I know this game isn't for everybody, but it's a guilty pleasure for me. It's weird that I like it so much since it's barely even a game. It's missing two key game components: a challenge and a way to lose. It's just a fun and relaxing experience that captures the wonder of scuba diving without the tension of "I'm gonna die down here!" I'd say I don't recommend it if you're a hardcore gamer, but then again I consider myself to be a hardcore gamer. It's strange how many hardcore gamers like this game. So I'll say this. What's your favorite part of Skyrim? If you'd say the exploration like I would, this game is for you. (copied from my Blue World review)
Endless Ocean proves that a game doesn't need blistering action, rapid music, and endless objectives to be fun. This is the perfect embodiment of the gaming principle that relaxation gaming can be fun. You literally cannot fail in Endless Ocean; if you don't achieve an objective -- and they're all optional -- you can try again as many times as you like. Ignore objectives altogether and just enjoy swimming and the beautiful scenery. There is so much to be gained by just enjoying the world and taking a relaxing swim. On an HDTV, it looks even better. If you're looking something to get your pulse pounding, forget this one; its job is exactly the opposite. You can swim during the day or at night, in a wide variety of locations, with a large selection of options. Cool, calm, beautiful, and, amazingly, educational. That's right, parents: your kids can actually learn a fair amount about ocean ecology and biology from this title. Make it a family event. But, better yet, put the kids to bed, shut off the lights, and go for a swim.
Endless Ocean has something for both casual gamers who want to have a relaxing time and dedicated completionists.
The Good: Believable creature models and environments; you're free enough to play it at your own pace; great original music score.
The Bad: Terrible human models; barely a real "game"; cheesy new age songs.
Endless Ocean is an underwater diving simulator and as such it does a good job in accomplishing its first "directive": to deliver some relaxing undersea exploration experience without lots of "whys" and "hows" for the casual player. Those who like marine biology or just want to have a nice ease playtime will be easily lured into it by the nice representation of fishes, big mammals (including whales and seals), birds, crustacean and pretty much every other possible sea-related life form.
Of course, the Wii is far from being a graphics powerhouse by any means but well-choosen textures provide a nice final result in this front--except for human models, which are just empty plastic shells. -.-
More than that, the game even shines in the memorable occasions it offers you the opportunity to face--and interact with--huge beings like the Atlantic Northern Right Whale or the Giant Squid. (Achieving this degree of epicness by creating some truly breathtaking moments without cheap graphic tricks is something Arika should be proud of.)
The objectives in the game aren't really compulsory, so you'll get several "quests" to perform every now and then--people asking for guided divings, fish photos for magazines--but they can just be ignored and you'll be fine anyway. You can't die either, so it's totally on the easy side to fit the casual "Blue Ocean" (no pun intended) market Nintendo aimed so well in this generation of consoles.
On the other hand hardcore gamers tend not to dig Endless Ocean for the very same reasons, but if you're the completionist type there are plenty to unlock and uncover (and there's a good chance you'll feel compelled to do so): a fauna encyclopedia to fill in (and creatures change depending on where/when you dive), a map to unfold, historic relics to scavenge, secret places to find, a major local legend to clear up (and ultimately "beat" the game) and more.
It's easy to mistake Endless Ocean for another careless shovelware Wii release, but one couldn't be more wrong in this case since Arika took the hard route by really trying to offer something for everyone--and succeeding.
I would say this game is a good resource for education and understanding of the underwater world. Where this game lacks is unfortunately in excitement and once the initial game mechanics and wow factor of the underwater experience wears off it does become very repetitive and at times too slow paced to hold attention for long. The game does shine in the slow paced tranquility of exploration and creates very nice environmental effects, sounds and visuals to immerse people into the underwater experience. Overall, I would say that whilst they have created an interesting concept, lasting appeal is likely for enthusiasts of the subject or for younger players who just want too swim around and see nice fish and marine creatures. I am also a fond swimmer and interested in marine animals, but I think what this experience does is just make you want to do the real thing rather than play it, and anybody with opportunity to do is likely not sitting playing a game about it.
SummaryThe beauty of Endless Ocean is that players can do as much or as little as they like. The relaxed and calm atmosphere of the game gives divers the freedom to explore special locations such as shipwrecks and underwater ruins, discover and interact with sea-life, complete fish logs or simply relax in the soothing environment. The game open...