Thursday, October 13, 2011

The Great Gaymathon Review #39: Endless Ocean (Wii)


Game: Endless Ocean
Genre: Adventure/Simulation
Developer: Arika
Publisher: Nintendo
System: Wii
Release date: 2009

Would it shock you if I said that this "scuba simulator" is one of my favorite Wii games thus far? Well, it is. I know what some of you are thinking in response to that admission: Isn't this the title that was derided as a "non-game" upon release? Why, yes, it was. And you know what? All of the folks who declared Endless Ocean unworthy of attention (because of its supposed non-game status) were wrong. To me, it's a piece of software (a "game," if you will) that could and should be enjoyed by everyone from so-called hardcore gamers to those oft-criticized "casuals" thanks to its one-handed (in terms of controls) and open-world--or maybe I should say open-ocean--approach. Admittedly, there aren't any enemies in this game, although there are plenty of scary-looking (and not-so-scary-looking) creatures to touch, photograph and examine in it. And that, really, is the point of Endless Ocean--to explore the depths of the make-believe "Manoa Lai" sea and interact with its many inhabitants. Thankfully, said sea is made up of a number of disparate areas, including caves and trenches, and also features additional points of interest like ship wrecks and sunken treasure--all of which are wonderfully realized despite the Wii's underpowered hardware. Also wonderfully realized: Endless Ocean's ethereal soundtrack, the majority of which is made up of songs performed by "operatic pop" singer Hayley Westenra.


See also: Previous 'Great Gaymathon' posts

10 comments:

Retr0gamer said...

I have both the endless ocean games and have only played about an hour of the first game. I really liked what I played. It was so relaxing, no need to rush. I'd love to get the time to beat both of them.

Bryan Ochalla said...

Oh, definitely go back and play some more of the original, Retr0gamer. It certainly improves after the first hour. Just wait until you discover some of the more amazing caves -- and the deep-sea trench! I've heard the sequel is even better, but I've yet to play it myself.

Viewtiful_Justin said...

Anyone who plays games with me knows that water levels terrify me, but a water GAME with no enemies? I think I could play that...I've always wanted to see if I could stand it or if it would give me nightmares...

Balloonfighter said...

I really love this game. So far from all the shooting games I'm tired of.

It's a shame though that Endless ocean 2 was kind of crappy. You could run out of oxygen, there were some clear missions and worst of all: you had to shoot sharks.

Bryan Ochalla said...

Water levels terrify you, Justin? Why's that -- and how did you get through Ocarina of Time or Super Mario 64??

Anyway, yes, you should try this. The game's literally about swimming around in the ocean. Nothing ever attacks you in this game, although I've heard they can do so in the sequel.

There are some creepy moments, of course, since some of the creatures and locales in this game look mighty strange, but that's it.

Really, I have to get back to this one, or get the sequel. I completely loved what I've played of the original (which is quite a bit!).

Bryan Ochalla said...

Hey there, Balloonfighter! Oh, that's too bad that you didn't like Endless Ocean 2. I thought the general consensus was the it was better than the original? Oh, well, I still want to try it. If it's crappy, as you say, at least I can still play the original :)

Balloonfighter said...

It's still pretty fun to be honest but I guess most people prefer it because it has a more video gamey approach, but what I loved about the first game was that is was almost like an interactive screen saver. It made me calm. :)

Bryan Ochalla said...

Ah, yes, I can see that. Personally, I love the open-world, do-what-you-want approach of the original. It's great to just swim around and explore the sea's various locations -- and look for new ones. Ahhhhh :)

apricotsushi said...

Yet another Wii game I have to pick up eventually! Retrogamer mentions playing it to completion though–how do you do that if there are no real goals?

Bryan Ochalla said...

Hey there, Anne! Actually, I didn't know until now that it can be played through to completion. Although I've played the game for a number of hours (more than 20, I would guess), I never reached a point that seemed like it was nearing an end. I'm guessing it involves something like finding all of the locations and seeing all of the fish/sea life? That's all I can imagine at this point...