Only Nintendo could get away with releasing a ‘non-game’ title like Endless Ocean 2: Adventures of the Deep. Actually they have made a mountain of money with ‘non’-games’ on their DS and Wii platforms. Now don’t get me wrong, ‘non-games’ have just as much, if not more, entertainment value as the latest and greatest shooter or RPG, to the right person. What is it that makes a ‘non-game’ you ask? Well think along the lines of edutainment or interactive environments, something where time and direction have no real affect on the outcome. There is also no negatives for any of your actions, no shark bites or bends to worry about. How’s that for child friendly.
The very lose plot that attempts to tie Endless Ocean 2 together consists of you joining a diving charter business in the South Pacific. This in turn leads you on a mysterious search for information about the Song of Dragons apparently the key to a magnificent treasure. Basically this is just a cover to allow you to dive in oceans and rivers around the world to carry out the real aim of Endless Ocean 2, catalogue all the fish, coral, and other underwater and amphibious things. There is also treasure and other artefacts scattered about for you to find. It’s all quite relaxing and in some strange way, therapeutic. Control is all carried out by pointing the Wiimote and clicking to examine fish or highlighted areas of interest. Luckily you have a fantastic item called a Pulsar with this you can heal sick fish or even calm down man eating sharks, all via electromagnetic pulses. Handy.
Your base of operation is Nineball Island (won in a game of nineball pool the diving charter owner). Here, just like all good ‘non-games’ you can purchase items to make it all look pretty. Hammocks, deck chairs, different dive gear, it’s all there. And in an interesting twist I even found a Golden Labrador washed up on a deserted island beach so now even ‘Goldie’ resides on Nineball Island. The jetty at Nineball Island is where you can teach your new found dolphin friends new tricks, or call the local merchant in to hock off some of the treasures you find. She is also the source of all the goodies you will want to turn your Island into Club Med. Your desk, which sits happily on the beach has all you photos, catalogued fish, and dive log to save your game. Sleeping in the cabin or hammock will pass time so you can go diving at different times of the day and night to see different fish.
Visually Endless Ocean 2: Adventures of the Deep is up to scratch, but in the era of high definition gaming the Wii’s standard definition graphics are starting to show their short comings. Yes I know, I shouldn’t compare this to the HD consoles but lets face it, that is what the Wii is competing with. SD graphics can still work with the cartoon look of Mario and Zelda but when trying to replicate the real world it starts to look a bit rough. The soundtrack is suitably soothing with Enya-type music to help you unwind as you swim through the water. If you tire of using the Wiimote you can also use the Wii Classic Controller instead which is nice. And if you have your Wii connected to the internet you can go diving with friends and if you also have the Wii Speak peripheral you can chat while diving.
The biggest thing Endless Ocean 2: Adventures of the Deep has going for it is the fact that I never played the first one. While I have found plenty of enjoyment in playing it, I can’t imagine it getting much play from someone who has the first one. That is unless you are a huge fish or diving fan. It is something different and about as family friendly as you can get so if you are in the market for something to play that won’t frustrate you in any way then this could be for you. Endless Ocean 2: Adventures of the Deep is an enjoyable and relaxing title but one of little reward.
Due for release 25/2/2010.