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Land a Virtual Lunker Anywhere with Rapala Trophies for the PSP (continued)
 

Species: Each body of water holds a different mix of species, and the fish do behave and react differently. I was actually impressed by the variation of freshwater species available in the game. The game includes Largemouth Bass, Smallmouth bass, Walleye, Crappie, Muskie, Striped Bass, King Salmon, Silver Salmon, Grayling, rainbow Trout, Brown Trout, Lake trout, Northern pike, Taimen, barramundi, King Mackerel, Tiger fish, and even mammoth Nile Perch. Whew, say all that in one breath...few of us, even the most hardcore anglers, will likely fish for all of these species in real life.

 


Set the hook by pulling back on the rod and the fight ensues!

 

Graphics and Sound: The graphical features in this make use of some of the best effects that the PSP has to offer. The surrounding environment and water are realistic looking, and it is easy to get lost in the game if you wear earphones and listen to the complementary sound effects. The musical score is simple and yet quite pleasant, and during fishing the main thing you hear is light background music and nature sounds like moving water, the occasional bird chirp, cricket, or even what I think might be a frog. Once in a while your guide will also insert random comments like "wow, isn't this beautiful" or "it just doesn't get any better than this," and if you sit idle for a while he starts to get bored and will even say things like "getting sleepy here" or simply yawn. Overall the visuals and sound mesh together well and are quite respectable.


Another advertisement...after a while these get old

 

Gripes: We have already talked about a few of the minor gripes with Rapala Trophies including the inability to customize your character, or feeling very limited to lure type. The game would have so much more depth if it really offered a variety of different types of lures like blades, plastics, or even swimbaits. Obviously we know why Rapala focused only on hard baits, but nonetheless it limits the experience somewhat. Outside of the actual gameplay Trophies has two other problems, the first being that the cut scenes and movies make the game feel like one big commercial at times, the in game product placement is enough, and the barrage of ads during transition screens just seems like overkill. The same goes for the Rapala-centric trivia. The final gripe is a constant problem among many PSP games, because the games are on optical discs rather than cartridges (solid state) like on the Nintendo DS, the load times are quite long. In between tournaments or modes the load time is just over half a minute. Luckily once you start fishing each area there is no load time at all and your game is totally uninterrupted.

 


The gameplay is open ended and you can fish in as shallow or as deep water as you want. You can listen to your guide or choose to ignore him completely (though we always caught more fish when we heeded his advice)

 

The Breakdown: This is certainly not a game that you will go out and purchase a PSP specifically for, but if you already own the handheld the 29.99 cost is very reasonable. For the price of just two Japanese lures Rapala Trophies has enough replay value to keep you interested, and is actually a great pick me up game when you just have a few short moments.

 


Another photo op. Rapala Trophies while not perfect is a fun and entertaining game that both anglers and non-anglers can enjoy

 

This certainly will not be the last fishing simulator for the PSP, and new systems like the Nintendo Wii already have titles that further involve would be anglers in the experience with actual cast, set, and retrieve motions using the wireless Wii-remote controller. It is also likely that we will see more fishing companies launching co-branded games, Berkley for example has already launched a new fishing simulator (Bass Tournament Tycoon) for the PC, and if you think about it the whole deal is quite genius. Start kids on the fishing video games so that they get interested in the sport, and if and when they crossover to actual fishing they are more likely to buy the brands they already recognize.

 

Ratings: (We've re-calibrated our ratings standard for 2008 and have included a key at the bottom of the following matrix as a guide)

Rapala Trophies (Activision) PSP Game Ratings (?/10)

Construction/Quality When talk construction and quality we usually mean build quality, but since this is software this category really doesn't apply. We will reserve the game play attributes for the performance category, as all UMD discs are pretty much made equally. N/A
Performance In this category we are referring to the actual gameplay and entertainment value of the actual fishing game. Rapala Trophies has a lot going for it, including a quality engine, visuals, soundtrack, and intuitive control system. Unfortunately it does have some faults as well which balance the game out. These include lack of customization, limited tackle to play with, excessive load times, and going a bit overboard with the brand pimping. Still, all in all this is a entertaining game, and one that can certainly be built upon for a follow up version in the future. 6.5
Price For just the price of a few real baits Rapala Trophies will give you plenty of hours of entertainment, and is great for  when you simply can't go fishing (for example when you are stuck on a plane or at the airport). This isn't a title that you would buy a PSP for, but if you already own one and are an angling fan or are just starting to get interested in the sport then this is a good value for you. 8
Features The game is a solid foundation but somewhat mediocre in total features, there is so much more that can be done including customizable characters and boats, or use of real pro personalities. We Would have also liked a greater variety of baits to play with, but that is unlikely when the game is co-branded with a hardbait supplier 5
Design (Ergonomics) One of the areas of reasonable strength are the easy and intuitive controls. The game makes good use of the PSP's abilities, and casting and retrieving is easy. A variant of this game is also available on the Nintendo Wii, and we have a feeling that would be a much more immersive experience as you will actually go through the real cast and retrieve motions 7.5
Application While no substitute for actually going fishing the game is fun for both anglers and non-anglers with a budding interest in the sport. The best thing about the PSP version is that you can get some kind of fishing in anywhere you are 7

Total Score

6.8
Ratings Key: 1 = terrible : 2 = poor : 3 = lacking : 4 = sub par : 5 = mediocre : 6 = fair : 7 = good : 8 = great : 9 = excellent : 10 = unbelievable!
For More Details of the updated rating system visit our explanation here


Pluses and Minuses:

                 Plus                                    Minus

J Quality graphics and sound L Lack of character customization
J Fun and entertaining anywhere L Excessive load times
J Intuitive control system L Too much brand "pimping"
J Easy to learn, hard to master  
J Many locations and species  
J Reasonably good replay value  
J Reasonable price  

 

Conclusion: Rapala Trophies boasts a solid graphical and play engine and the gameplay feels both relaxed and entertaining, with small bursts of excitement mixed in as you endeavor to land lunkers. The overall experience pales in comparison to real fishing, but as far as video games go this is among the better games we have played when it comes to replicating any aspect or emotion in regards to the activity. There are plenty of positive aspects of the game which include high-quality visuals, a well matched soundtrack and sound effects, as well as intuitive controls. That being said the game is far from perfect and it almost feels like the game is a foundation in which to build a serious fishing game upon. We would keep the excellent controls but we would love to see additional customization on the character, tackle, and boats. Add that to less apparent pimping of the brand in the cut scenes and reduce the load times between levels and now we are talking. Until then I can honestly say that I do find this game mildly addicting, and will spend a few minutes right before bed advancing to the next tournaments, and you can be sure that every time I travel I look forward to getting in plenty of “Trophies” game time in on flights and layovers.
 

 

                            

 

 

 

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