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Endless Ocean is a Wide Open SandboxAdventure Game mixed with a scuba diving sim by Arika, which simulates a series of scuba dives on an incredibly diverse coral reef. It became legendary for completely eschewing combat of any kind.You, the player character, are a professional diver assigned as a "marine correspondent" to the fictional South Pacific island of Manoa Lai (Manaurai in the European release). This job generally involves looking at a lot of fish, and finding out information about them. The only character you actually get to interact with is your marine biologist assistant, Katherine. Along the way, you discover ancient ruins, caves, deep waters, and lots of Misplaced Wildlife (though they at least made them all real fish).There's a sequel entitled Endless Ocean 2: Adventures of the Deep (known as Blue World in the US), which allows players to choose from several dive spots around the world instead of being limited to a fictional South Pacific Ocean, including the arctic and antarctic and a section in the Amazon River. Dangerous animals can now actually attack the player, requiring the divers to make a quick escape or use equipment to pacify them before becoming alligator caiman, piranha, or shark food.Not to be confused with The Infinite Ocean, a fairly creepy point-and-click adventure game about the first Artificial Intelligence.
All in a Row: How your diving partners follow you, although in the original game at least, you could make fish do this to you as well by just petting them a bunch of times after you've already learned all the facts about their species.
An Island Decorator Is You: Blue World lets you spruce up Nineball Island with various pieces of furniture, as well as stock a nearby reef with corals and kelp. You can even gain titles by getting all the pieces.
And Your Reward Is Clothes: You frequently get new wetsuits, hairstyles, and scuba tanks as gifts from guided tour patrons or photography editors.
Atlantis: Mo'ia Atoll. Maybe. Okeanides in Blue World.
Awesome, yet Impractical: In the first game, dolphin partners were cool and all, but had no real use - they tended not to follow you very well unless you blew the whistle every few yards (and took forever to come to you from across an area if you let them alone for a while before calling them), and riding them was neat, but couldn't be controlled, so you just go to watch yourself go in circles until you let go.
The Beastmaster: The Okenaides and the Mo'ia Atol people could control cetaceans through songs, and formed the first world-wide civilization with their help.
Badass Crew: While not in the traditional sense of the trope, in terms of diving expertise the second game's Five-Man Band is perhaps the best in the world. Consisting of a retired adventurer with more years of experience then the rest of the crew put together, one of the world's leading marine biologists, a world renown salvage expert, and two life long pro-drivers one of which has abilities that are nearly super human.
Bragging Rights Reward: The legendary creatures in Blue World. Many of them are only found in a single area that is either difficult to reach Divine Gift is at a wreck surrounded by great white sharks, or requires a specific diving partner or a specific time of day/moon phase/item found or bought. Or they might just be tough to click (half the time, you're too busy running away from Thanatos to select him). Finding any particular creature earns you a title.
But Thou Must: In Blue World, after you and Oceana find the plesiosaur, Oceane decides she's not going to publicize this discovery, and asks if you agree. You can say "I do" or "No I don't," but if you pick no, Oceana will just say "Really?" and ask you the question again. And again. And again.
Captain Ersatz: Leviathan from the second game - an albino sperm whale with a reputation for attacking ships, with one fanatical captain hunting him down in order to get revenge. Sound familiar?
Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Ichiro Enoshima/Ken Kaimoto from Blue World, who has an introduction that makes him seem fairly important before he disappears from the rest of the game. It seems that he was originally planned to have a much larger role, but Hayako apparently took most of it over.
Continuity Nod: Blue World's notebook mentions, in the entry about the Pelago Commonwealth, that a new species of whale was discovered in the Manoa Lai region two years ago; two years separated the releases of the first and second games. It's also mentioned in passing that Hayako helped catch and release a giant whale.
Also, Nancy sometimes mentions that she wishes she could send you her stuff via e-mail; this is the manner in which everything was received in the first game, despite the impossibility (such as a wetsuit being sent as an e-mail attachment).
Cool Boat: The Gabbiano, which the loading screens are quick to remind you is Italian for "seagull".
Earning enough titles earns you the Poseidon diving gear. Includes a mini whale shark as an air tank for extra awesomeness!
Derelict Graveyard: The Ship's Rest area in the first game and most of Ciceros Strait in the second.
Disney Death: Oceana's father was mentioned to be dead from attempting to explore the Zahaab Region Depths for the Okeanos Temple. However, a certain sidequest heavily implies that he actually survived, but was amnesiac for a good part of the game.
