I received an email last week from Nintendo, informing me of the January 21st release of their Wii game Endless Ocean. I'd never heard of the title, but some cursory research quickly earned it my preorder.
Endless Ocean is a scuba-diving simulation game developed by Akira. This is notable because Akira has already proven their expertise in this environment with Everblue 2, which ,despite the relatively low score I gave that PlayStation 2 title, is one of my favorite games for the system. Much of my distance from the current state of gaming is due to its increasingly violent nature, so to find a game that involved all exploration and collection and no combat or weaponry was a welcome relief. Diving into the great unknown and discovering lost ships and treasures was neither "relaxing" nor dull; it was exciting, as was seeing how deep one could dive while leaving enough oxygen to permit a safe escape. The temptation and risk to search down just one more corridor is omnipresent.
What I've seen of Endless Ocean looks like it's more focused on the natural environment and its inhabitants than Everblue 2's claustrophobic wrecks:
I'm not sure I find coral reefs as fascinating as ship graveyards, but for only $30, I'm willing to give it a go. At the very least, the Wii interface will offer the series enough innovation, perhaps featuring environmental interaction similar to that of Metroid Prime 3.
The song featured in the above trailer is "Prayer", by Hayley Westenra. It is available on her CD Odyssey. She also contributed the song "Pokarekare Ana", which I already had from her Pure CD after seeing her perform with the Boston Pops in 2004.
So any impressions of the game now that you have it?
Rob, thanks for asking. As I suspected, the game does not offer the engagement or staying power as Everblue 2. Almost all the environments to discover are naturally-occurring ones (caves, chasms, etc.); the items you find are for collection, not use; and there's no town of people to interact with or to buy and sell equipment in.
That said, it is a very pretty and calming game.