Fishing requires a lot of patience. Sitting for hours on muddy embankments in the pouring rain with nothing but a flask of hot chocolate and a bag of sarnies, before going to battle with a bream isn’t for everyone, but there’s a good reason why it’s one of Europe’s most popular sports/pastimes.
That feeling of accomplishment when you get your prize catch is incredibly addictive. No matter how long it takes to reel in your first roach, the buzz of the chase (and most likely the feeling of tranquillity that comes from sitting beside a beautiful lake without a care in the world) is what keeps fishermen coming back for more.
Step up to the peg, the Euro Fishing: Urban Edition from Dovetail Games, which comes packed with the new Foundry Dock DLC and the original game, and pretty much sets out to nail what you’d expect from a realistic virtual fishing experience. But has this developer’s penchant for reality perfection culminated in a brill-iant fishing game, or is it a load of old pollocks?
Hailed on its release earlier this year as one of the best fishing games for PS4, the Euro Fishing: Urban addition has a solid tutorial to ease you in gently. These guides are expertly put together by a professional angler, who uses his years of experience to explain practically everything you need to know. From how to cast your rod and reel in your line to assigning different rigs and baits, it’s all covered – hook, line and sinker.
You’ll find out how to manage line tension, how to use spods and how to master the art of using multiple rods, which sets you up nicely for a variety of challenges, a bit of relaxing freedom fishing (without competition) or a live tournament against players from around the globe.
Even after the extensive tutorials though, Euro Fishing is a real challenge. Earning XP by catching fish and completing challenges, such as casting into target rings in a lake, you can upgrade your tackle box in the tackle shop. Spending points on new rigs suited to different beds, and better tackle suited to different fish types, it soon becomes about learning what works best depending on the type of fish you want to catch and where you’re fishing.
The art of fishing is a tricky affair. Even learning to cast your rod and letting go off the line at the right time to cast out further than 10ft turns out to be a challenge in the early stages. Then you have to bear in mind the lie of the cast, and adjust your set-up accordingly. There’s reel tension to tweak, and then – when you get a bite – you’ll be adjusting your rod to lure a fish towards you while keeping an eye on the meter to ensure you’re not applying too much tension, otherwise the slippery bugger will escape.
The control scheme works well enough for the most part. The casting mechanic has been named ‘Total Cast Control’ and requires you to move the right thumbstick down and up while loosing it at the appropriate time. It’s difficult to master and cast your line perfectly every time, but there’s also the option for basic cast control where you simply set the power and it does the hard work for you. The process of catching a fish also feels realistic as you reel in intuitively and move the position of your rod to increase and decrease the line tension. Switching between rods and changing bait is also easy to do thanks to the intuitive interface.
There’s definitely a degree of excitement and satisfaction gained from catching fish, particularly when you net one of the big boss fishes, but overall it just all feels a little boring waiting for what can seem like a ludicrously long time to get a bite. Other times it feels just unfair that you’ve applied everything you’ve learned only for a fish to escape. When you’re on roll, playing Euro Fishing feels good, but the moments in between feel like a lifetime.
Pitching up at your peg, choosing your rig and bait, and casting up to three rods into a lake before staring into space waiting for a fish to take a bite can seem like hours. And when the fish does come, you’ve got to be super quick to pick up your rod before the little blighter gets away. And then, even when you do start the process of reeling in, there can be an almighty battle on your hands which isn’t always successful. The fact that Euro Fishing is so much like real fishing turns out to be both its greatest strength and biggest weakness.
Now, we appreciate we could be being a tad unfair – after all, Euro Fishing is game that is meant to be a simulation. And, yes fishing fans may get a buzz out of sitting around and experimenting with new rigs and baits, and walking around the lake looking for prime fishing spots. In this respect, aside from the lack of fish species (only seven in total), Euro Fishing does a good job at what it set out to do. Nevertheless – despite the addition of an XP system that adds to the sense of achievement of getting a catch and feels like you’re genuinely progressing towards the bigger fish – patience is most certainly tested to its very limits,
Euro Fishing: Urban Edition does a great job at capturing the calming atmosphere and tranquil environments of some of Europe’s finest fishing spots, with impressive water, lighting and audio effects bringing a sense of tranquillity to each location. Despite some dated-looking facial animations and ropey textures, overall the lush scenery is pleasant on the eye.
Watch the Foundry Dock trailer.
Locations boast some beautiful scenery, including L’Arene in the French countryside – a popular haunt for Carp anglers, and St John’s Lake in England where some dude has caught a 93lbs carp. The new Foundry Dock DLC also provides a welcome change of fishing spot with an urban lake surrounding by graffitied walls, while introducing a new challenge with an extra 20 boss fish to catch.
In addition to single-player tournaments, multiplayer offers the chance to partake in live tournaments, join a public match or host a match with a friend. During my play-time with Euro Fishing, we’ve yet to find an online match, which suggests that the game is very much like the pastime – something that people prefer to do on their own.
However, there’s plenty to get stuck into as you gain confidence and experience on your long path towards catching boss fish. With eight championships, and now the addition of the Foundry Cup, there’s a ton of content. Whether you’ll want to tackle it all after spending countless hours really not doing much remains to be seen, but Euro Fishing Urban Edition is rather relaxing to play – a game for the budding fisherman who understands that patience is a most definitely a virtue.