Reviews: Endless Ocean

A World All It's Own

My experience with Endless ocean was at best amusing and at times boring. The first game lacks any real challenge. That does not detract from the fact that the game is beautiful, jaw dropping even. I would be lying if I said my heart didn't beat a little faster while exploring the Abyss or that my eyes didn't bug out the first time I entered the caves. However beyond the visuals and exploration the game seems oddly disjointed. The story is cohesive enough and even interesting, but something about the execution is slightly lacking. Overall not a game I would buy, but certainly worth renting.

Blue World on the other hand is an entirely different story. Set 2 years after the first (ironically this is the amount of real-life time that passed between the games) Blue World fixes nearly every problem with the first game and then expands upon it. Didn't like the fact that you were stuck in one location? Now we have ten or so. Didn't like the lack of combat? Now you can engage in PG level fights with sharks (They tail smack you instead of bite and you blast them with sound waves instead of killing them). Did the out of place wildlife annoy you? We fixed that. Would you like a more in-depth story with interesting characters? We got that now.

Literally every minor and major complaint I had in the first game is fixed in Blue World and they actually did some things I wasn't even expecting (diving in fresh water for instance). Blue World is defiantly worth more then just a rent, mostly because completely beating the game is likely going to require 100+ hours of game play. Overall both games are fun for anyone looking for drama, exploration, beautiful environments, or even just a relaxing game you can use to unwind after a grueling session of Call of Duty.

This game is So Okay Its Average

In addition to being the one who launched this article, I'm pretty much the only person ever to neither love nor loathe this game. It combines three of the things I really look for in a game (open-ended exploration, Under The Sea portions, education value that doesn't interfere with the story) with... I don't know, something missing.

Let me elaborate. The game feels shallow (no pun intended) because there are a profound lack of stakes. No, I'm not talking about the whole eschewing-combat thing, nor am I attempting to make a comparison to Castlevania. I mean the way it all feels like you can, at any time, return to the surface and stop all this at the push of a button (as indeed you can). That's why my favorite part of the story is when you go to search for the White Mother. Sure, you can go back to the boat at any time, but you'll break poor Kat's heart. That's an example of how deep, involving gameplay can be crafted without resorting to actual danger or combat - a standard to which the rest of the game, sadly, does not live up.

So go ahead. Buy Endless Ocean. It's certainly a great game - the open-ended exploration is ingenious and immensely fun, and all the real species of fish caused a little biology-nerd squee from this and surely many other tropers - but it is, sadly, just a great game. Not a great experience.

Blue World - A Surprisingly Improved Sequel if ever there was one.

I played and unlocked all areas in the first Endless Ocean as a rental. I found it neat, but not really worth a purchase. Then Blue World came out and blew me the heck away.

Basically, if "yee pretty dolphins!" and "yee pretty fishies!" are valid reasons for you to enjoy a game, as it is with me, this game is awesome. I don't know how much fun it might be for the non-yee-pretty-fishies crowd, so if you're not sure I'd give it a rental.

If you've played the first Endless Ocean and enjoyed it, well! The sequel is about ten times more awesome, with a better plot (such as it is), a lot more variety of stuff to do, and many more locations and pretty fishies to look at, including an Amazon River tributary with freshwater species. Also, some animals are actually dangerous this time around, and have various ways of either calming or avoiding them. Of course, it can be a bit narmy since nothing ever tries to actually eat you and the worst that happens is your air meter goes down some, but for the early stages of the game it can provide some excitement. Fundamentally, though, the game is still a relaxing one.

Since the game is nearly completely centred around swimming about looking at pretty things, the graphics are very nice, at least to my non-HD eyes. One unlocks four basic "mission" types as the story progresses: giving guided tours, taking photographs for magazines, treasure hunting, and giving dolphin shows with the assistance of wild dolphins and small whales that befriend you. There's also an aquarium to take care of where you can show off all the pretty animals you've met, and quests and special requests noted in your handy-dandy notebook. Any of your dolphin partners can come diving with you, and there's also three human characters who will join up with your diving service: each partner, human or cetacean, has their own specialty.

This is a very long game. The story isn't, but once it ends almost everywhere is open for exploration, and there's a donkey-load of crap to do, as well as titles/achievements you can earn for doing everything from befriending dolphins to doing set numbers of missions to getting attacked often enough.

Excellent game if it's your thing, and much improved over the first.