Simulators are getting more advanced with each release and Fishing North Atlantic is no exception. The level of detail when planning routes, understanding behavioural patterns of various species and becoming an amateur meteorologist are all part of the scene.
Set in Canadian Nova Scotia, this truly is an open-world environment and not for anyone expecting quick results. With over 25 vessels to choose from, expect a different experience in the same waters as your peers.
Fishing North Atlantic is the follow up to Fishing Barents Sea, both from Misc Games, another decent title set on the outskirts of Norway, featuring some gorgeous vistas. The same applies to Nova Scotia, and also home to some glorious looking ports.
Fishing: North Atlantic Review – PC Via Steam
Who is this game for? Is it for bona fide fisherman or those who have a taste for the sea air but lack the ability or time to commit? It’s certainly a niche, but considering the amount of depth in this game makes me conclude there is most definitely a market.
The thing is, Fishing North Atlantic will test the patience of many as you can’t do anything quick – even with a feature that boasts fast travel, you still have to reach the destination first.
In the game, your role is to fish your quota and not go over it, for fear of being fined and because overfishing is wrong. Simples. You start with a small fishing boat and can expand as you make your name, and money in the marketplace.
The first steps are harpooning (which is really really hard when you’re boat is continually drifting and had me play the tutorial for ‘an undisclosed time’. As you improve, you can go crabbing, longline, and more my thing, trawling.
As I said, this is a bit of niche, and fishing nerds will be familiar with vessels, species and also their behaviours. This is the closest you’ll currently get to fishing without going on an actual boat.
I Sea Your Ocean And Raise You…
Fishing North Atlantic has some of the best ocean physics I’ve experienced in a game. While Assassin’s Creed: Black Flag reaches the top of the podium for cinematic appeal, the ocean plays a significant role in a game about fishing.
It’s almost like an unpredictable character in the game without a speaking role and whom nobody addresses, but its presence is dominance. Let’s pull out the quacks chair here and have me disclose that the sea scares me – for very valid reasons, and in this simulation, while it’s not a game for surfers, the unpredictable movement of the waves is superb.
On the opposing side of this realism, as a game, Fishing North Atlantic proves troublesome as the waves are continually moving; therefore, so does your vessel. When you’re trying to steady your aim or at least remain within the vicinity of your quota, it can be a little too tricky and requires patience.
But fishing has always been about patience, and this is a skilled job. For a simulator to come along and be pig-headed in its simplification would be an insult to the industry. There’s no-nonsense here in the game, with an emphasis on realism, but there are a few tweaks that can be made to make the game just a tiny bit more forgiving.
You can only fish a species if it’s in season, making it essential to plan out your year sort of as you go along, but with enough foresight to factor in any shortage on your quotas. Fines are very real in the game, and you need to factor in how hard it is to catch the fish, process, store then sell only to be fined and docked your earnings.
Also, be prepared for being penalised if you speed in the ports. Fishing North Atlantic is the definition of a slow burner, and it’s going to appeal to those who like to follow the rules and want an authentic experience. While there is a fast travel option, you have to have visited the place before you can make use of it, but once you have, chances are you’ll use it unless you’re single and have all the time in the world.
Going into the port is another game in itself. You can borrow from the bank, hire new staff, buy new gear and get tips on the best fishing spots. More importantly, it’s the marketplace to sell your catch, and that’s kind of the point of the game.
End Of The Season
I’m still getting up to speed with what specs that are required for most PC games. Apparently, the Pentium 3 is dead, as is the Advanced Graphics Port. The settings I was running at were satisfactory, but upping up draw distances and all that jazz made the game choppy, and that was nothing to do with the sea.
To appreciate just how good the physics are, you ideally need a good spec PC but strip that all down and it’s the actual simulation that’s the star of the show. Quotas and seasons are accurate, weather elements are brill, and Fishing North Atlantic uses licensed partners too. While you won’t see Nissan or Nike, fish fans will recognise some names and modelling. Scanmar, anyone?
For me, this is a particular market, so you ideally need an interest in fishing or open to the realistic nature of the simulation. It took me an age to do anything, and I foresee that I’ll be playing this well into next year as I build my fishing empire and employee a much more efficient crew.