Enemy Scan: Using your hand to fill the Marine Encyclopedia.
Epic Rocking (with shades of Ominous Music Box Tune): The Song of Dragons is an in-universe example: humanity obsesses over its meaning and origin, and it's become known as a harbinger of doom wherever it is heard. It's actually a musical key known by all whales that guides people to and unlocks the Okeanides ruins... and subsequently drives the whales within mad to seal it up again.
Besides the legendary sharks, there's also at least five other species of dangerous sharks: Greenland sharks in the Arctic, a tiger shark at Deep Hole at night, a bluntnose sixgill shark in the Abyss, and goblin sharks in the Cavern of the Gods. Oh, and good ol' great whites all other the Ciceros Strait.
Fake Longevity: In the first game, you had to find each creature on three separate days in order to learn all three sets of facts about them to complete the Marine Encyclopedia. Blue World shortens this down to everything being learn-able in a single encounter, but also introduces money that has to be earned through work to spend on new gear. Not to mention saving up a million pelagos in order to open Okeanides back up to casual exploration.
Fanservice: Um... kind of? If you purchase swimwear in Blue World that doesn't consist of a wetsuit and have your character wear it, you can have him/her partake in a Shower Scene using the facilities behind the Nineball Island cabin.
Or, if you don't need your character to be washing to appreciate it, you can take your character on a dive in the swimwear. Then you can go ashore, and look all around. Or hey, if the front is all you need, looking at the character wearing it in the equipment menu is sufficient.
Fast-Forward Mechanic: A location is provided to allow the player to move rapidly to another time of day and forwards in time with regards to things like missions.
Foreshadowing: The Ancient Mother is foreshadowed by such things as the skeleton at the bottom of the Abyss, and Kat's comments when you assemble the Whale God Mirror. Mo'ia Atoll is also mentioned in passing during the Great Aqua Cave's backstory.
For Science!: It is implied in the Anomalocaris article/trivia that the one that GG and the player character encountered at Valka Castle was revived in a genetic experiment, and somehow was released into the wild.
Friendly Playful Dolphins: The games naturally feature dolphins and larger cetaceans from various locations. You can befriend certain dolphins. When players get to nineball island in Endless Ocean Blue World they can teach tricks to a dolphin.
Ghost Ship: The large brown vessel which transports you to and from Ship's Rest, which you enter via the big gaping hole in its hull below the water line. In Ship's Rest itself, you can see the wreckage of the exact same boat right in the sand below where it's floating. It's actually really eerie, especially at night.
Giant Swimmer: You can ride whales and dolphins through the ocean, though you can't control where they go. In Blue World, your dolphin partner can give you a player-controlled lift, which is necessary in the freezing regions until your equipment improves.
The Goomba: Bicolor parrotfish are a nonviolent version of this. They appear practically everywhere.
Green Aesop: Rears its head more often in the sequel than the original, but present either way.
Heroic Albino: The Ancient Mother in both games and the Singing Dragons in Blue World.
Blue World is obsessed with albinos. A good chunk of the legendary creatures are albino, as is the bottlenose dolphin partner.
How We Got Here: Blue World opens on the player character interacting with several "strangers" and being guided towards a massive underwater ruin... and then the backstory kicks in for the rest of the game.
In-Universe Camera: When in third-person mode, any kelp, small fish, etc. pushed aside by the camera are actually due to Kat's "unmanned, remote-controlled minisub" following you.
In-Universe Game Clock: Different creatures can appear depending on if you dive in the daytime or at night. Furthermore, the first game actually cycles through a whole year which further alters what you can find as animals enter and leave Manoa Lai depending on the seasons.
Luck-Based Mission: Anything involving a zoom-in point which doesn't shine beforehand in the first game. This includes a number of the smaller creatures and roughly half of the salvage items.
Made of Iron / Unstoppable Rage: Thanatos is completely immune to the pulsar gun. Needless to say, exploring his section of Ciceros Strait is a royal pain.
Magic Realism: The incredibly varied wildlife, all of the sea's animals being tame and friendly to humans, and the Manoa Lai artifacts and legends all seem to be best explained by something other than science.
The sequel fixes the Misplaced Wildlife aspect and the main plot is more Alternate History than magic, but the side quests include chasing a magic blue bird that can appear anywhere in the world, fetching items for a tiki idol, and "The Voice of the Night Sky" rewarding you for finding constellation coins scattered all over the world.
