Game Review

Endless Ocean 2: Adventures of the Deep Review

USA USA Version

Posted by James Newton

What lurks beneath?

2007’s Endless Ocean was a true original: a diving game that made little attempt to be a game, basing most of its gameplay around just touching fish. As part of the Touch Generations range it clearly appealed to enough aspiring divers to merit a sequel, but it’s certainly changed from the inviting warm waters of the Manaurai Sea.

This time around the game takes in seas and rivers all over the world, from the tropical Gatama Atoll to the Antarctic’s Wendell Ocean, with the species and ecology changing accordingly, bringing a far greater variety to proceedings. Interacting with the fish is slightly different too – gone are the three levels of information, replaced by a single info screen, some unlockable trivia and a map of the animal’s habitat, showing where you can find higher concentrations of each species in the game. It’s a small change but one that removes much of the repetitive marine massaging from the predecessor, as well as making it far easier to track down individual fish when needed, a welcome enhancement. Two other major additions come in the form of the Pulsar gun and the Multi-Sensor.

Taking the Pulsar first, it’s a new kind of seemingly-magical gun that can both heal sick animals and subdue dangerous ones. Those requiring medical attention have a coloured reticule around them, showing the severity of their injuries, with as many as five or six accurate shots required to bring them back to full health. If you encounter a predator that requires subduing, a danger marker will appear on-screen alerting you to its presence, with a few Pulsar blasts sending it swimming away.

The healing aspect works fine with the game’s eco-friendly attitude, but the “combat” poses a few problems: for one, there’s no way to lock onto a target and fire, and the realistically sluggish turning speed makes it frustrating to track a fast assailant such as a shark. The combat elements are thankfully few and far between, but their presence interrupts the peaceful feeling of exploration and contentment that the original did so well. Granted, there is plenty of danger in the real ocean, but it’s one addition that feels unwanted.

Other new features are far more welcome. Initially you’ll only be able to spend a short time underwater, but going deeper and further increases your diving level, improving your breathing and allowing you to explore for longer. As you progress through the story, you’ll also be able to purchase improvements for your equipment, granting you a larger oxygen tank, extra charges for your Pulsar gun and more room to store your salvaged goods.

As in the predecessor, the ocean floor is teeming with treasure, and the new Multi-Sensor tool will pick up on any hidden secrets invisible to the naked eye. By sending out waves it can tell you if it finds items made of stone, wood or metal, as well as an indication of its size: if it’s too big, you’ll have to return after upgrading your bag, necessitating repeat visits in order to grab everything. It’s a nice gadget that fits in well, and it’s undeniably addictive to check every area in the hope of finding something amazing.

That sense of discovery is now extended above land, with the ability to walk on solid ground included for the first time. Having left the boat from the first game, you now live on Nineball Island, a small getaway you can customise with hammocks, telescopes and other trinkets. It’s not the only terra firma you get to explore though – bob your head above the water’s surface at certain areas and you’ll get the chance to go ashore, letting you interact with birds, lizards and more for the first time. The land controls aren’t quite as intuitive as they could be – holding (B) moves you forward with the Remote pointer used to direct, but it feels a little slow. It’s not a huge problem – on Nineball Island you can open your menu with a press of (+), removing any need to walk about, but it’s a shame it doesn’t feel as natural to walk on land as it does to swim in the big blue.

There's quite a lot of features on old Nineball Island, though. It's here that you accept quests, teach tricks to your aquatic companions and read much of the story exposition.The photography and guide side quests from the original return largely unchanged, though photo fans will be pleased to hear you can now transfer your photos to an SD card, which is a big bonus. You may see some of our shots around this review or as the first five images on the game’s screenshots page. Graphically the title is improved but not in any enormous way: textures still repeat and there are some issues with animation on smaller fish, but it has just as many moments of beauty and the larger fish and mammals look stunning. Sadly there’s no ability to listen to your own mp3 tracks using the SD card; a shame as some tracks get horribly repetitive, though you can adjust sound levels if you only want sound effects or music.

If you don’t fancy using the Remote controls, you can plug in a Classic Controller to explore the ocean. The left stick functions as your pointer with the right stick turning your character, meaning you can examine areas of interest at the outskirts of the frame. It works well but doesn’t quite have the same feeling of inertia and physical involvement of the Remote scheme, and although it’s good to have it included you're unlikely to use it over the standard method.

Completing various objectives along the way unlocks different titles you can assign to your diver, with 150 in total to collect. There are titles for healing 100 fish, befriending a dolphin, visiting the aquarium and more, and with extra content available at certain milestones there’s plenty of incentive to explore the world and beat certain records. In fact, this is probably the biggest improvement over the predecessor: with countless quests, salvage items, titles, photographs and of course the fish and birds, Endless Ocean 2 is very much a completionist’s wet dream.

