David Wesst

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River King: A Wonderful Journey (PS2)

The Details

Gameplay: 3

Gameplay is really just a regular JRPG fishing mini-game turned into a full-fledge game. It could use some "breaks" in doing the fishing, or possibly some extra challenge. Maybe there is later on, but after two hours I didn't find much.

Controls: 4

Simple and intuitive, but could use some better quality of life shortcut buttons or key combos for adding bait to the hook and such.

Story: 2

There is a bizarre story with four characters, each being a family member, and each with a reason to catch the River King. I explored the one where I played as the father in the family who appears to be trying to get fish for revenge or for his pride or something to that nature (I don't really remember). It was bizarre, but in a good way, I just wish it moved along a little faster to give me more to go on other than the joy of fishing.

Puzzles: 2

It's exploring, gathering tips, and figuring out how to fish. There isn't really a lot of thought, just searching around the massive land mass for fish.

Co-op Style: None

This is a single player experience, through and through.

The Hook

Collect-a-thon and exploration. You want to get all the fish, and there are tricks to all of them (i.e. bait, lures, and so on). I think it would have had more impact if there was some versatility to the figuring out how to catch the fish or even some direction.

The Fun

Exploraion and finding the fish is fun. There is the whole collect them all thing, combined with the narrative and RPG elements of dealing with townsfolk and doing fishing challenges too. The key is exploration, which gives you quite the burst of joy when you finally do find something.

The Less Fun

The emptiness of it all. The Stream level was huge, where it took 20-30 seconds to find the next building. I probably didn't even explore everything, and I know there are other levels I didn't even see that early on in the game. It's just too big for too little content to engage with you.