My obsession with micro manage/open ended games has taken itself to a new level with the new Nintendo Wii game Endless Ocean. And my friends shake their heads in disgust….. Somewhere in between “Aerobiz” (for the SNES) and “Harvest Moon” (for the Gameboy SP) my friends lost all respect for me and my gaming pleasure. While they are enjoying blasting each other in yet another first person shooter, I have found an abundance of enjoyment in an open ended “action-less” game.
The true essence of “Endless Ocean” is in the exploration of the ocean. It is a scuba diving “simulator” (i use that term very loosely, only to describe the atmosphere) game in which you spend countless hours discovering different parts of the ocean and it’s inhabitants. The goals that are set forth for you are just side projects if you are looking to add some purpose to your evening. There is no time frame for the objectives that range from “surveying a coral reef” to “finding a certain fish”. You don’t even have to complete them if you don’t want to. But I find certain feeling of accomplishment with each objective that I tackle and an load of fun in basic exploration of the ocean.
The control scheme is very basic. You use the Wiimote for a point and click style movement of your diver. You can also toggle through the menu to “return to the boat” or “feed the fish” with the directional pad, making for a very easy control design. I wish that they would have integrated the nun chuck for more features because it seems that it can be difficult to get a good view on a fish with the point and click system. Once nice feature is the “auto swim” in which you can press a button and all you have to do is direct your diver which allows you to cover longer distances in a shorter amount of time. It is a “no frills” control scheme.
This game is not for your hard core “shooter” type gamer, but is geared at your gamer who loves open ended wandering. The underwater visuals are stunning at times. They really drive the Wii and it’s graphic capabilities and they only enhance a great experience. Making you feel immersed into the settings as a large fish swims by or you wander over a reef. It can be breathtaking.
The only objections that I have with the game are these: You don’t have the ability to wander from “diving zone” to “diving zone” so the ocean isn’t truly endless because you have to get back to the boat to get to the next section. Secondly is only a minor complaint in the fact that the “surface” graphics are that of what you would see in a Playstation game. They spent a load of time on putting together some great dive areas and atmospheres but the surface views leave something to be desired. They make you feel like you are in a dumbed down version of the “Sims” and somewhat cheapen the games overall flavor.
I have not even tapped into the online capabilities of the game which include diving with a friend, but if you have a Wii friend code and this game please drop me a line. I would love to check this feature out.
At $29.99 this game is a great bargin for the hours of fun that it provides. Just don’t expect action and play with an open mind, and you should enjoy it’s total diving experience.