Angry Robot

Love! or Hate! Endless Ocean

Yes, many will tell you that narratives need conflict (although this limits our definition of narrative – “I went to the store” is a narrative), but more strictly speaking a game needs rules, which are what Endless Ocean lacks, more or less. A game without rules is play. Not that there’s anything wrong with that – I’m very fond of rule-free exploration, having whiled away hours in Halo’s Forge, Electroplankton, Crackdown and even Assassin’s Creed doing very little for which I could be evaluated. So I’d side more with Michaël (although I’m talking out my ass since I haven’t played the game yet).

There’s a hardcore-vs.-casual aspect to people’s discussion of this title, naturally, which is interesting to watch. But perhaps the game’s true value is simply in challenging our sense of what game means, and suggesting that a beautiful space might be enough. Beauty is enough to make us like a painting – why not a game?

3 comments on "Love! or Hate! Endless Ocean"

  1. Brandon says:

    You know, I’ve been keeping an eye on this game for a while, trying to figure it out. Having played through most of the AAA titles that Wii has to offer (still need to get all my stars though… :S) I’ve been intrigued by what this game may offer.

    It’s been a long time since I’ve played a game where I could turn off my mind and enjoy the experience that the designers had gone out of their way to craft. Hell, I must’ve put a good hour into FLoW (pre-PS3) before I figured out what I was supposed to do and even after that I spent countless hours just enjoying the music and the relaxation of it.

    How long’s it been since you got to play a game that didn’t care if you won or not? Or that there may not even be anything to ‘win’? As Lt. Harry Kim once said, “Maybe it’s about the journey…”

    Indeed, Harry. Indeed.

    Endless Ocean will be my next Wii purchase, I think it’s time I let Mario have a day off.

  2. D says:

    Yeah, exactly – this sort of game appeals to a different part of the brain.

    And yeah, flow… I loved that, and I suppose it has more of a goal than Endless Ocean, but it was equally suited to just swimming about enjoying the beauty.

  3. Nadine says:

    I played so much of this odd odd game today. But after I played it I came to the simple conclusion: it’s just a marine biologist sim game! What’s the harm in that? Well, the title song is pretty’s like something out of Lord of the Rings and really weird BUT once you get past that and start diving and doing things the game is really nice.

    I mean I was swimming with my dolphin friend Steve and teaching him tricks with my Wiimote. That, my friends, is pretty cool. I’m never going to swim with dolphins for realsies so this is the next best thing.

    I like this game! It’s sweet and relaxing and very well put together.

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