Wii

North America

Endless Ocean: Blue World

by Neal Ronaghan - February 23, 2010, 10:54 am PST
Total comments: 33

9

Nintendo and Arika make the endless ocean even bigger and better in this sequel.

The first Endless Ocean was very exploratory; you basically just swam around different ocean environments while performing menial tasks. There was no danger. It was just you, the ocean, and some harmless sea life. The game's sequel, Endless Ocean: Blue World, removes that feeling of safety and adds a whole lot more. Now there's a story to work through, an incredible amount of side quests, and more variety to the locales. To boil it down, Blue World is a fantastic sequel.

The game places you in the flippers of a new recruit of the L&L Diving Service, and the main story has you and your crew attempting to unravel the mystery of the Dragon's Song. The story isn't particularly gripping, having more in common with the slow, plodding pace of a Japanese role-playing game than anything else. You even add more members to your party as you progress.

The short main quest serves a grand purpose, though. It's a greatest hits compilation of the varied environments you travel to, giving you a taste of just about everything the game has to offer. The locales, which look great when you're swimming through them, range from the tried-and-true oceans of the original to a South American river, the Arctic, and the Antarctic. Each area is enjoyable and rewarding to explore; you find new creatures, trinkets, and more wherever you go. Some areas are unfortunately limited, though. For example, the river is extremely linear.

Outside of the main quest, there are countless side quests to complete and treasures to collect. You can go off and use your Multisensor, which detects hidden items on the ocean floor, to find salvageable items that can be used to get Pelagos (Endless Ocean's form of currency) or complete quests, which also net you Pelagos. Another new tool, the Pulsar, is a gun that is used to heal wounded animals and calm agitated creatures. You can also take people on dive tours around different areas, searching for specific animals.

There is also an aquarium that you unlock and become the curator of, and you can build up your marine encyclopedia and select specific animals to display in your aquarium. There are also coins hidden all over the ocean that unlock more things, all sorts of outfits and hairstyles to find and buy, legendary creatures to find, and more. There is a straight-up obscene amount of content in this game, and while it is all derived from the same basic diving mechanic, it manages to stay fresh throughout.

The underwater controls are wonderful with the Wii Remote. You point at the screen and lead your character around, making them move forward by holding the B button. The rest of the button placement is serviceable, with almost every button used to bring up a menu at the bottom of the screen and a nice map overlay. You can also use the Classic Controller, but the dual stick control scheme doesn't work as fluidly. Blue World is obviously made for the Wii Remote.

While the underwater controls are great, the on-shore controls remain as awkward as ever. Your rigid avatar moves slowly as you use the same pointer-based movement controls used for swimming. The main hub on land is Nineball Island. Luckily, everything there can be activated in a menu by pressing the + button. You can also pop out of the water in certain locations, and even go on shore to interact with some land-based animals.

As players perform all these tasks they unlock titles, which are effectively achievements. There are 150 to obtain, and they are gained for completing the main story, finding different animals, and the like. Blue World is tailor-made for completionists.

In addition to the sprawling single-player experience, you can also go online with a friend and explore the oceans together. While this was also present in the first game, you can now use the Wii Speak peripheral to talk to the other player. The standard Wii limitations, such as Friend Codes, hinder the online experience, but the use of Wii Speak is on par with how it works in Animal Crossing: City Folk. You can also snap pictures just like you could in the original, but this time you can save them to your SD card. Sadly, you can no longer use the SD card to play MP3s while you dive, so you're forced to listen to the sometimes bizarre, often Celtic music.

For anyone with an affinity for sea life and an appreciation of gaming at a slower pace, Endless Ocean: Blue World is a must purchase - especially since it's hitting stores for a low initial MSRP of $29.99. Regardless, Endless Ocean: Blue World is a great game rife with content, and it's a steal at any price.

Score

Graphics Sound Control Gameplay Lastability Final
8.5 6 8.5 8 9 9
Graphics
8.5

Blue Ocean looks great when it is underwater, especially as you interact with the sea life, but it is a completely different story when you're on land. Characters animate awkwardly, and everything looks muddy.

Sound
6

The music isn't awful, but it repeats way too often. If you like Celtic music this might be up your alley, especially when you get to the parts featuring a female singer. The removal of MP3 support is a downer.

Control
8.5

The Wii Remote controls, which make heavy use of the pointer, work well and make sense when you're in the water. However, the moment you're out of it, which happens more often than you'd think, you move awkwardly and slowly. There is Classic Controller support, but I wouldn't recommend it, as the Wii Remote controls are far superior.

