Endless Ocean - Scuba Diving for Wii

January 23, 2008 by Scuba Herald 

BRINGING NEW MEANING TO the term ‘immersive gameplay’ is Nintendo’s latest adventure title. Endless Ocean is not Arika’s first foray into the world of scuba diving; both of their previous PS2 titles Everblue and Everblue2 followed a similar vein so it wasn’t such a stretch for them to produce a next-gen version for the Wii.

Endless Ocean sets you up with a boat, a diver and some basic scuba kit with which you explore the tropical depths of the fictional Manaurai Sea; observing, photographing, identifying and interacting with marine life as you dive amongst coral reefs, shipwrecks and underwater grottos. You can elect to dive alone or with a companion – either a dolphin you have befriended and trained or another player over Nintendo’s Wi-Fi connection. Controls are via the Wii remote and are fairly simple to learn.

Expect a 10 minute learning curve as you learn to ’steer’ your diver and manipulate the somtimes fiddly onscreen cursor. While the game is open-ended you frequently receive direction in the form of e-mail requests, with objectives such as locating sunken antiquities and playing underwater tour guide. Successful completion of these will unlock new equipment and gadgets to enhance future dives.

Adrenaline junkies be warned: the violence and thrill factors in Endless Ocean are non-existent… completely flatline. There are no shark attacks, no opportunities to harpoon the local marine life – or each other – for kicks, no risk of suffering from the bends or encountering other diving-related hazards. The closest you will come to excitement or danger is when the background music warns you of straying into an unsafe area or losing sight of a client.

Speaking of music, the whole experience of diving the reefs amongst shoals of exotic fish is complimented by the addition of several tracks by our very own Hayley Westenra. There’s no denying her voice is perfectly suited to this particular game’s environment, however if her music is not to your taste you can use your MP3 player’s SD card play to your own soundtrack when relaxing on the boat.

While in-game graphics don’t exactly fall into the ‘jaw-droppingly stunning’ category, they are decent enough to create a convincing illusion of being underwater. Bubbles wobble up to the surface, ripples affect the play of light and shadow and tiny particles move in the underwater currents. Animations are fluid and realistic, with sea creatures behaving much like their real-life counterparts. Despite the many different locations to explore, there’s no getting around the fact that your basic seascape changes very little: sand on the bottom, the odd rock formation or school of fish, with lots of blue water everywhere. This aspect may prove too visually repetitive for some players.

The game does have its breathtaking moments however; nothing compares to swimming alongside an accurately scaled whale for sheer impressiveness – except perhaps for the real thing, but who among us are likely to experience that? Endless Ocean has gone a long way towards bringing the realm of a privileged few into every Wii owner’s living room… minus the associated risks and cost.

In a sea (no pun intended) of action-packed, adrenaline-pumping titles on the market today, here is game offering a refreshing change of pace which is suited to all ages. With its open-ended nature, mellow soundtrack and simple, stress-free gameplay, Endless Ocean may well be the ultimate chill-out game… and you might just learn a thing or two into the bargain.

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One Response to “Endless Ocean - Scuba Diving for Wii”

  1. Garry Gamer on September 1st, 2008 1:42 pm

    Not as good as the real thing. But I think it’s good in that it can inspire kids to take up diving.

    Garry Gamers last blog post..Nintendo Wii Accessories

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