Review: Endless Ocean: Blue World

Greg Tito | 2 Mar 2010 09:00
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You may think that a game like Endless Ocean: Blue World won't appeal to you at all. The first Endless Ocean was a glorified diving simulator which led some people to complain that it wasn't a game at all. I was right there with you guys; I could barely muster up the interest to slip the disc into my Wii. A title centered on diving was so out of my gaming wheelhouse that I thought I'd hate every blue-tinted minute of it. I don't even like seafood.

I was wrong.

Let me put it in game terms you can understand. Have you ever tried to get all of the achievements in a game? Do you get a special kick out of completing quests in an RPG while collecting crafting materials and leveling up your riding skill all at the same time? Have you ever gotten a kick out of finding something in the sand, and wished it was part of some grand story involving sunken castles and ancient treasure? Do you have a completionist gaming attitude that drives you to purchase every unlockable item and level up everything? Is there a part of you that needs to explore every part of the map? Do you have even a passing interest in marine biology?

If you answered yes to one or more of those questions, then there is more than enough game in EO:BW to keep you occupied for hours more than most titles out there. There's just so much to do. You can concentrate on the adventure story. You can collect ancient coins. You can design your own private reef. You can take clients diving for specific creatures, or you can take on photo assignments to snap pictures of marinelife for magazines. You can befriend aquatic mammals and teach them tricks. You can curate the three floors of an aquarium in Japan. You can salvage goods from ancient Greek shipwrecks in the Aegean Sea. Through it all, you are rewarded by leveling your skills and given currency which you can spend on more collectibles or better equipment to further advance your diving abilities. Even some of the items you purchase open up quests, stories to be told and even more things to achieve.

But the beauty of EO:BW - strike that, the beauty is the fish and other creatures you encounter, more on that later - the best designed part of the game is that it doesn't force you to do any of these activities. You are free to progress however you like and the game incentive-ises each of them so that they do not feel worthless. And each system is integrated. I found it satisfying every time I recognized a new species of fish and was rewarded with another ding. That fish was then added to my encyclopedia of marine knowledge back on the base at Nineball Island and I could add it to a tank at the aquarium in Japan.

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