Taking the original’s core diving experience and adding more traditional game elements both helps and hinders Endless Ocean 2. On the one hand, there’s a huge amount more to see, and crucially far more to do – you can whiz through the story’s chapters in eight to twelve hours, but chances are you won’t want to, preferring instead to soak in the new sights and sounds. What was once a simplistic diving experience is now fleshed out with gadgets and guns; you’ll rarely dive without a mission or objective in mind, which means the pleasing pleasure of diving for diving’s sake has been subdued somewhat. You’ll still want to take a dip just to see what’s going on, and with the Pulsar, Multi-Sensor, titles and more there’s weeks of content here, and that’s without going into the online play with Wii Speak support, which sadly we were unable to test out at the time of review.

Conclusion

Essentially, you’re getting a lot more game for your money with Endless Ocean 2; it’s less free-form and meandering than the original, with greater purpose and direction. Whether that’s what you want from a diving game is up to you, although truth be told there’s few other alternatives. If you liked the first one, you’ll enjoy the sequel every bit as much; if you're still a diving novice, it doesn't get better than Endless Ocean 2.

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User Comments (44)

grenworthshero

#1

grenworthshero said:

I liked the first one a lot, and I welcome the changes in this installment. While the first one was a lot of fun, and confusingly so, as it is the most lax game I've ever played, I wouldn't mind a game with a little more structure. What's the point in making a sequel if it's not going to make some changes?

WolfRamHeart

#2

WolfRamHeart said:

Wow, you guys scored an early review copy! Very nice! I never played the first game but I'm definitely interested in this one. It just looks really cool. I'll be picking it up as soon as I can.

"Endless Ocean 2 is very much a completionist's wet dream." I see what you did there James.:D

AUnkownFuture

#3

AUnkownFuture said:

Seems like a great game to play but im low on money so i cant get it.But hey at least it got a good score.Great Review James keep it up.

Kid_A

#4

Kid_A said:

Sounds like a great game but I need to get Final Fantasy: CB and Tatsonoko vs. Capcom first.

Gavin_Rozee

#5

Gavin_Rozee said:

Got it preordered. Loved the first one, so would be getting this anyway, regardless of reviews.
Your review mentioned the lack of .mp3 support. Do AAC's/m4a's work?

The_Fox

#6

The_Fox said:

The first one bored me to tears, but its nice to see such an unique title get a sequel.

BL_Donth

#9

BL_Donth said:

The perfect game to play after playing beat 'em ups with lots of button mashing.

ejamer

#10

ejamer said:

Thanks for the early review. I'm really excited about this game and look forward to playing it.

I've been curious to find out if Endless Ocean 2 would totally replace the first one, or just act as a nice complement. From the review it sounds like the first game does enough things differently to be worth keeping, although the second is probably a better choice if you don't already own one?

motang

#11

motang said:

I never played the first one, and I might play this one either. That being said that doesn't these are good games. :)

moomoo

#14

moomoo said:

Wait, so I can't shoot narwhals with harpoons? :(
I'm still thinking about buying it. I've always enjoyed games with a sense of discovery like this.

Egg_miester

#15

Egg_miester said:

i liked the first one and i'll buy this one but its a shame that it be released nearly at the end of next month

Chrono_Cross

#16

Chrono_Cross said:

I'm going to check this game out when it hits shelves. (Renting it ofcourse.)
And to say the least, the graphics look really good.

AVahne

#18

AVahne said:

Excite Trucks lets people use their SD card music, how come we aren't seeing more games with this feature?

Machu

#19

Machu said:

Gaaaaaaahh... I... must... have... NOW!

Wii-Speak with water and fishies, ah yeah! Gimme!

EDIT: btw james, you found the word to describe EO.... contentment, mmmmm

DK_vs_KK

#20

DK_vs_KK said:

I dunno. Is the Endless Ocean series kind of like "My Aquarium" for Wiiware? Because "My Aquarium" didn't hold my interest very long. :P How much $ is Endless Ocean 2?

BrainBoxLtd

#21

BrainBoxLtd said:

How exactly does "combat" work in this game? If you get attacked and injured are you forced back to surface and have to start over? And are you constantly warding off aggressive animals, or is there a set amount and once you pacify them you're free to explore until your next dive?

Mr_G

#23

Mr_G said:

Man i cant wait for this game. I loved the 1st game and this looks so much better.

James

#24

James said:

BrainBoxLtd - A warning icon will flash on screen, and if you're attacked you'll lose a portion of your air supply. If that depletes, you automatically retreat to your boat. Usually you just have to pacify one animal, but sometimes there are groups of sharks and that's when it becomes a chore.