Misplaced Wildlife: Lots. Averted in Blue World, which has varied, round-the-globe environments to host all those fish.
Blue World also makes sure that, in the event that an animal does show up where it shouldn't, the characters specifically point it out and puzzle over how it might have gotten there. One sidequest actually has you rescuing some saltwater fish who've wandered into a freshwater area and have become very sick as a result.
The first time you go there you even find a Minke Whale trapped upstream.
Also subverted; all your dolphin pals except for the tropical ones get misplaced once they follow you home to sunny Nineball Island. Particularly the river dolphin. The river dolphin that you get by taking along a dolphin from the Arctic.
Mouth Flaps: Despite there not being any actual voice work in the game. Even your character Mouth Flaps without even having textual dialogue.
Nature Spirit: It's hinted that some of the legendary animals are more then just animals. Thanatos and the Ancient Mother are the prime examples of this but the Blue Bird also seems to be more then it appears.
Opening the Sandbox: Blue World has a few locations which have limitations imposed on you. Once you do what the plot requires you to do there, you are provided gear which allows you to explore them at your leisure.
Overly Long Gag: Recruiting the last dolphin partner in the sequel. "Present your X to the lady!"
Random Encounters: A non-enemy example in the first game, in the form of "zoom-in" spots to look for the smaller creatures like sea slugs; their positions would shuffle around between dives. Blue World turned these spots into static Pre Existing Encounters.
Hayako: "What is with Finley always turning up when we're talking about him? Is he watching us?"
Roaring Rapids: There are a few of these where the character has to hold onto their dolphin partner to swim against them. In other cases, you get blown back with a "The current is too strong" message.
Salvaging For Sole: There's an awful lot of trash hidden in unexpected parts of the ocean, such as empty juice bottles found near sealed containers of valuable ingots. But then, of course, this can definitely be Truth in Television depending on how often a given location gets human traffic.
Also Oceana insisting you keep the plesiosaur a secret.
Sealed Evil in a Can: The Magu Tapah, which you have effectively released by befriending the orca that was guarding said can, and bringing it away from Ship's Rest.Oops.
Sea Monster: The Ancient Mother. She returns along with a whole slew of Legendary Beasts including an actual plesiosaurus in Blue World.
Series Mascot: The bottlenose dolphin. There are also people who claim that the emperor angelfish or bicolor parrotfish are the game's mascots, due to their both being extremely common.
Shown Their Work: Some of the game's detractors say it has a little too much information about fish sandwiched in. Fans say that's just part of its appeal. Blue World tones down the factoids considerably, but there's still a great deal to learn.
There are a couple of mistakes, though. They're few and far between, but they're there: for example, the false killer whale you befriend in Blue World can apparently find items with its "keen sense of smell". Cetaceans have a highly-developed sense of taste, but they have no sense of smell in the conventional sense, as their nostrils are closed off most of the time.
Soundtrack Dissonance: Each theme was specifically crafted for one area, and can sound rather silly if you choose to play it somewhere else - for example, filling the cheery little Coral Forest with Ominous Latin Chanting.
Spell My Name with an "S": The North American releases tend to change up character and location names. "Manaurai" became "Manoa Lai", and C's frequently become K's (Oceanides/Okeanides, Catherine/Katherine).
In the sequel, however, the air gauge is more realistically timed, but can still be lengthened by improving Diving Skill and buying regulators and support tanks (the tanks that say "support" in the name, preceded by a capacity; all the others are just cosmetic and only otherwise good for getting the title for having all the tanks).
Super-Persistent Predator: Averted in the second game; sharks, caimans, and piranha will attack you, but will not chase you for too long before they give up.
Thanatos plays it straight, but it's implied that he might be more than what he appears.
Surprise Creepy: Don't let the lack of combat and mostly serene atmosphere fool you, these games have some awfully scary parts.
Take Your Time: An overriding theme of the series as part of its laid-back, tranquil atmosphere.
Talking Animal: Blue World has two possible examples, both during side-quests.
The first is the blue bird, though whether this is an illusion, telepathy, real speech or something else is never explained.
The second would be during the dolphin-gaining sidequest. The Commerson's dolphin seems to be able to speak. Furthermore, any companions back on the boat can hear him/her over the radio. Once the dolphin becomes your partner, this detail is never mentioned again.
