Monday, February 11, 2008

Preview: Endless Ocean

Endless Ocean (2008)
Developer: Arika
Platform: Nintendo Wii
Purchase Date: 02/08/2008

It is strange what the Wii can do to a "casual experience" game like Endless Ocean. It has gotten great reviews from the press when its previous incarnation Everblue 2 for the PlayStation 2 was a complete flop in the eyes of many industry critics. It is in its core the same game. Since the Wii is so mainstream now, even something as uniquely oddball as this game becomes synonymous with that expectation. Since this is a good sign that people are more adventurous and accepting of different video gaming genres, who am I to complain?

Swim freely in the ocean without getting eaten by a great white!

With Hayley Westenra's Prayer as the theme song of the game, you know that Arika is very serious about making this game a relaxing experience. There is a languid, lazy feel to the game where all you really do is jump into the ocean to view the sea life below and go back to your boat to gather yourself before the next dive. You get quests from the email messages retrieved from the boat but you can choose to complete them at your own leisure. There seems to be a catch to this though as the more you complete these quests, the more additional features are unlocked in the game.

You can stay under the water as long as your oxygen supply allows.

The game can be played online. Too bad Wii's friend code system really makes it hard for you to jump in at anytime you want and swim with someone who happens to be online at the moment. On the deck, there is an option to listen to mp3 files that are saved into the SD card, a brilliant addition to the game. Graphically, this is a great show of what the Wii is capable of. The underwater environment is realistic; I cannot wait to encounter the larger creatures on my future visits. The game hints that the sea life that can be found changes depending on the in-game time and seasons. A promising title that has a subtle way of getting you to play more, especially if you like to discover things for yourself.

The best description of the game.


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