The wilderness is calling again: With Call of the Wild: The Angler, the developers at Expansive Worlds are once again focusing on a setting around animals and nature. Instead of being armed with a shotgun, this time players go “on the hunt” with a fishing rod. That sounds like pure relaxation in the open world. However, the path to becoming a master angler can be stressful.

We were able to test Call of the Wild: The Angler – the first fishing simulator in an open world – even before it was released. And we were surprised. In his hands-on, Michael reveals to what extent an open world improves immersion and what Call of the Wild: The Angler is really good at.

Call of the Wild: The Angler: Casual Sim - ideal for newcomers

It rustles in the business of hunting simulators. As in mine last article mentioned, this year is a very special one for the hunting community. After Ultimate Games will compete with the top dog The Hunter – Call of the Wild at the end of the year, Call of the Wild: The Angler is now fishing in the shark tank of the fishing simulators and is in turn competing with Ultimate Games. It's not just another fishing simulator, it's Call of the Wild: The Angler with an open world. The creators of Call of the Wild: The Angler have already gained experience with the open world hunting simulator The Hunter and are bringing their skills to the new game. Call of the Wild: The Angler was developed on the latest version of the Apex open world engine, which The Hunter also uses. Yes, The Hunter – Call of the Wild players will recognize the style and feel of the open world in Call of the Wild: The Angler, and so did I.

The Angler World 2

The Angler offers an open world with a vision. Image: Zelenka

Just like The Hunter - Call of the Wild, the new work from Avalanche Studios is designed to be easy to get started. Also, Call of the Wild: The Angler is hardly a hurdle in terms of hardware. The GTX 1070 with 8GB is listed as the recommended system requirement and is not a problem for most users without upgrading (the graphics card most used by Steam users is the Nvidia GTX 1060 – as of August 2022).

In the tutorial you practice casting and you can count on a fish with the first attacks. For the ejection I recommend a mousepad of size XXL. You have to pull back far with the mouse button held, quickly before and just before the mouse stops, let go. That was very unusual for me at the beginning and one or the other odds and ends flew to the floor on my small desk (believe me - it's true)! Alternatively, you can eject with the right mouse button, but you can only reach ten meters there.

the Angler Mouse Pad

This is what the mouse pad XXL could look like 😉 Creation: Zelenka

 

Call of the Wild: The Angler has observation towers and NPCs in its luggage

Of course, a lookout tower to unlock the map should not be missing in the tutorial. The The Hunter – Call of the Wild players know this game mechanic and some even get very nostalgic about it. Personally, I'm a bit annoyed traipsing up and down all the stairs. Up to the point where I figured out that you can jump down without a scratch. Thanks Avalanche Studios for this shortcut.

The Angler World

Pure nature: The world for anglers does not only consist of water. Image: Zelenka

Then you come to the "village" - the hub (how fitting!) for all your equipment. There's a very nice woman there (yes, there are two NPCs - unlike The Hunter) who loves to chatter in your ears all day long. She even gives you useful tips and this lady will consider herself an icon of this game. I see myself talking in 10 years "Do you remember the aunt in the shop?". And everyone has to laugh because everyone understands what is meant. It's only a bit exhausting in multiplayer - colleagues often say: "Wait a minute, I have to get away from the woman, otherwise I won't hear you!".

theAngler

May I introduce - Sophia Taylor! Image: Zelenka

 

Explore the open world to your heart's content

In general, you can discover and explore the world very easily. Although there is already a wealth of missions at the beginning (and sometimes you can do two at once - people with an optimization tick are very happy), it was clear to me and my Petri friend - "We have to get to the highest mountain first! " - Why? Because we can! The open world offers it, so it has to be tried. Get in the car and up the mountains - the fish can wait. We actually managed to get up the highest mountain without a scratch. Tip: You're faster on foot and you can even overcome gradients of almost 100 percent. Enjoy the view.

The Angler World 3

This is also theAngler: Just climb up a mountain. Image: Zelenka

Driving in Call of the Wild: The Angler is generally a bit "notchy". The worst are the thousands and thousands of street signs (yes, there really are a lot!). Although they are very helpful, they are so close to the road that people like to drive into them. Anyone who thinks that things can be shut down is wrong.

The Angler 1

Six signs at a glance ... in the wilderness. Image: Zelenka

Boating, on the other hand, is easier to do and is a nice consolation for many The Hunter - Call of the Wild fans, because this feature has been missing in the hunting simulator for a long time (if only because you don't want to trundle around a huge lake - swimming doesn't work for either Call of the Wild: The Angler still at the Hunter).