LEGEND_MARIOID

#25

LEGEND_MARIOID said:

Looks and reads like a superb game. Nice revw.

Unfortunately, I have too many games in front of this one to get over the next 6 months or so. The first one was decent, but I found we weren't playing it enough so I cashed in and sold it on.

I'm tempted to get this.

suburban_sensei

#26

suburban_sensei said:

@DKvsKK: I just looked it up on Amazon. In the US it is called Endless Ocean: Blue World, and it sells for $30. I think I am going to pick up a copy, because the first was fun and relaxing to play. The lower price point also helps, considering this version looks quite a bit better than the first. In fact, thanks for getting the review up so quick, I just pre-ordered myself a copy...can't wait to play it!

AVahne

#27

AVahne said:

low price and stores like Gamestop are going to bundle it with WiiSpeak too!

giannis

#28

giannis said:

obvious purchase for me, and I do not forget to say, that I will not omit a visit in Aegean sea.

rjejr

#29

rjejr said:

Also didn't play the first one but am looking forward to this one for online multiswimming and WiiSpeak, both of which are severely lacking on the console.
Any chance you'll have something on the Wiispeak/multiplayer? I already pre-ordered it, as did my sister, but you get it 3 weeks before us so I'll still get a heads up.
We have My Aquarium - which was probably worth it for $5 for my 2 boys, and way cheaper than a REAL fishtank - but I expect this to be much better in graphics, longevity and fun factor..

Sephariel

#30

Sephariel said:

got it today, played in only for about 4 hours but im loving it. Great relaxing game.

James

#31

James said:

@rjejr - One of our other reviewers Sean Aaron should be getting hold of this one this week, so hopefully we'll be able to amend the review with a bit on the online play :)

Betagam7

#32

Betagam7 said:

"2007’s Endless Ocean was a true original: a diving game that made little attempt to be a game, basing most of its gameplay around just touching fish"

Sorry James but, aside from your statement on the game's originality, I have to disagree with the rest of that summary, which I feel further pushes the unwanted and incorrect stereotype that the first game has of it "not being a game".
For one thing, regardless of what EGM may feel, Endless Ocean is very much a "game". It has an evolving storyline, a core quest and a series of interesting locales to explore. That is the premise of the game; exploration and mapping while advancing the storyline towards your ultimate goal of tracking down the White Mother.
There are numerous sub-quests from treasure hunting to performing guided dives and marine photography assignments to take part, with "touching fish" only being a part of that gameplay and only a main requirement for those completionists wanting to 100% their marine log.

Aside from that I'm glad you were able to review the game and point out the inexplicable decision to remove SD music support from it: not because I ever used it to replace the first game's beautiful soundtrack but because, with this game apparently lacking the Hayley Westenra soundtrack that made the original, I was hoping to burn her CD to SD and recreate it with this one. It's rather sad that I won't be able to, However this will still be an instant buy for me as the sequel to one of the best Wii titles I've played.

darklinkinfinite

#33

darklinkinfinite said:

I pre-ordered this from Amazon a few weeks ago. For only $30, the MSRP for the game, they are (at least at the time I ordered) also throwing in a free WiiSpeak with the game, which will soon see further use in games like Monster Hunter and The Grinder.

biddenden_sue

#34

biddenden_sue said:

I've put about 11 hours into this over this wekeend, since getting it on Friday, and it is amazing. At first there seem to be too many cutscenes, and you start to wonder if you'll ever get a chance to dive freely, but you just need patience. One of the best games on the Wii ever. Period. Buy it!

Ristar42

#36

Ristar42 said:

This game is excellent - be a 9 for me as I love the atmosphere. I have the original, which was good, but the sequel is better - almost what Echo the Dolphin should be if he was still around...

cheesedude

#38

cheesedude said:

Picked this one up a few days ago and have been enjoying it so far. It really is more of the same, albeit with much more structure and objectives than before. There's around 350 species to collect and, as far as I can remember, about 500 objects to be collected and salvaged. Graphics look a bit aliased over component but it's certainly one of the better looking Wii games.

CoffeeWithGames

#39

CoffeeWithGames said:

I never played the first one, and almost rented it today. I'm holding off, because I'm really debating on purchasing this one instead of even renting the first one.

I remember finding out Nintendo had stopped shipping/producing the first Endless Ocean, and thought it was odd considering Endless Ocean(2) wasn't even out yet.

BTW, did James Newton get this game through download from Nintendo?

Colors

#42

Colors said:

I absolutely love this game! good music, great graphics, amazing story. In fact, this game is what's inspiring me to become an itchyologist. (scientist who studies fish.)

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