January 30th, 2008

I had high hopes for Endless Ocean. The idea of a game–okay, not a game per se, but a video game title–giving players free range to become immersed in an explorable environment made me excited about how we could think about games as physical spaces. Plus, as a water sports dork, I was sure I’d be endlessly fascinated by the ability to swim, interact with animals, and see what I could uncover in the world below.

Unfortunately, so far, Endless Ocean really isn’t living up to my endless expectations. Aside from diving, the content–the meager storyline, the character design, the map and menu systems–feel cheesy, not relaxing or intriguing. I enjoyed the time I spend actually under water, but my character can only explore a certain “dive radius” each time he/she jumps off the boat. That means, far from feeling like I have an endless world to explore, I constantly hit invisible barriers that force me to turn around and swimming in circles.

Of course, there are still the little joys: petting fish, feeding feed, petting fish again. The “kinder” you are to these sea creatures, the more you learn about them–and that at least is an entertaining concept. The complicated science of marine biology apparently boils down to rubbing. Want to know the name of a creature? Rub it. Want to know how big it is? Rub it. How about what it eats? Yup, that’s right, rub.

Has anyone else had a more promising undersea experience with the game?

Tags: exploration, new games

6 Responses to “Endless Ocean Not So Endlessly Entertaining”

  1. John H. Says:

    I picked it up a week or so ago. Haven’t had a lot of time to play around with it… or rather, I don’t play it like I do other games, like Zack and Wiki (which I’ve been playing a lot of).

    I agree that the invisible barrier is very annoying, but there are some interesting experiences to be had regardless. Favorite so far has been a maze-like undersea cavern, which even has some minor collection elements (there’s pottery shards the player can gather).

  2. Bonnie Ruberg Says:

    What are your thoughts on Zack and Wiki, btw? How’s that play experience going?

  3. Michael Abbott Says:

    I had high hopes just like you. My biggest problem is the dive radius limitation. This is a game all about exploration…and that’s the one aspect of the experience most limited by the design. Very disappointing. I posted a response to the game on my blog today if you’re interested.

    Love Heroine Sheik! I’m a big fan of your work.

  4. Bonnie Ruberg Says:

    I couldn’t agree more, Michael. I understand it’s probably a loading issue, but there are ways to work around that that don’t limit the exploration experience. Also, I’m having fun checking out your blog!

  5. O Endless Ocean raz jeszcze « Altergranie Says:

    […] gry osobiście, pozwolę sobie przytoczyć opinię dwójki blogerów, których zdanie sobie cenię. Bonnie Ruberg i Michael Abbott, bo o nich mowa, niezależnie od siebie, ale zadziwiająco zgodnie skrytykowali […]

  6. My Domain Says:

    Joe…

    Check out my domain sometime….

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