Temple of Doom: Mo'ia Atoll, an actual temple, though the worst booby-trap there is a jet of water which impedes your progress. Okeanides has similar water-directive traps, but also houses several dangerous fish that can deplete your oxygen quickly.
Also, Valka Castle, with lionfish and a trick door that locks you in; the Spirit Falls ruins, with caimans, switch-pulling puzzles and a convenient location.
Theme Naming: Three characters in Blue World opt to go by their initials. Salvage master Gaston Gray goes by "GG", salvage client Franklin Fischer is "FF", and there's the mysterious, amnesiac acquaintance of Nancy's who goes by "ML" who could well be Jean-Eric's son Matthias.
Timed Mission: Technically you can only spend x number of minutes underwater at a time due to your oxygen tank depleting, but you receive a straighter example at Blue World's finale as the whales cause the ruins to collapse.
Title Drop: Kat does one at the end of the original:
"And we can keep trying to protect this amazing, endless ocean of ours."
In the sequel, the scene where Matthias' letter is read drops both the series title and this installment's NA subtitle. Also, the series title is part of the title for completing that same chapter, the final one in the main story.
Turtle Island: After you rescue the dog, you can find him barking at an island during the day, but the island suddenly disappears. When you go diving near the area, you will eventually find a Legendary Creature: A giant Leatherback Turtle whose shell is easily mistaken for a small island.
Thoroughly Partially averted in the sequel; merely brushing up against a lionfish results in the player getting bars off his oxygen gauge knocked away. (you can still poke it, though) However, a whole new series of problems opens up from the wider range of locations. Such as wearing only swim trunks/a bikini in to the Arctic/Antarctic with no ill effects, including onto the land excursions.
Hayako developed a *snicker* special insulating wax that you rub all over your body, remember?
Normally diving hours are restricted. Divers are forced to use tables to calculate the amount of hours they can safely dive on a day, depending on the depth and time they already spend underwater. None of the characters follow these rules however. In RL they would all get serious illnesses.
We might call that an Acceptable Break from Reality, as otherwise the game might become a bit annoying to play (something that can and does sometimes happen to simulation games that try to be too realistic).
The ease which you can deep dive in both games is taxing the suspension of disbelief, because you go to depths usually reserved for only the most professional. The worst however is the fact you can take a 15 year oldnote minimum, but not too much older than that, at any rate to that depth. You do NOT take minors deep diving, ever. The depth can cause serious permanent damage to a growing body.
In the aquarium, you can display the following in the Main Tank at the same time: predator and prey; natural enemies; and freshwater fish and saltwater fish. The first two are also true of the Marine Life Annex. In all cases, it seems like a recipe to lose one, the other, or both.
With the exception of a few plot-related sequences, you can always go back to the boat, no matter where you are or how deep you are, even on the threshold of running out of air, even surrounded by aggressive creatures. Real-life divers cannot take that kind of liberty with their air, especially as surfacing too quickly has its own problems... and you can run yourself so low on air that you would have no other choice, but it will never matter in-game.
Where It All Began: The Great Aqua Cave is one of the first places you go in the first game, but you return to it later on and enter the White Room.
Where the Hell Is Springfield?: The Manoa Lai region is vaguely placed in the South Pacific Ocean, which isn't exactly known for being small. Blue World started averting this with the help of an in-game globe.
Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: Ironically, Kat is severely aquaphobic. Her father Patrick died while on a dive when he got tangled up in kelp and eventually drowned. Seems fairly reasonable that she might have an aversion to diving after that.
Some fans have gone a little bit overboard with this, no pun intended. There are some (very complicated) theories involving the game's internal mythology and specific bits of dialog/mail that suggest that she might either turn into a mermaid or cause some sort of catastrophe if she ever enters the sea. Wild Mass Guessing at its finest.
Widget Series: Boy howdy. Not many gamers knew how to react to a franchise which, compared to other games, really has no ultimate goal, even though SimCity has been doing that for years.
The World Is Just Awesome: Any time you discover a new major landmark, you're given a cinematic pan-around to showcase it from the best angles. And of course, then you can explore them at your leisure.
Workplace-Acquired Abilities: Oceana illuminates all nearby zoom-in spots and can offer tours of landmarks; Gaston notifies you of nearby salvagables and holds onto five extra items; Hayako provides a radar of nearby species and allows for reviewing of special fauna behaviors (read: cutscenes); and the helper dolphins swim you around faster and can locate specific types of salvagables.