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Endless Ocean 2: Adventures of the Deep (Wii) Review

Review for Endless Ocean 2: Adventures of the Deep on Wii - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

After the positive critical reception for Everblue and Everblue 2 on the PlayStation 2, Arika was signed by Nintendo to develop the idea further, although this time exclusively for Wii. The result was Forever Blue / Endless Ocean, a game that garnered quite a cult following, proving to be a real sleeper hit. Now the development team is back with Endless Ocean 2: Adventures of the Deep on Wii, considerably expanded ocean-diving and an in-depth journey of exploration in tow.

At its heart, Endless Ocean: Adventures of the Deep (or Endless Ocean: Blue World as it is known as in the US, ditching the Forever Blue moniker of the first outing) is more of an educational adventure, rather than an out-and-out gaming experience, which is highly refreshing indeed. The videogame side has not been completely removed, however, so there is no fear of alienating the 'core' crowd entirely. Players take control of a rookie diver, eager to learn more about the ocean, with its multitude of hidden treasures and secrets, inclusive of the legend of a mystical melody called the Song of Dragons. Intrigue gets the better of you and university is put on hold as a visit to the Paoul Republic in the South Pacific becomes the order of the day. Finding yourself in the employment of the R&R Diving Service, a small family business, one day there is a strange occurrence as the pendant of the owner's granddaughter, Océane, gives off an odd noise that scares off nearby animals and causes a humpback whale to go crazy...and so the adventure begins.

Océane is a young girl that has become a first-rate diver due to spending the majority of her life at sea with both her father and grandfather. Since her father, Matthieu Rouvier, a French ocean adventurer and Jean-Eric's only child, is no longer around, the renowned former marine adventurer of a grandfather is her sole guardian. Following a particularly bad case of decompression sickness, he set up the R&R Diving Service on Nineball Island and has been relying on Océane to make ends meet. As a result, she has become great at finding small fish and acting as a guide to show people around certain areas of the deep sea, both of which come in very handy as you start to learn the ropes in Adventures of the Deep. Other characters you come across along the way include GG (Gary Gray), an ambitious American salvage diver, and Hayako Sakurai, a brilliant marine biologist from Japan with PhDs in multiple areas such as archaeology and marine veterinary science, despite only being in her early 30s, both of whom lend their talents to your cause during the epic underwater journey.

Screenshot for Endless Ocean 2: Adventures of the Deep on Wii - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

There are six different diving spots to visit around the world. Whilst this may sound limited, each area is brimming with new types of marine life to discover, hidden sections to uncover, plenty of missions that need to be completed, plus a seemingly endless supply of buried items to search for. Developer Arika has really gone to town on packing Adventures of the Deep with as much content as possible to alleviate the concerns gamers had with the first Endless Ocean. Hours can fly by as players gently swim around, identifying new creatures, reading up on the details added to their journals on local areas and species found within, salvaging new treasure that must be evaluated when back on dry land, or even taking the most interesting photos to store on an SD card for sharing with friends later. This is by no means the sort of adventure where its conclusion is reached in one sitting. Instead, it is definitely one where keeping an eye on the clock might be well advised, or else the majority of a day can be lost with ease!

Different areas are unlocked the more you play, with the initial location being Gatama Atoll, a tropical ocean paradise that is wildly adored by divers due to its colourful coral and fish. Soon after you are able to head over to the Ciceros Strait. This is the channel that runs between the outlying islands of the Cyclades group in the Aegean Sea where care must be taken to avoid sharks and many sunken wrecks can be found. Other locales around the globe include the North Coast of Canada (in the Arctic Ocean, frozen all year round and home to polar bears and seals), the Weddell Sea (between the Antarctic Peninsula and Coats Land, relatively unknown and a place where new species are still discovered every year), the Cortica River (an Amazon tributary in Brazil, complete with narrow channels and muddy water that reduces visibility), and the Zahhab Region in the Red Sea (off Egypt's east coast, sporting a breathtaking coral reef and lots of whales!).

Screenshot for Endless Ocean 2: Adventures of the Deep on Wii - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

When Endless Ocean 2 was first unveiled, some thought the initial screenshots were up-scaled to look better than they actually were. However, in motion the visuals truly are splendid. The human characters look rather reminiscent of Dreamcast models, but the marine life and underwater surroundings are simply stunning, with a high level of detail throughout. There are plenty of relaxing tunes, augmenting the laid-back atmosphere in general, as well as a few songs, such as The Prayer (which some may recognise from the popular Celine Dion and Andrea Bocelli rendition) and Adventures of the Deep's title song, which is an amazingly serene version of an old Irish folk song called Carrickfergus that leaves you with a feeling of floating around in peaceful waters.

