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Endless Ocean 2: Adventures Of The Deep Review

Scuba scuba scuba do, do we love you?

Type 'funny surfer dude' into YouTube and you get a cracking, irony-free clip of a chap eloquently expressing the joys of surfing. It's hard to tell whether he's been shot with a shark tranquilliser, hit by a bus or just swallowed too much seawater. Is he for real? Is he having a laugh, sending up surfer culture live on US telly? Who can tell. We're in a similar predicament with this game. What on earth is it? Relaxation aid? Watery adventure? Yo! Sushi video installation?

With Clearly Concussed Surfer Dude, it didn't matter what he was blathering on about, it was just hilarious to watch. And with the first Endless Ocean, there was a curious satisfaction to be had despite not really knowing what you were meant to be doing, if you were doing anything in the first place. You swam about, looked at fish and completed the odd task, all in your own time. It was pleasant, but we hardly felt like we were playing a game. It was like a holiday from gaming, a contradiction in terms that wasn't quite as horrible as it sounds.

Click to view larger image
Recognising that Endless Ocean was perhaps a little too understated, Arika has provided a hefty length of narrative rope for you to hang on to now, and almost immediately you're straight into a story. It's something about a sunken castle, a pendant, an orphaned girl called Oceana and a cryptic message from her dead dad. It's batty, in its own charming way, but hardly enthralling. It's not exactly Indiana Jones And The Ocean Of Doom, but it does at least throw up a series of quests as you sail around the world.

Bale Out

After quickly creating a diver that looks like Christian Bale in American Psycho, you're given your diving gear, a map and then some pointers to what you could do while you're underwater. You select the option to dive, point the Remote in the direction you want to go and squeeze B to flap away.

Everything is slow and deliberate, like you're swimming through treacle. There are no sharp movements (unless you're rolling out of the way of narked whales), and there's a sense of cotton wool calm under the waves. It's even controlled with the Remote and strictly nothing else - the better for keeping a hand free to turn Groove Armada up, or sip a nice lapsang souchong.

As you pass your pointer over fish and items of interest, you're invited to inspect them closer to find out more about them. It's a David Attenborough programme without the baby seal mauling - information for information's sake.

There's a 'gotta catch 'em all' aspect to cataloguing these creatures of the deep, and in the first game it was all rather pointless and anal. Here, as you observe fish you can apply all that knowledge by attempting to populate your own reef, though even this is only a mild diversion.

Click to view larger image
You're becoming one with nature. That's the point, rather then punching nature in the head. After gentle dives to sea shelves and cavities, waving a virtual hand to 'pet' sea turtles and the like, and occasionally scattering palmfuls of fish food, you'll catch yourself. What the hell are you doing? You've been swimming in a slow circle for the last 20 minutes lifting up random clumps of coral, looking for pretend sea slugs, that's what.

What you could do with, in the absence of any real thrills, or Funny Surfer Dude, is some kind of weapon, like a harpoon or a gun. Like the Pulsar gun! Yes, the game gives you a weapon for self defence, which fires electric pulses that calm creatures, making them forget why they attacked you. Much like the effect Endless Ocean 2 has on seasoned Call Of Duty vets. But even the pulsar comes with a sunny side effect. You can use it to heal sick fish to increase your diver stats.

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Comments

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  1. toffeeman30 Tuesday 2nd Feb 2010 at 13:18

    looks like its improved on the first game. this one looks like you actually progress in this game. the first game to me seemed pointless and seemed to think i was wasting my time and effort

  2. Gavin Rozee Tuesday 2nd Feb 2010 at 13:24

    I'd rate it higher. There are plenty of fast paced action games to play. Just because this isn't one, doesn't mean it should lose marks.

    Flower for the PS3 is slow, and relaxing, and that's one of the best PSN games available.

  3. Cunzy1 1 Tuesday 2nd Feb 2010 at 14:13

    Nice preview Simon. So how does it play online with a friend? Can you play your own music in it like the first one? Is it anymore pointless than collecting "star coins" for a supposedly "adult" princess who still has tea parties? but doesn't go "all the way?"?.

    The original had a surprising amount of depth (ha ha!) to it, the intricacies of the system behind the treasure objects is still being worked out by FAQers to this day, plus there is a huge educational value to the first one. Has this been preserved or has the content been dumbed down in response to reviews that are needlessly filled up with some nonsense about Youtube for the first paragraph?

