|System: Wii||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Arika||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Nintendo||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: Jan. 21, 2008||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-2 (online)||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Adam Brown
When looking at the three next generation consoles, it is clear that Nintendo definitely decided to go in a different direction than their adversaries. Instead of heavily focusing on HD and processing power, the Wii has been all about accessibility and unique gameplay experiences. While there has been a veritable ton of sloppy ports and shovel-ware on the Wii, there have also been quite a few decent and unique experiences available as well. This is definitely the category that Endless Ocean finds itself in. Endless Ocean is completely different than any other game that I've played. This is both the game's greatest strength and its greatest weakness.
When you begin the game, you will get to customize your own personal diver. The options here are very limited, but you will unlock more of a variety as you play through the game. Once you are done with that, you will speak with Katherine, your friend/boss, who will catch you up to speed on how to play the game and what you will be doing. Basically, your main objective, if it can be called that, is to just explore the waters off of the coast of the fictitious islands of Manoa Lai. While the ocean isn't endless as the title suggests, it is fairly large and full of really interesting things to explore. You will need to venture into underwater caves, abysses, and many other fairly beautiful and exotic underwater locations.
While exploring, you will also need to develop and catalogue a working knowledge of the indigenous aquatic life. There is a massive amount of diverse marine life for you to discover and interact with. You are given three options for how to learn about these animals. When you spot a creature that you haven't learned about yet, you will need to point the Wii-mote at it and press the A button. This will make your diver focus on it, similar to the Z targeting found in Zelda titles. Once you are focused on an animal, you can either feed it, touch it, or pet it. Feeding is a menu option, while touching and petting are handled by pressing the B trigger and holding the B trigger and shaking the Wii-mote respectively. Each animal will react differently to these interactions so you'll have to figure out how best to learn about your subjects. While this isn't incredibly fun, it does work rather well, and much of the information that you attain is fairly interesting. There are three levels of knowledge for each subject, which definitely adds longevity to this game. Unfortunately, it also becomes insanely tedious trying to interact with the same fish over and over again to learn more about them.
Aside from learning about the sea life and some underwater exploring, there is really not much else to do in this game. Every once in a while, you'll receive a request to take a picture of a certain fish or a request to be someone's diving guide but neither adds much fun or challenge to the game. These "missions" are also entirely optional, meaning that you can actually just completely ignore them. You can also find sunken artifacts during your dives and fill your own personal aquarium with any of the fish that you have learned about. While the artifacts that you find are somewhat interesting and fun to discover, the aquarium in this game doesn't seem to serve any sort of purpose. Since you can't learn more about the fish while interacting with them in your aquarium, you really have no reason to ever use it. If you would like to see a certain species of fish, you can just as easily dive wherever those types of fish normally appear. Doing this will allow you to interact with these same fish but also grant you the ability to learn more about them at the same time.