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Reality: 1 / Virtual World: 0
GirlDiver - 1/29/2008 11:04 AM
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Category: Personal
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Reality: 1 / Virtual World:  0So, is it terrible of me to be elated that the latest in virutal reality games is such a flop? Even Nintendo can`t recreate what only a very few will ever get to see...

One of the many reviews:

Since video games first got their start, developers have realized that most things that are exciting in real life make for excellent games. Racing, playing professional sports, flying, even rocking out in front of an audience -- these are all things that have worked out great for franchises that have been successful in translating the experience. You`d think it would be the same for scuba diving. But as Nintendo proved in its latest flop for the Wii, Endless Ocean, it`s not. Players assume the role of a diver on board a small vessel in a fictional sea, where an entire ecosystem flourishes among the coral and rocks. Using the Wii remote, gamers can lead their divers to explore new areas, learn about the wildlife and recover treasure. But part of the appeal of doing virtually what you can`t in real life is the ability to reproduce the experience as much as possible. That often means reproducing the danger as well. But there is none in Endless Ocean. Nothing in the depths of the fictional Manoa Lai can harm the diver. Not the sharks, rockfish or stingrays. Not even the bends. This fact was lost on me as I led my diver through some of the darker depths. The gamer in me told me to watch the periphery for any denizens of the deep that might mistake me for lunch. It was an exciting feeling -- until I realized that I had no more to fear from the fish underwater than I had from the game`s inept and juvenile boat companion, Katherine, who apparently was hired to annoy the crap out of you with stupid observations. The lack of danger is an attempt by game designers to appeal to a wider audience who might be more interested in casually languishing in the seas for no reason. That`s also why the developers didn`t feel the need to create any urgency to their nonchalant objectives requested by a mysterious dive financier. At its core, Endless Ocean seems to be more of a learning game than an adventure title. That would make sense, since players spend a lot of their time molesting sea creatures (in the form of petting or poking) in an attempt to extract information about their biology and habits. The soundtrack is appropriate to the spacey, relaxing feel of scuba diving, and a great feature of the game is the ability to load your own music from an SD card and play it as you explore. Unfortunately, the game`s developers left out the ability to change songs while you dive. That means that unless you`re jamming to the unedited version of Meatloaf`s "I`d Do Anything for Love," you`re likely to go insane as your selected song repeats itself for the duration of your dive. Even the whole "open world" concept falls short. Your dive is limited to a fairly small circle that surrounds your boat. Although it gives you some room to swim around, I found myself constantly checking my map to avoid running into an invisible barrier that orders me to turn around. That`s especially disappointing, as the game`s title begins with the word "endless." I will concede one point. The game was a good attempt at something new, and it`s refreshing to see that developers are still willing to think outside the oppressive box of first-person shooters with lame storylines or sequels to first-person shooters with lame storylines. Unfortunately, the gaming world is neither horseshoes nor hand grenades, and I`m afraid almost doesn`t cut it for Endless Ocean.