  4. D.J Tuesday 2nd Feb 2010 at 14:27

    I loved the first game, and my pre-ordered copy of this one should hopefully ship in the next few days.

  5. Danikat Tuesday 2nd Feb 2010 at 15:29

    I never had a problem with a lack of excitement in the first game. Possibly because I'm the kind of person who likes to make my own challenges no matter how much the game actually gives you. I once wasted most of a day (and many lives) trying to figure out the highest point in Banjo-Kazooie that you could leap off of and live.

    Just the fact that a space on the map is blank is enough to make me want to go there, although I admit finding something exciting or unexpected when I get there is always a bonus.

  6. Broken_Angel Tuesday 2nd Feb 2010 at 15:51

    I once wasted most of a day (and many lives) trying to figure out the highest point in Banjo-Kazooie that you could leap off of and live.

    Doesn't matter how high up you are, just perform a beak-slam close to the ground and you'll land safely. There's a similar glitch in practically all Mario games (since Super Mario 64).

    I really enjoyed the first Endless Ocean for it's relaxing charm and slow pace, it was a huge change from most of my games catalogue (platformers, FPSs and RPGs), so i'm looking forward to this one

  7. joshualeuty96 Tuesday 2nd Feb 2010 at 15:53

    I'd rate it higher. There are plenty of fast paced action games to play. Just because this isn't one, doesn't mean it should lose marks.

    Flower for the PS3 is slow, and relaxing, and that's one of the best PSN games available.


    agree with you there. i nearly have all the trophies on Flower. Just three more to go till 100% :)

  8. Teeboy Tuesday 2nd Feb 2010 at 16:04

    So that's how to do the review properly.

  9. neongiratina Tuesday 2nd Feb 2010 at 16:11

    It must be REALLY dull if the tranquility knocks off 23%

  10. Wii_With_Mii Tuesday 2nd Feb 2010 at 16:26

    And so begins Nintendo's annual wave of disappointment.

  11. ChrisONM Tuesday 2nd Feb 2010 at 17:09

    And so begins Nintendo's annual wave of disappointment.


    Since when was 73% a disappointment? That's still a pretty good score. Bear in mind there are LOTS of great first-party Nintendo games still on the way this year.

    Negativity is one thing, but negativity for no reason is another.

  12. ShadowofPain Tuesday 2nd Feb 2010 at 17:21

    And so begins Nintendo's annual wave of disappointment.


    Since when was 73% a disappointment?

    It was 74% Chris. Geez :P But yeah I do agree with the other comments saying that this deserves probably a bit more. If the game is really very relaxing and absorbing I think it deserves more like 84%, even though it may be lacking substance.

  13. darthmario Tuesday 2nd Feb 2010 at 17:29

    You rated it down for being relaxing? What? The whole point of the game was that it's relaxing. Were you expecting?

    From what I can tell, it's improved on the origional in every way possible- the story, graphics and gameplay. So why hasn't it got a higher score? Oh yeah, it's too relaxing...

  14. Wii_With_Mii Tuesday 2nd Feb 2010 at 17:31

    And so begins Nintendo's annual wave of disappointment.


    Since when was 73% a disappointment? That's still a pretty good score. Bear in mind there are LOTS of great first-party Nintendo games still on the way this year.

    Negativity is one thing, but negativity for no reason is another.

    I do agree that there are some good first party games coming, but hyped-up third-party Wii games are usually dissapointing (ala, Conduit, Sonic ATBK)

  15. Cunzy1 1 Tuesday 2nd Feb 2010 at 17:41

    And so begins Nintendo's annual wave of disappointment.


    Since when was 73% a disappointment?

    It was 74% Chris. Geez :P But yeah I do agree with the other comments saying that this deserves probably a bit more. If the game is really very relaxing and absorbing I think it deserves more like 84%, even though it may be lacking substance.

    Lacking substance! Geez you whippersnappers take it all for granted these days. Gone are the times where you would have to pay cash money to complete a game with three lives and the only thing that happened when you completed it was the game started all over again. Or started backwards.

    These days fourteen different sets of secrets, unlocks and easter eggs come as standard. I'm still enjoying Endless Ocean- hence the Endless in the title- the same cannot be said of Shadow the Hedgehog.

