By now you’ll probably have made up your mind. You’re either going to find Endless Ocean oddly compelling and even weirdly moving, or you’ll think it’s boring, undemanding and a total waste of your valuable time. Even I’ll admit that the odd killer shark wouldn’t have gone amiss (you could have stabbed it in the eye using the Wii controller). In fact, in my honest opinion the game could do with missions that involve trap-filled shipwrecks or exploring murky chasms populated by weird mutant fish with hideous jaws. Preferably with a sci-fi laser spear gun.
Still, I guess that’s just not the sort of game this is, and I suspect that levels of Testosterone have a major part to play in my reaction. My wife, who wouldn’t be caught dead playing a game that involved killer sharks, mutant fish or laser spear guns – or Bioshock, Call of Duty 4, Uncharted or my other recent favourites – absolutely loves Endless Ocean to bits. She almost had to be dragged away from the Wii remote so that I could play it. This might recommend it to you and yours or it might not. On the one hand, wouldn’t you like an excuse to buy a Wii or some more time to play more bloodthirsty games on another format? On the other, wouldn’t you like to complete Super Mario Galaxy some time this year?
All of this makes Endless Ocean a tricky game to score. If you like it and its blessed out, hypnotic style then it’s an easy eight – only the odd bit of difficulty in navigating and the rather ponderous load times will spoil your experience. If you’re in the “Crumbs this is dull, is there nothing I can kill?” camp then I’m afraid you’d probably hit it with a rather nasty five. I’m going somewhere in-between, because I do find it strangely enchanting, yet I can’t shift the feeling that there’s something more exciting I could be doing with my time. I guess sometimes you want to chill out, but sometimes a little bloody catharsis really doesn’t go amiss.
Either the most beautiful and relaxing experience on the Wii or the most tedious fish-fondling game in town. Which it is will depend entirely on your outlook.