Gameplay
8

There's a good deal of variety, but it is a bit slow-paced and repetitive at times. However, there is something fantastically alluring about the environments that makes exploring them entertaining and pleasant.

Lastability
9

With tons of extra content and 150 titles to achieve, there is a lot to do in Blue World. The main story is a bit short - about four to five hours - but with varied environments to explore and so much more, you could easily spend 20 or 30 hours with this title. The addition of Wii Speak to the online co-op is also welcome, and the multiplayer component is awesome.

Final
9

Endless Ocean: Blue World takes the young franchise from an enjoyable sea life sandbox to a full-fledged video game experience, with all sorts of bells and whistles. As long as you are a fan of the titular blue world, you'll have a blast with this game.

Summary

Pros
  • Beautiful underwater environments
  • Great Wii Remote controls
  • It's more of a "game" this time around
  • Large amount of content
Cons
  • No MP3/AAC support
  • Poor on-shore controls and graphics
Review Page 2: Conclusion

Talkback

MaxiFebruary 23, 2010

Excellent Review!
I will probably grab this in the coming days.

Hm, I added it to my GameFly queue yesterday, but I didn't realize that it's only $30. At that price, I may go ahead and pick it up with some Gamestop cards.

Fatty_The_HuttFebruary 24, 2010

Good review, thanks. Looking forward to picking this one up. I may even consider getting the Wii Speak. Anyone have thoughts about that?

GoldenPhoenixFebruary 24, 2010

I'm so getting this, I hope some peeps here will play with me.

greybrickNathan Mustafa, Staff AlumnusFebruary 24, 2010

Wonderful review! I think I am gonna get this instead of FF13...

A funny snippet from the review, " For example, the river is extremely linear." That tends to happen sometimes :) I get what you meant, but I still chuckled at your disappointment.

GoldenPhoenixFebruary 24, 2010

Quote:

Wonderful review! I think I am gonna get this instead of FF13...

Smart man, BTW what game is your avatar from?

Quote from: greybrick

A funny snippet from the review, " For example, the river is extremely linear." That tends to happen sometimes :) I get what you meant, but I still chuckled at your disappointment.

Haha! I'm glad someone caught that.

I completely understand that rivers are like that, but it doesn't make up for the fact that it is a slightly lame level.

greybrickNathan Mustafa, Staff AlumnusFebruary 24, 2010

Quote from: GoldenPhoenix

Quote:

Wonderful review! I think I am gonna get this instead of FF13...

Smart man, BTW what game is your avatar from?

That is the Wind Fish from Link's Awakening, friend. The fact that you haven't seen it means that you have an excellent game that you need to play/complete!

Mop it upFebruary 24, 2010

I guess it is too much for a review, but I want to know more about the multiplayer mode. How is it different that the single player? What kind of things can you do? Can you visit every area? What features aren't available in multiplayer (like, are there still dangerous creatures)?

Mop it upFebruary 24, 2010

Quote from: greybrick

That is the Wind Fish from Link's Awakening, friend. The fact that you haven't seen it means that you have an excellent game that you need to play/complete!

To be fair, I have played Link's Awakening but I did not recognize your author icon.

greybrickNathan Mustafa, Staff AlumnusFebruary 24, 2010

Quote from: Mop_it_up

Quote from: greybrick

That is the Wind Fish from Link's Awakening, friend. The fact that you haven't seen it means that you have an excellent game that you need to play/complete!

To be fair, I have played Link's Awakening but I did not recognize your author icon.

The fact that you didn't recognize it means that you have an excellent game that you need to replay! I kid, I guess many people didn't see it in color. I was one of the few on the playground that was rolling with the DX.

Mop it upFebruary 24, 2010

Rather, I saw it on a nice television as opposed to a tiny, dark 100x100 image on the side of a forum to which I pay little attention. :P

TheBlackCatFebruary 24, 2010

I have it.  It is great so far.  There is so much to do.  At least in the area I am in right now there is literally treasure everywhere, I can easily fill up my dive bag in a couple of minutes.  There are lots of sick fish to fix with the pulsar, too, although I am not sure why I am doing it yet.  I am not a big fan of having to stun sharks, but otherwise all of my complaints about the original title have been fixed (except for the on-land movement, as noted in the review).  One thing the review didn't point out is that the graphics and animations have also been greatly improved, as has the distance you can travel without having to surface and move the boat.

StogiFebruary 24, 2010

Is there anything important to actually listen for or could one just play their stereo over their TV?

Fatty_The_HuttFebruary 24, 2010

Quote from: Kashogi

Is there anything important to actually listen for or could one just play their stereo over their TV?