  16. jaco_p Tuesday 2nd Feb 2010 at 17:42

    don't forget, a review is only one persons opinion at the end of the day. im sure there are people that thought the first game was pap so? i enjoyed the first game and i think i will enjoy this one also, as my wife has asked for it for valentines. I don't think the educational element of the first game can be understated as its very beneficial as chris sais, as knowledge for its own sake, which is never a bad thing in my opinion

  17. Wii_With_Mii Tuesday 2nd Feb 2010 at 17:55

    You rated it down for being relaxing? What? The whole point of the game was that it's relaxing. Were you expecting?

    From what I can tell, it's improved on the origional in every way possible- the story, graphics and gameplay. So why hasn't it got a higher score? Oh yeah, it's too relaxing...

    #

    I was expecting it to be an action packed horror FPS where you have mad shoot outs with Russian terrorists. Oh well.....

  18. Wii_With_Mii Tuesday 2nd Feb 2010 at 17:56

    You rated it down for being relaxing? What? The whole point of the game was that it's relaxing. Were you expecting?

    From what I can tell, it's improved on the origional in every way possible- the story, graphics and gameplay. So why hasn't it got a higher score? Oh yeah, it's too relaxing...

    #

    I was expecting it to be an action packed horror FPS where you have mad shoot outs with Russian terrorists. Oh well.....

  19. ibarnaby64 Tuesday 2nd Feb 2010 at 18:27

    GUYS, GUYS, GUYS. Ever heard of an opinion? Sheesh.

  20. ShadowofPain Tuesday 2nd Feb 2010 at 19:53

    And so begins Nintendo's annual wave of disappointment.


    Since when was 73% a disappointment?

    It was 74% Chris. Geez :P But yeah I do agree with the other comments saying that this deserves probably a bit more. If the game is really very relaxing and absorbing I think it deserves more like 84%, even though it may be lacking substance.

    Lacking substance! Geez you whippersnappers take it all for granted these days. Gone are the times where you would have to pay cash money to complete a game with three lives and the only thing that happened when you completed it was the game started all over again. Or started backwards.

    These days fourteen different sets of secrets, unlocks and easter eggs come as standard. I'm still enjoying Endless Ocean- hence the Endless in the title- the same cannot be said of Shadow the Hedgehog.

    I'm not doubting the game's level of enjoyment at all. In fact I was trying to defend the game =/ And trust me I can tell you know, there are far more ungrateful gamers out there than I (or any other smart gamer on this sight).

  21. ShadowofPain Tuesday 2nd Feb 2010 at 19:53

    And so begins Nintendo's annual wave of disappointment.


    Since when was 73% a disappointment?

    It was 74% Chris. Geez :P But yeah I do agree with the other comments saying that this deserves probably a bit more. If the game is really very relaxing and absorbing I think it deserves more like 84%, even though it may be lacking substance.

    Lacking substance! Geez you whippersnappers take it all for granted these days. Gone are the times where you would have to pay cash money to complete a game with three lives and the only thing that happened when you completed it was the game started all over again. Or started backwards.

    These days fourteen different sets of secrets, unlocks and easter eggs come as standard. I'm still enjoying Endless Ocean- hence the Endless in the title- the same cannot be said of Shadow the Hedgehog.

    I'm not doubting the game's level of enjoyment at all. In fact I was trying to defend the game =/ And trust me I can tell you know, there are far more ungrateful gamers out there than I (or any other smart gamer on this site).

  22. Comic-Geek-Tom Wednesday 3rd Feb 2010 at 05:18

    i like the first game, it was a weird sorta non-game but yet i find it pretty good to play. it was also pretty cheap which is always appealing as you get a decent game for a very reasonable price.

    i'm not sure whether i'd get this as i'm not sure if i need any more aqua discovery (the first did it well enough to cover all my diving needs) but if i see it on sale for a bargain i won't be disappointed if i pick it up.

  23. SimonONM Wednesday 3rd Feb 2010 at 15:26

    Nice preview Simon... has the content been dumbed down in response to reviews that are needlessly filled up with some nonsense about Youtube for the first paragraph?

    Pshaaw.

  24. SimonONM Wednesday 3rd Feb 2010 at 15:40

    You rated it down for being relaxing? What? The whole point of the game was that it's relaxing. Were you expecting?

    From what I can tell, it's improved on the origional in every way possible- the story, graphics and gameplay. So why hasn't it got a higher score? Oh yeah, it's too relaxing...

    Sorry? Where did I say I rated it down for being too relaxing? Rated it down from what? The original's review score? Because that was nothing to do with me.I think I actually said the point of the game was its being relaxing ('becoming one with nature' etc). I enjoyed it. But the point I was making was a lot of people will still be a bit flummoxed as to what it's supposed to be.