However, boating is not without it either. In rivers one likes to sit on shallow sandbanks and not move. I personally miss the indication of the water depth on the map. That would not only help with navigating (in multiplayer your buddy can tell you where to go – this also works excellently when driving a car and you almost have the feeling of driving a rally!). Indicating the water depth would also help when setting the distance between the float (Austrian for float) and the bait. Because of course you have to find out the right depth where the fish are lounging.

Graphics mediocre - gameplay flawless

As immersive as the open world in Call of the Wild: The Angler is, those used to top-notch graphics won't be blown away. The "grey haze" that is often criticized by the community in The Hunter - Call of the Wild is also present in Call of the Wild: The Angler. The water animations are also not a feast for the eyes in some places. From time to time there are also glitches that are more funny than annoying. Even if there is room for improvement in terms of open world graphics, it is by no means the end of the world.

But where value was clearly placed on it is with the fish! The models are very detailed and graphically on such a high level that they almost don't match the rest of the game. As a passionate fisherman, I am particularly pleased to see the typical characteristics of a rainbow trout or a perch. But when my character holds the fish in his hands, then my joy is limited again - because there is still room for improvement with the graphics of the characters.

theAngler

nice fish Not so nice character. Image: Zelenka

The fish look very realistic due to the detailed models. But the gameplay is also close to reality. So you can tell from the float what kind of fish is biting. Some species of fish "play" with the bait and "pluck" before biting. Others - especially predatory fish - literally inhale the bait and pull the swimmer - in the truest sense of the word - into the depths.

The interplay between adjusting the drag so that the fish doesn't pull too much line, pulling up and reeling in is also very successful. Netting a big fish can take a good 15 minutes. Just like in real life, when I stand by the water myself and crank my heart out, when a pike shows me where the hammer is hanging.

Speaking of landing nets - unfortunately there is no such thing. You pull the fish up to three meters towards you, you see a black screen and, bang, you have the chunk in your hand. Me and my Petri colleague miss the nets very much. That would be exactly the kind of teamwork that multiplayer should offer. If I may send a wish list to Avalanche Studios for Christmas, then this feature is at the top of the list, right after the water map.

Float fishing and spin fishing

In addition to fishing with a float, Call of the Wild: The Angler offers a second type of fishing: spin fishing. This delivers the two most popular fishing methods. Certainly, bottom fishing and maybe even fly fishing will follow.

The developers emphasize that they have made some improvements in content and feature quality. This will hopefully reduce the bugs already included with the release to a minimum. We have experienced this time and time again at The Hunter, that DLCs get hot fixes and patches very quickly after release. According to the developer, Call of the Wild: The Angler is a "live service" title that will be further developed together with the community. This already works relatively well with The Hunter and is quite commendable.

theAngler

Caught a fine specimen while spin fishing. With diamond rating (highest rating)! Image: Zelenka

When fishing with a float, I noticed that I kept staring at the display on the bottom right. This display uses an icon to show if the swimmer is moving and sinking. This is additionally underlined with sound (a ringing) and makes it very easy for beginners not to miss the attack. The focus on this display takes away a bit of the immersion because I want to look directly at the swimmer, just like in real life. In Fishing Planet you can zoom in on the swimmer and actually look at it - we missed such a function. The YouTuber "TrophyHunter", who recently gave his first impressions, shares a similar opinion. Well, now we have a third wish for Avalanche Studios.

Conclusion on The Angler: Great!

Call of the Wild: The Angler can definitely "join the fish" in the genre of fish simulators. Above all, the unique selling point is convincing: fishing in an open world. At the competitor Fishing Planet you "hop" around on the world map and you can only jump from spot to spot on the water. That's where Call of the Wild: The Angler does everything right - I can go anywhere by car, boat or on foot (even on extreme inclines and mostly without a scratch). In my opinion, the mix of realism and abstraction for a quick start is well done. My Petri colleague and I have already “sunk” a number of hours into this game and the playing time will surely soon reach three digits. Even if there are only twelve types of fish and one map to start with, Call of the Wild: The Angler offers countless missions and tasks. In addition, the huge open world invites you to explore and discover.

Call of the Wild: The Angler is the right choice for anyone who doesn't have high demands when it comes to graphics and likes to get lost in open world games (especially in multiplayer). And if my three wishes to the developers still come true, then the game will keep me spellbound for a longer time. In this sense – Petri Heil.

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Author

  • Michael Zelenka

    Michael studied applied game research (Master) and is the founder of the free print and play games platform papierspiele.at. He is also a professional game tester and mainly deals with game UX.

Last updated on 8.12.2022/XNUMX/XNUMX / Affiliate Links / Images from the Amazon Product Advertising API. * = Affiliate links. Images from Amazon PA API