Endless Ocean Blue World review
Diving Into a New Adventure
If you have read my reviews in the past you would know I am a disciple of casual gaming merriment. Customizing my virtual character with perky clothing, decorating my virtual home with eastern style furniture, creating my virtual life to encompass my aspirations; I enjoy it all. Though slow paced, casual game play is an acquired taste, Endless Ocean Blue World takes these flavors and forms something completely innovative for the Wii system. It takes the sweet we all loved from the original game and improves those features to amend the faults we noted. It takes the bitter and corrects the mistakes we all saw past. It takes the salty and smooths out the ripples that impaired the original games quality, and it takes the sour and turns a once scrutinized flavor into one anyone can enjoy.
Tongue analogies aside, Endless Ocean 2 dives into a sea of welcomed plot depth, developed characters, and stimulating features. This is not just a step above the original game, this is a leap into unexpected quality.
One of the many improvements over the predecessor would be the expansion of the plot. Endless Ocean 2 remains a casual game and allows you to do as you please, however, to unlock new areas to dive you will have to get yourself through the story of the game. To outline the story without giving anything anyway, you play as an inexperienced diver who wishes to work at L&L Diving Service who offer many of the services you'd expect to use on your journey, such as taking photos and and gathering lost treasure. You soon find yourself absorbed with researching and unlocking the mystery of the Song of Dragons. With the help of a small cast of characters the mystery unravels itself into a story of depth and enjoyment. The game is slightly text heavy, but the plot is so engaging that it is not a pain at all to read. The comical parts of the dialogue are amusing and have nice timing, but it does not diminish the storyline, but instead adds to the gratification.
Endless Ocean, the original installment of the series, only introduced two main characters, not including yourself, as well as others who came and went from time to time. Their personalities were not all there and it was hard to relate with them. In Endless Ocean Blue World we see a huge improvement over this. The game has a quirky cast of unique characters ranging from a seemingly innocent entrepreneur to a fearless, yet slightly obnoxious, treasure hunter. The game truly develops each character and takes us into their backgrounds with optional side quests. Aside from the main cast, we also get to meet many other characters along the way with just as interesting characteristics. The emotions are represented well in the game and you'll find yourself feeling just as sorrowful or optimistic as the characters.
The plot is not the only aspect of the game that received heavy improvements because just as well, the game play features have been enhanced along with completely new features to add to it. Old tools such as the feeding tool, camera, and underwater pen are all back in your supply, but new tools such as the Pulsar and Multisensor have been added. The first allows you to calm predators such as sharks and crocodiles to halt their attacks, while the latter allows you to search for treasures on the sea floor. These treasures can be sold back on Nineball Island and with the money you can purchase new diving equipment to alter your appearance or your tool's quality. Nineball Island, your home island, houses most of the features and you will spend a good amount of time there. On Nineball Island you can take diving, photo, or treasure requests, train your dolphin partners, decorate your island, change your appearance, view records of the fish and treasure you have recorded, keep track of plots, characters, and collectibles, and view your achievements. You will never have nothing to do in this game and you'll constantly be searching for rare treasures, completing difficult achievements, or finding hidden locations.
Diving is just as easy and fluent as the previous game. The slow swimming pace may dishearten you, but it will eventually become normal. You can also increase speed by swimming with partners. The game has two control methods, one with the Wiimote and the other with the Classic Controller. The Wiimote system does not use the nunchuck and is extremely simple to use. You hold B to swim and point your Wiimote in the direction you want to go. You use A to interact with the environment and occasionally use the d-pad to access your inventory and other options. The second setup using the Classic Controller is very similar, how ever it eliminates the need to point in the direction you wish to move. The analog sticks guide movement and move the on screen pointer, L to swim, and A to interact. Overall the controls are extremely simple to understand and it really is enjoyable when you can sit and play a game without having to know a hundred different combinations of controls.
The graphics of Endless Ocean Blue World have noticeable improvements over its prequel. No longer will you find an abundance of areas that are just detestable to the eye. The beauty flows throughout and any direction you look makes for a great photo. Even in the swampy rivers you can find artistry in the underwater plants and sea life. Caves and underwater buildings are a joy to explore because of the refinement in the graphics. Light bounces off the walls from the large standings windows and elegant chandeliers hang from the ceilings. The sea life only enhances this with brightly scaled exotic fish and large, intimidating whales.
Many players of the original can recall the music. Not only was it different then anything you may have been used to, but it really fit the game well. Hayley Westenra sang most of the songs for the game and the mysterious, deep feeling of those songs added to the sensation of the plot. Endless Ocean Blue World brings back some hints of Celtic music here and there, but mainly the music is environmental without lyrics. It is not the same, but it does set the mood nicely.
Other features include the ability to dive with friends online and also use WiiSpeak. Also on a side note, Endless Ocean Blue World does have a handful of side missions that obviously are speaking out about real life issues including pollution and harming sea life, but it does not flaw the game. Just be aware they may clash with your own opinions, but that is not a reason to not play this.
Casual games are not for everyone, and while Endless Ocean Blue World does bring in the addition of some action when challenging vicious predators, it still remains a slow paced game. There are no bloody battles with pirates wanting to steal your treasure. There are no fights to the death with man-eating sharks. There are no super powers to give you the ability to destroy every goldfish in your path. This is game that requires you to sit back, enjoy the beautiful scenery and music, and take in the game for what it really is.
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