    74's a good score, and it's the score it deserves, I reckon. You're absolutely right, it's better than the original in every way, but I didn't review that so I simply gave it the score I thought fit.

  25. darthmario Wednesday 3rd Feb 2010 at 17:26

    You rated it down for being relaxing? What? The whole point of the game was that it's relaxing. Were you expecting?

    From what I can tell, it's improved on the origional in every way possible- the story, graphics and gameplay. So why hasn't it got a higher score? Oh yeah, it's too relaxing...

    #

    I was expecting it to be an action packed horror FPS where you have mad shoot outs with Russian terrorists. Oh well.....

    Same but with Jellyfish and not Russian terrorists. :P

    @ Simon- Well, the caption for the review is A bit too relaxing? which pretty much suggests you think that about the game. Perhaps you didn't rate it down for being "too" relaxing but it came across in your review you thought that.

    And I no longer have beef with you over the score (still a little low I reckon but I'll play the game first and see).

  26. LEGEND MARIOID Wednesday 3rd Feb 2010 at 20:42

    Cheers for the review it was a good read. The game sounds like a good addition to the Wii. Some points though:

    1. The original got 84% and this is meant to be an improvement on the original? So why is it rated a whole 10% lower? Yes I know you say it is a good score, but still.

    2. Two of the ONM staff have said the Coduit was only "above average" yet you rated that at 76%. 70-84% is meant to be a decent category for a game to have a score within isn't it?

    3. There is only one negative point in your summary, the vast majority of the time one negative point usually equals a game of AT LEASt 80% and above.

    4. There is a clear difference between the standard of games of 70-79% and 80-84% judging by the contents of your reviews. I know that'd make a lot of sub-categories but that is worth considering when scoring or even categorising the stabndard of games you are reviewing

    5. I respect the reviewers opinion, but I thought you discussed the review scores prior to their publishing? With that in mind, maybe you shoild've considered the previous review score of 84% for the first, inferior installment.

    Nevertheless, the review actually encourages you to buy the game. Its not for me, but I thought I'd put these points to you.

  27. Cunzy1 1 Thursday 4th Feb 2010 at 08:46

    Nice preview Simon... has the content been dumbed down in response to reviews that are needlessly filled up with some nonsense about Youtube for the first paragraph?

    Pshaaw.

    Zing!

  28. SimonONM Friday 5th Feb 2010 at 13:50


    @ Simon- Well, the caption for the review is A bit too relaxing? which pretty much suggests you think that about the game.

    Ah, I see now. I was going off the review as it appears in the mag - the <i>too relaxing</i> tagline was added to the online review afterward. Apologies.

  29. mariostar6 Wednesday 17th Feb 2010 at 20:04

    I have this game,Its realy good! In things to do its way better than Endless 1 but in spirit of reward when finding a creature Endless 2 just does not prevail. I think it deserved more of a 75/76%?

  30. mariostar6 Sunday 2nd May 2010 at 18:17

    And so begins Nintendo's annual wave of disappointment.


    Since when was 73% a disappointment? That's still a pretty good score. Bear in mind there are LOTS of great first-party Nintendo games still on the way this year.

    Negativity is one thing, but negativity for no reason is another.

    Damn right Cris! When is 74% bad? Ive got this game but i think it deserved around 77% realy though. It does have the frill of the deep. Sharks,air,mythical creatures,sunken ruins collapsing on to you...

  31. mariostar6 Saturday 8th May 2010 at 13:38

    I'd rate it higher. There are plenty of fast paced action games to play. Just because this isn't one, doesn't mean it should lose marks.

    Flower for the PS3 is slow, and relaxing, and that's one of the best PSN games available.[

    There scores not down because its not the first one.
    Its down because it just very hard to get into. Still a good game though.

  32. mariostar6 Saturday 8th May 2010 at 13:39

    And so begins Nintendo's annual wave of disappointment.


    Since when was 73% a disappointment? That's still a pretty good score. Bear in mind there are LOTS of great first-party Nintendo games still on the way this year.

    Negativity is one thing, but negativity for no reason is another.

    Damn right Cris! When is 74% bad? Ive got this game but i think it deserved around 77% realy though. It does have the frill of the deep. Sharks,air,mythical creatures,sunken ruins collapsing on to you...


    Sorry spelt your name wrong

  33. LaytonMario3 Thursday 26th Aug 2010 at 19:34

    This is gjc

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