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Endless Ocean Luminous | REVIEW! | NSW

''UNDER THE SEA''

 

Developed: ARIKA

Published: Nintendo

Genre: Exploration/Relaxing

Release Date: May 2nd, 2024

Platforms: Switch


*Game and Product provided to me by NINTENDO


Endless Ocean Luminous is the latest entry into the his relaxing vibe of a franchise and it is developed by ARIKA and published by Nintendo. With this finally being the newest entry into the franchise after 15 years of absence, ARIKA and Nintendo its time to vibe again and bring the relaxing swimming exploration title to life once more. But was this the right IP to revive from the dead from the Wii era? or is this a case of a fish out of water? Only one way to find out, so lets dive!


STORY:


JUST KEEP SWIMMING, JUST KEEP SWIMMING, JUST KEEP SWIMMING

''SO THIS IS WHERE FLIPPER LIVES''

 

GAMEPLAY:


Endless Ocean has been on a super long hiatus, with the last entry of the franchise coming out like 15 years ago, much like another favorite franchise of mine, Punch Out. Seriously Nintendo, come on, Punch Out on Wii as so dang good, please give me another game in the series before I die and if you do... I'll join the Nintendo Fan Club, today!. My whining about wanting a new Punch Out game aside, Nintendo is now inviting us sea dwellers another dive beneath the surface to explore the grand and vast ocean to see the broad wonders of its ecosystem come alive before our very eyes. Even though its taken 15 years to get Nintendo to give us another entry, us water divers and sea explorers haven't been without options in the meantime, with games such as Abzu, Subnautica, and even Beyond Blue offering us our escape from the land and giving us our fish expeditions that we've been missing out on due to Endless Ocean's absence. Now while those games are all great in their own right, I still have always kept a soft spot for the Endless Ocean franchise. They're just my ''vibe'' game and all about relaxation and fit in the category of my ''comfort zone'' level of game, because no matter what day I have, a great one or a crappy one, Endless Ocean was one of those games you can throw on for thirty minutes and just explore and discover, and again, that's why its a ''vibe'' game to me. Does that same feeling hold up for this newest entry as well? Umm, yes and no, It retains qualities that series lovers like myself thoroughly enjoy, but other times it ends up like a head scratching moment like you're just exploring the seas, minding your own business and then Mr. Nimbus, who is king of the ocean, shows up and declares he's your mortal enemy and arch nemesis just like in Rick and Morty. Yes, there are head scratching things about Endless Ocean that is on that level of ''what the heck is even going on here?''. Although, it's not as random as the time Rick and Morty invaded my advertisement for Unicorn Overlord and made me chase them off set, completely ruining my ad. So I guess I should be thankful for that at least? but... were getting WAY off topic, lets get back to the fishy fish, alright?.

Even though this title retains some good aspects of the previous games by allowing players an opportunity to get fully immersed in the wonders of the sea, giving it that enchanting feeling of being Under The Sea like you're chillin with your bro Sebastian. The cartoon Disney version, not the abomination of the live action version. We need crazy singing and dancing Sebastian in our lives, but he really shouldn't sing too loudly, otherwise in this universe of Endless Ocean Luminous, his girl Ariel about to be lunch for a gigantic predator. BAD BRUCE. FISH ARE FRIENDS. NOT FOOD. But then again.. is she really a fish? you guys debate that, I'm getting back to the review. While the game can be very peaceful and relaxing, especially venturing off solo by yourself on an expedition, it can also be a bad thing too by giving you TOO much freedom of exploration to the point that game can get off track a little during the storyline or outside of it by making this title feel a little lacking on the overall engagement portion of the game. Set in an enchanting veiled sea, this entry of Endless Ocean offers a more straight path narrative as far as exploratory experience goes with everything more streamlined to the point of being a little bit on the tedious side. Literally the moment you boot up the game, you're pushed into Chapter One's tutorial mode and get the run down of your objective and how to play as you're introduced to your A.I. assistant companion named Sera and another fellow diver with pro experience, Daniel. I mean, Nintendo, if you were that in the need for a voice actor for an A.I. character, I could've done it, I have experience.. I literally played an A.I. door in the Chase Summer Final Fantasy 7 project. That's literally the height of anyone's resume in the history of the world, so I definitely could've helped yall out with Sera, but.. maybe another day. The plot in this game is fairly straight forward and nothing really ground breaking, with your main objective through the game involving you as the player to cure a mysterious disease that is killing and deteriorating the World Coral, and if not stepped in tine, will spread outside this small section of the ocean and in time, kill off other ecosystems as well. Oh man, guess we better do something, we can't have that, I love the ocean. If only I had some help. No, go away Aquaman, go talk to a sea horse. If only I had something to use like..... oh no no, Captain Planet? you aren't my hero, and only I WILL take this pollution down to zero. ''The power is yours?'', you're dang right it is, so get out of here!. As I was saying... if I only had something to use to help fight this disease and what do you you know? you actually do, duh, and it is in the form of gathering light through scanning of the various sea creatures you come across.

 

''SAVE ME, HOUSE SHARK!''