Simply reading about what is on offer does not fully convey how immersive the whole experience is. For someone that is not the biggest fan of open-ended games like Animal Crossing and Harvest Moon, falling for Endless Ocean 2 came as a complete shock. Those hoping to zoom around the depths of the sea will be disappointed, as the pace of swimming is extremely laid back, yet the leisurely nature is definitely a huge part of the game's overall charm. As more money is earned, however, new equipment can be purchased, such as new flippers to increase swimming speed slightly, new oxygen tanks to allow for longer periods underwater and special gear to conduct night dives. In order to garner to cash, though, it is necessary to undertake some of the game's extra missions.

Your character is equipped with a Multi-Sensor, which sends out an electro-magnetic wave that detects various material types, helping to source the location of treasures submerged on sea or river beds. Treasures must then go through an appraisal process on shore by an expert and can be sold for profit, be they items ancient treasures or merely peculiar knick-knacks. Looking through your logbook book will also reveal new quests where specific items must be found in certain locations. These quests vary, such as having to deliver a completed map of an area (meaning the whole section needs to be scoured thoroughly), whilst others involve taking photos of certain aquatic creatures, undertaking guided tours for customers intrigued by the watery depths, conducting requested item searches for clients wishing to find lost treasures, or merely providing a recommended diving spot to find certain animals. Money can even be made from healing creatures of the sea...

Screenshot for Endless Ocean 2: Adventures of the Deep on Wii - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

The Pulsar gun that Jean-Eric betroths unto your good self is a special piece of equipment that can not only calm agitated or fierce animals, to avoid unnecessary conflict, but also cure injured or sick creatures. When equipped, you can see different coloured targets over certain species, with the intensity of the colour indicating how sick they are. Simply point at them with the Wii Remote and fire a submarine pulse to cure; the more creatures you aid, the more money in your pocket! On top of this, you can even become an Aquarium Curator, putting your favourite animals on display to attract more and more visitors, which in turn again leads to further 'compensation' heading your way. Any extra money left over from buying new equipment does not go to waste, thankfully, as there is a private reef where new types of coral and underwater plants can be purchased and placed there to create your very own ecosystem, with the your choices having a direct effect on what kinds of fish visit. Your hairstyle and the style/colour of your equipment can also be changed to suit your mood, along with your character's title, several of which you pick up during the adventure. Your chosen status is visible when diving with a friend via Wi-Fi; speaking of which, the Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection only allows players to go diving with a friend in Europe, not worldwide, and you can talk to each other using Wii Speak.

Other aspects of the game include dolphin training, where your companion can learn new tricks and sings for treats; feeding and touching creatures of the sea, befriending them to learn more interesting facts; focusing on any of the 300+ species to add entries to your personal journal of information; trying to find all of the species in the first place by diving at different times, seasons and phases of the moon; taking underwater photographs, setting the focus and aperture for impressive results; as well as getting to grips with the numerous tools that facilitate your diving sessions (like an underwater pen that can mark your path, or a sea whistle that lets your call your animal partner, as well as certain other creatures). Endless Ocean 2: Adventures of the Deep is a truly moving experience that should be tried by all.

Screenshot for Endless Ocean 2: Adventures of the Deep on Wii- on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

Gameplay

Simple and intuitive controls, a wide array of equipment to use and missions to undertake, as well as lots of fun facts to learn along the way.

Graphics

Whilst the human characters may look slightly odd, the attention to detail on the marine life and underwater locations is simply superb, making this one of the most attractive Wii games so far.

Sound

Beautifully serene instrumental tunes, with the odd relaxing vocal song to add variety, along with a plentiful supply of appropriate sound effects to make it feel like you are indeed submerged in the deep ocean.

Value

Obviously there are some restrictions, but Endless Ocean is certainly an apt title for this adventure, and hours can fly by without noticing.

Cubed3 Rating

9/10
Rated 9 out of 10

Exceptional - Gold Award

About this score
Rated 9 out of 10

Arika has taken the core of the first Endless Ocean and developed the idea for Adventures of the Deep so considerably that it has easily become one of the exemplar products on Wii, full stop. Its serene, peaceful nature lulls players into the world, whilst it is the great depth of content within that keeps players gripped for hours at a time. This is certainly an experience that should not be missed out on.

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02.02.2010

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Developer

Arika

Publisher

Nintendo

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  9/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  5/10 (6 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date TBA   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date TBA   

Reader comments - add yours today Comments on this Review

There are no replies to this review yet. Why not be the first?

I'd like to play this.

Great review Adam. Smilie

I'm sure a few will be a bit disappointed that it doesn't include a worldwide option for Wi-Fi, but I'm not too bothered about it.

It sounds like there's a lot more to it than the first game. I'll definitely be picking this up sometime.

