,Wildcard’s Score Card - Endless Ocean
Endless Ocean is a leisurely paced exploration game for the Wii. While there are certainly tasks offered up for the player to complete, most of my sessions have been spent simply swimming around, looking for new fish, seascapes, and hidden treasures.
The seascape and creature design is fabulous. It’s very easy to let yourself be immersed in the game, focusing on its beauty and serenity. As been pointed out in every review, both positive and negative, the game is extremely tranquil and relaxing. What’s more exciting to me is how different Endless Ocean is from standard game fair. Somebody took a big risk with this, but the Wii’s casual audience and Nintendo’s commitment to providing unique casual gaming experiences created a perfect situation for a game like this to flourish. On a previous gen system, titles like this would be released and whither into obscurity, but on the Wii it has surfaced as a potential hit…or at least cult hit. I purchased it specifically because I wanted to support these sorts of games. I’ve spent the last four nights playing nothing else because the game is so darned good.
While the graphics are gorgeous, they are limited by the Wii’s power, and occasionally something will look awkward or move poorly. Because the game focuses totally on the experience issues like these that would be nothing on a standard action-type game are distracting in this one. The above water graphics are relatively crude, but also irrelevant. Your human partner in the game, a biologist character, has some personal issues in the storyline which I found annoying. In a game that is essentially stress-free, having an in-game character with personal problems was distracting to me. You have to ‘talk’ to her to find out what’s next in the story-line missions, but after a short while, I really didn’t want to. While I wasn’t talking to her, the plot-line (unessential as it is) stalled and I found myself getting bored with the game. Once I realized what I needed to do next, the enjoyment level jumped back up again.
Anyone who has complained that video games are in a rut, recycling the same ideas over and over again, should check out Endless Ocean. That said, it isn’t for everyone. It’s obviously a casual game, so people who only like high-octane action/strategy-fests will find little to stimulate them. For those of us who enjoy more sedate experiences, Endless Ocean delivers exactly what it promises. In other words, if you think you’ll like it, I think you’ll love it.
Endless Ocean is a bargain title at only $30. I’m hoping it’s a hit so more EO titles, with enhanced graphics and even larger areas to explore are released, and more games like EO are created. This game, rendered with the power of an Xbox360 or a PS3 would be unbelievable. Even on the Wii, it’s wonderful and remarkable. What shortcomings the game does have are largely unrelated to the core activity – exploring an amazing undersea world. While they lower the scores on mainstream game media reviews, they have very little impact on the overall game experience.