|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|
Because of this game's fairly laissez faire approach to actually giving the player anything to do, I really feel no sense of direction or purpose in actually participating in what is basically an interactive scuba diving video. While this game may not speak to the kind of gamer that I am, it can easily be a great thing for players who normally feel pressured by video games to constantly try to complete objectives and advance through them. The game is so concerned with not pressuring you that if at any point you actually feel like you are doing too much, you can just sit on a chair on your boat and stare off into the distance until you wish to begin diving again. Since there are no real goals or objectives present, there is also absolutely no way to fail. This is one of the major reasons why I have a hard time classifying Endless Ocean as a video game. That debate aside, Endless Ocean is an extremely tranquil and unique interactive experience.
Graphically, this game is like an actor who only wishes to be photographed from a certain profile. While underwater, this game is stunningly beautiful, especially for a Wii title. Everything from your diver to the fish and plant life look and move realistically. The water effects look fantastic, and there are also some amazing looking lighting effects noticeable as the sun filters down through the water. Endless Ocean's ugly side comes when you leave the safety of the game's underwater paradise. The character models really lack detail and are fairly painful to look at, especially while in motion. Your boat and most of the visible terrain look rather jagged around the edges as well. Fortunately, most of this game will be spent below the surface so you won't be forced to look at its ugly side frequently or for extended periods of time.
The tranquil nature of this game is further captured by its soundtrack. The music in Endless Ocean is so soothing that it could honestly put you to sleep in the middle of a Fourth of July fireworks display. It does really help to set the mood of the game but if you find yourself nodding off, you can actually just play your own music. Endless Ocean allows you to plug in an SD card so you can listen to your own MP3s. While I don't think you were meant to explore the depths of the ocean while listening to heavy metal, it is a nice option to have.
Endless Ocean is definitely an interesting experience. Whether you will enjoy it or not really depends on the kind of gamer you are. If you really enjoy action, plot, intense gameplay or objectives, you will most likely not want to even attempt to try this title. However, if you are more of a fan of slow paced, easy going, exploration filled collect-a-thons, then Endless Ocean should be right up your ally. Either way, if you are looking to get lost in an absorbing underwater world, this is certainly your destination.
CCC Freelance Writer