Hello everyone! This week, I've been consumed by a game I've been meaning to play for quite some time: Endless Ocean: Blue World for the Wii. I played a bit of the original game a few years ago, but never finished it (I either misplaced it or it was stolen along with all my other Wii games). But now, I've played and beaten the sequel, and from what I can remember of the first game, I'd say the sequel is way better in pretty much every way (although there's still a lot of room for improvement).
As many of you probably know about me, I'm absolutely in love with the ocean. I'm down with anything that has to do with sea creatures and underwater exploration. So obviously, this game was right up my alley. Basically, the game centers around a diving company that's trying to become more well known, and the story is about a mystery that the company owner's granddaughter is particularly interested in. While trying to uncover the mystery, you can spend time scuba diving in various oceans around the world (plus a river), interacting with marine life, exploring sunken ruins, taking photographs, finding items to salvage, taking customers on guided tours, befriending dolphins and whales, and more. I made it my goal to find every animal in the game and explore every bit of the ocean that I could.
Basically, this game is a marine biologist's wet dream, and I enjoyed it immensely! I got to encounter pretty much all of my favorite animals (even giant squids!) and learned a little bit more about them than what I already knew. I loved that they included secret legendary creatures which you could only find by completing certain quests; the creatures tended to be prehistoric, and while including them could take away from the authenticity of the oceans they created, they handled it in such a way that really only added to the mystery of the sea.
I did have a few complaints about the game. Enemy encounters were a good idea, but looked kind of silly at times (I really don't think sharks would ever try to tail whip someone to death). They also did a poor job of explaining how dolphin training worked. I had to look up guides on the internet, and even then it was still confusing. But otherwise, I felt like it was a really solid game. They improved upon the original in so many ways, and made a game that I wouldn't mind recommending to almost anyone (maybe don't play it if you have a fear of deep water, though).
Honestly, it's probably as close as I'm going to get to playing my dream game. It's not a type of game that gets made very often, so I don't expect to see many other games like it. I know there's a game called Subnautica, which the developers of Natural Selection 2 are working on, and that one looks promising! Just give me a big ocean to explore in a video game, and I'll be happy :)