Haven't played this one yet but I do know it retains the ambient "diving" noises of the first game like the sound of your air tank (breathing) and water swishing. I think this is an important part of the game's immersion so I'm not happy with the suggestion that if I want to listen to my own music tracks, I can just turn down the game volume. Also, in the first game there were audio clues when there were areas to zoom-in on. A 'beeping" sound would go off and you could take a closer look and find smaller, rare fish or bits of treasure or collectibles. Not sure if that's the same in this sequel.

TheBlackCatFebruary 25, 2010

Quote from: Kashogi

Is there anything important to actually listen for or could one just play their stereo over their TV?

You can turn the music off entirely (music and sound effects volumes can be set independently).  As for the music, I haven't encountered any situation where it actually help, but it is definitely better to be able to listen to sound effects.  For instance there is a warning when your tank is getting low (which happens much more quickly in this game than the last one), sound effects that let you know you are getting too deep (which means you use up your air much more quickly, which is how diving really works), sound effects that let you know you found something with the multisensor, sound effects to let you know how close dangerous animals are getting, sound effects to let you know when you scored a hit with the pulsar, and so on.  Most of these also have visual displays, but because your attention is probably focused elsewhere it is easy to miss the visual feedback.  It is a lot harder to miss the sound effects.  In the first game sound effects weren't really important because you didn't really do much (except when your partner found something), but in this game there is so much going on they are much more helpful.  I played with the volume off entirely for a while, and the sound effects really do help.

StogiFebruary 25, 2010

Wow, i appreciate the feedback. That was very concise.

KnowsNothingFebruary 25, 2010

I told myself I wouldn't buy game since I didn't play too much of the original....but I caved.  The thought of just exploring the ocean while relaxing to an audiobook or something is just too tempting.  I should have it by the weekend, I'll post brief impressions.

I bought this last night and played it for a little while. I like it, it's very relaxing. Seeing all the undersea wildlife was a blast. I was all like "OMG WHALE SHARK!"

vuduFebruary 26, 2010

I hear there's a hidden Plesiosaur in the game but it's hard to find.

Are you...are you serious? Don't tease me, vudu!

TheBlackCatMarch 02, 2010

Quote from: vudu

I hear there's a hidden Plesiosaur in the game but it's hard to find.

About that:
It isn't the least bit hard to find.  Just make sure you keep filling in the maps, Oceana (the girl in the game) will eventually tell you where to find it.  She'll refer to at as a "black shadow" that someone using her maps found.  At first she will just mention it, but later on she will tell you exactly where it was seen.  At that point you can go see it.  It only appears briefly, though.

There is actually a whole series of "legendary" creatures like that you can find, several of which are described as black shadows, so you may find a few before you find the pleisiosaur.  Although if you fill in the maps in order, the plesiosaur should be one of the first legendary creatures you find.  There is also an anomalocaris, which is ten times cooler than a pleasiosaur, but I haven't found it yet.  The legendary creatures generally fall into 2 categories: large, sometimes deformed versions of normal creatures, and prehistoric creatures.  Some come up naturally over the course of the game, others will be pointed out by other players or mentioned in your notebook.  Some appear automatically at a certain point in the game, some appear when you complete certain tasks, some appear when you find or buy certain items, and some appears when you do a certain action with a certain item in a certain place (they will usually tell you what to do).  Unfortunately, at least at this point, you can't put legendary creatures in the aquarium, which is too bad.  I hope they unlock that ability if I make the aquarium popular enough or do some random grunt work for Hayako.

There doesn't appear to be any mantis shrimp, though, which really pisses me off.

I actually just "beat" the game, in that I got through the entire story mode.  Then they did something to really made me mad. The moment you finish the story, they seal off the last area you visit, and you have to earn a million bucks before they will let you back in.  Make sure you explore the area fully, do all the mapping, and salvage all the treasure before turning the wheel in the center of the room with the white whale.  Once you do that a scripted sequence starts and you have to leave.  There is still a lot to do, and the now-bored members of my team keep sending me off on random errands for their own amusement.  "OMG I need this seaweed!!!!!", or "Someone was being chased by a black shadow in antarctica, I know what it is but I'm not telling".  Hayako in particular is annoying, she sends me off on errands and then pays me with clothes instead of money.  They are cool clothes, don't get me wrong, but I need money.  I don't even have enough yet to buy the last piece of top-level gear, not to mention buy my way back into the final area.

Anamalocaris? NICE.