 

Being able to traverse the ocean floor to find rare object and items to collect, while also being able to follow different marine life around their habitat and snap shotting images of little tiny itty bitty minuscule fish friends to grand whales that look like they could eat you in one big ol bite if you venture too close. Luckily for myself and Marlin, who in my down time I'm helping before I complete missions for Sera, I too can speak Whale should we get into danger. HELLLOOOOOOOOO WHAAAALEEEE WEEEE COMEEEEE IN PEAAAACEEEEE. Uh oh, never mind, RUN RUN. The relaxation and info capturing of each fish gives you a strong feeling of Pokemon capturing, mainly feeling likes a full water version of Pokemon Snap, and even though the underlining story is basically about the death of the coral and marine life as a whole unless you stop it from happening, Luminous does still manage to contain a comfy cozy experience in the same vein as the first two titles and is basically risk free from failure from the oceans inhabitants. That's right, no Maw-Ray Eel to eat us this time, we'll leave that one up to Mario. Even though the picture I have painted so far has been one of relaxation and inner peace basically due to how the ambience carries this game, it can start falling a bit towards the tedious side due to narrative and story progression being heavily reliant on you scanning a specific amount of creatures before the game lets you move on with the campaign. This in turn means you will have to grind your way to hit a specific amount of fish scanned, which if you are lucky, it can take you 30 minutes to an hour to complete that objective. Why that time frame? well... that's because to just get from Chapter 1 to Chapter 2, you will need to scan 500 different fish before you're qualified to move on. Even though, yes there is an on going continuous story and the very occasional mission that comes to you from Head Quarters, the vast majority of your time will be spent in solo play trying to scan hundreds of different species and getting more educated on them. I mean you can always ignore snapping photos or scanning fish of course, like me trying to ignore my anger for water levels in Mario on NES because I'm garbage at them - but then you're subject to just venturing alone in the good ol sea of blue and just trying to complete objectives that require you to find random artifacts on the sea floor to turn in. But other than the tedium the game can bring, the game does feel at times, when you're listening to audio playback about the history of the species you scanned, like we should bring in Attenborough to give us a nice relaxing documentary style play by play. Now that would be awesome. Attenborough aside, there's still a couple more things to talk about that can either make the game for people to give them an enjoyable experience, or for other people, make them fall asleep due to the games overall pacing.

Endless Ocean Luminous at times can feel like a rogue like at times due to the dynamic map making changes to each dive you make into the blue abyss, which ensures that every dive feels like a fresh new adventure that can require you to swim through new coral that wasn't there previously, brand new sea caves worth exploring to find new species of fish to scan, ship wrecks where you look to see if you can find Jack at the bottom of the ocean after Rose did him dirty by hogging all the space on top of the wooden door just because she wanted to stretch her legs, etc etc. Due to the nature of the game play being more about exploration and discovery, the game can feel a tad bit boring if you're a player who wants to be able to kick or punch something in the face, because if that's what you're looking for here in Luminous, then you're in the wrong place my friend. That being said, even if you love this genre and what it offers you, it can still be seen as tedious if you play in like sessions for like 2 to 3 hour straight, and this is due to the games lack of overall variety between missions and objectives. To counteract people who love relaxing explorative titles getting bored, I'd recommend using this game as your own comfort level title that you pick up and play in spurts of 30 to 40 min per session to get your fix, then come back again later because the longer you, the more redundant it might feel if you stick to scanning things only with no variation on doing anything else. Don't let it be like my constant use of Yamcha jokes, do not let your vibe under water become monotonous. Should you happen not to listen to me because I'm a hardcore fan of Scuba Steve, then I implore you to just go out and check out this games multiplayer mode then called Shared Drives. This multiplayer feature allows you to join forces with 30 personal friends or 10 strangers by using your Session ID and go on a sea adventure with them as you collaborate on story progression goals, as well as further enhance this tranquil underworld world, complete with being able to customize your diverse suit with different colors, sticks and even emotes to communicate with other players. Its not much, I admit, but It's definitely enough to change up the pace a bit, because swimming with friends after eating a meal and getting a cramp and nearly drowning, is always a fun time.

 

''WHEN YOU SWIM WITHOUT FLOATIES''

 

OVERALL:


At the end of the day, Endless Ocean Luminous is a super chill relaxed adventure, but marred a bit in repetitiveness that can leave certain players a bit off put because of it. While the game can be a fun solo venture with a big sea to explore, mysteries to find and uncover and collect, hundreds of species of fish to discover and excelling at group activities with friends and strangers that gives you a feel of community and togetherness, even with great things, your overall time is hindered as well. With simplistic animations that leave much to the imagination, story that has a small presence overall to the game itself with each chapter taking mere minutes to pass through in between having to grind out objectives to unlock them, limited gameplay variety, etc etc. With both negatives and positives weighing against each other, I feel pros and cons with Luminous both being a shallow game at its score, but also extremely soothing to play. In a nutshell? it's a very mixed bag and one I can see anyone picking up and playing at any point in time for small sessions. But the real question, is it worth the deep sea dive and take the plunge for this game? Yes and no. Yes if you're a fan of the previous two entries or games like Beyond Blue, because you'll definitely end up liking it then. However, if you are only curious about the title and have never dabbled into the genre before, then you might be best off waiting till the game drops to around $30 or so to get the full bang for your buck if I'm totally honest. So with all that having been said, my verdict is clear, GameNChick says BUY NOW if you're a long time fan of the genre and WAIT if you're a newcomer.

 
 










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