a bite and then reel in your line while managing its tension. As mentioned earlier, your success is as much about making sure you’re using the right lure needed to attract the fish. Another new addition to the Nintendo Switch port is motion controls, which, when wielding a Joy-Con pair, let you cast your rod with the right Joy-Con to then attempt to reel in your catch with the left Joy-Con.
The game has been created in Unreal Engine 4, and the team has turned to Rebellion North for advice on the porting process to Nintendo Switch. The usual concessions have had to be made, as you’d expect, thanks to the console’s agile portability in comparison to beefier hardware. It doesn’t appear that the experience taken as a whole has suffered though, and who can forget that it’s also the only console that lets you sit back and catch fish wherever and whenever you want to!
That brings things to a close for now, and if it’s piqued your interest you won’t have long to wait before you can take to the water yourself as Bassmaster Fishing 2022: Super Deluxe Edition is out later this week. Thanks once again to the team at Dovetail Games for their time and knowledge, and let us know your best catches!
Bassmaster Fishing 2022: Super Deluxe Edition will release digitally on the Nintendo eShop for Nintendo Switch in Europe and across the United States on 23rd June 2022, priced at £34.99 ($44.99). It will later release in Japan and Korea on 7th July 2022.