I think I found an Archelon last night. Some giant sea turtle with a Hawaiian name. Probably just a big leatherback, but I'm imagining that it's an Archelon. :-)

TheBlackCatMarch 02, 2010

Yeah, the description says it was just an overgrown leatherback.  As I said, there are a bunch of overgrown versions of normal creatures.  Thanatos is another example, and I have found a bunch more by this point.  I have over 80% of the creatures so far, most of those that are left are either legendary or tiny.

By the way, make sure you keep after the blue bird.  It gets you some of the best clothes in the game (IMHO).

Yeah, I keep forgetting about the blue bird. He flew off the dock toward Gatama Bay and I assume he's on an island, but I keep forgetting to explore the islands (though I did explore one and found the dog).

TheBlackCatMarch 02, 2010

Yeah, he appears on land somewhere in all of the areas besides the aquarium.  You also always find a new piece of clothing where he lands, which is nice.  The last three are harder because he only appears when certain environmental conditions are met.  He always tells you the next area he will visit and what, if any, conditions need to be met for him to appear.  I think he was actually put into the game specifically to force you to explore the land, honestly.  There are a number of things like that, where they force you to do some totally unrelated task in order to complete the task you really want.  For instance making you clear the maps to get legendary creatures, making you train your dolphins before it will let you clear all the maps, and so on.

Yeah. Question: How does the "Private Reef" work? I'm buying up all this stuff for it but I don't know what to do with it.

vuduMarch 02, 2010

Quote from: TheBlackCat

Quote from: vudu

I hear there's a hidden Plesiosaur in the game but it's hard to find.

About that:
It isn't the least bit hard to find. 

Seriously?  Man, I was just making up shit to mess with dino-boy.

TheBlackCatMarch 02, 2010

Quote from: Halbred

Yeah. Question: How does the "Private Reef" work? I'm buying up all this stuff for it but I don't know what to do with it.

Do you know where it is?  It is off the easy coast of the atoll area.  There should be a boat anchor spot near there.  You swim into it, then push the "1" button to pull up a list of stuff, which you can then place wherever you want.  The point is to attract fish, apparently.  I haven't really messed with it much.

But STOP buying stuff.  At this point you should only buy diving gear upgrades, you will need the money later.  Besides, the best cosmetic gear can't be bought anyway (although you do have to buy functional gear upgrades).

Well, sh*t. I got a giant bonus for completing the Gatama map, so I used that to buy everything else in the store. Now I simply CAN'T buy anything else from Nancy. However, supposedly I'm supposed to be able to get a new hairstyle. Haven't figured out how yet.

I think that, aside from the treasures, I'm pretty done with Gatama. Off to the Agean sea!

TheBlackCatMarch 02, 2010

At this point it isn't that bad, there isn't much stuff to buy and the stuff there is isn't very expensive.  As you progress through the story you will get much more.  There are things you should consider buy as they appear: gear upgrades, stuff for Nineball island, and maybe anything that appears in the "other" section.  Some of the stuff for Nineball island can trigger special events and side-quests when you interact with it, and my guess is that stuff is needed for befriending dolphins (but I haven't gotten to that point yet).  Different styles of gear and stuff for the reef can wait unless you really want to play with the reef.

If she hasn't done it already, Nancy will eventually tell you she lost here scissors.  Once you find them you can get haircuts.  You have to get a certain part of the way through the story before she mention this to you.  You can't find them until after she mentions them, and they cost a thousand bucks to change, so once again I would hold off on that.

Quote from: TheBlackCat

If she hasn't done it already, Nancy will eventually tell you she lost here scissors.  Once you find them you can get haircuts.  You have to get a certain part of the way through the story before she mention this to you.  You can't find them until after she mentions them, and they cost a thousand bucks to change, so once again I would hold off on that.

Holy crap! That's how you get haircuts?!?

Nancy kept talking about her scissors, but I was all like "eff that! Real treasure to find!"

TheBlackCatMarch 03, 2010

Yeah, that sort of thing is extremely common in this game.  A lot of the stuff requires that you do something completely unrelated because it can be unlocked.  Sometimes it requires going through a whole sequence of unrelated tasks (like trying to finish the maps).  If they mention something specifically in your notebook it is usually better to do it.

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Genre Simulation

Worldwide Releases

na: Endless Ocean: Blue World
Release Feb 22, 2010
PublisherNintendo
RatingEveryone 10+
jpn: Forever Blue: Umi no Yobigoe
Release Sep 17, 2009
PublisherNintendo
RatingAll Ages
eu: Endless Ocean 2: Adventures of the Deep
Release Feb 05, 2010
PublisherNintendo
Rating3+
aus: Endless Ocean 2: Adventures of the Deep
Release Feb 25, 2010
PublisherNintendo
RatingGeneral
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