Senior ModeratorStaff Member

I'm hoping Nintendo gives this a significant push in Europe, since it's definitely the sort of game that would appeal to families. There's enough intriguing action for the gamers, the serene, calm exploring elements for parents to enjoy, and the whole educational factor that will appeal to all groups.

My wife, for instance, is always a good gauge of what appeals to the more casual sector. She doesn't enjoy gaming, other than the odd puzzle game (Tetris and Puzzle League, especially!). However, she happily sat watching me play EO2 for a fair few hours. The soundtrack and visuals made her relaxed, whilst discovering new info appealed as well (like finding a bird called a Booby on dry land, then later seeing it dive into the ocean and swim along next to me, looking like it was flying underwater!).

This has the potential to be big here in Europe, so I hope it gets the chance to shine!

Adam Riley < Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited >
Word of Adam | Voice123 Profile | AdamC3 on Twitter

Nice! A few questions:
- Is the info provided in this game real? Or are they teaching me fictional stuff about the waterlife?
- How do the levels work in comparison to the first game? There you couldn't stray too far from the boat, which apparently led to frustration. How does it work here?

I'm glad I didn't cash out €15 for the first one. I'll get the sequel instead. Smilie

I'm thinking that this game will be amazing with some cannabis.

Senior ModeratorStaff Member

Canyarion said:
Nice! A few questions:
- Is the info provided in this game real? Or are they teaching me fictional stuff about the waterlife?

Yep, real locations and real info...as far as I can tell. There are definitely a large batch of names and snippets of info I remember from a marine wildlife show I accidentally caught a lot of a couple of months ago!

- How do the levels work in comparison to the first game? There you couldn't stray too far from the boat, which apparently led to frustration. How does it work here?

Really? Not the case here...you swim far from the boat most of the time. There are different diving spots that unlock when you've scoured an area sufficiently, meaning you can start off again at a specific spot, rather than always the same place. This comes in *very* handy when working on some missions. Say, for instance, you need to take a photo of a rare species...and you know roughly where to find it. With the variety of diving spots it stops missions becoming chore-like, having to slowly swim from a locked position each time.

Any more Qs, just let me know :-Smilie

Adam Riley < Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited >
Word of Adam | Voice123 Profile | AdamC3 on Twitter
Senior ModeratorStaff Member

jesusraz said:

Yep, real locations and real info...as far as I can tell.

If the first game is anything to go by there will probably be one or two fictional sea creatures towards the game's climax.

So while I'm not so interested in the game myself, my brother is. Here's another question Smilie

Does the game support music from the SD Card like the first game did?

Twitter | C3 Writer/Moderator | Backloggery
Senior ModeratorStaff Member

I didn't try that, to be honest, but there was nothing I could see on the options screen and there's been absolutely no mention of it in ANY of the Press Releases or on either the US or European websites.

I never touched the first game because I honestly thought it wouldn't appeal to me in the slightest. From what I've heard about it, though, it appears that was merely 'testing the water' (har har!), whilst for Adventures of the Deep Arika has been given more room to 'push the boat out' (*chuckles*) Smilie

Adam Riley < Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited >
Word of Adam | Voice123 Profile | AdamC3 on Twitter
Senior ModeratorStaff Member

Okay folks, this is out today in Europe! Anyone planning on picking it up?

Also, has anyone seen TV coverage at all?

Adam Riley < Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited >
Word of Adam | Voice123 Profile | AdamC3 on Twitter
newbie (guest) 06.02.2010 00:07#10

I bought it and its great!

Senior ModeratorStaff Member

Just saw that there is a video of both this and FFCC: Crystal Bearers up on the Nintendo Channel. I wonder if that will help bolster sales at all. Guess we'll find out on Monday when Chart-Track updates!

newbie (guest) said:
I bought it and its great!

Glad to hear you're enjoying it! Have you got any thoughts about the game so far that you can share with other readers?

Adam Riley < Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited >
Word of Adam | Voice123 Profile | AdamC3 on Twitter
Reimu (guest) 19.02.2010 11:29#12

This is a bit random but the rendition of the song "The Prayer" in the game is, I believe, by Celtic Woman. If anyone was interested.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YPiCVuSOzmI

Senior ModeratorStaff Member

I'm glad you included that link, to be honest! Here's the version of Carrickfergus by Celtic Woman that is on the title screen:


...and the Scooter song that samples it is here Smilie

Adam Riley < Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited >
Word of Adam | Voice123 Profile | AdamC3 on Twitter
the frogman (guest) 10.03.2010 19:57#14

but it isnt able to touch the fish that`s a big - with the game

CelticWomen (guest) 30.03.2010 02:22#15

I cannot wait for this game! I'm getting it for my b-day soon!Smilie

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