Written by  :  Guy Chapman (2001)
Written on  :  Jul 06, 2007
Rating  :  4.17 Stars4.17 Stars4.17 Stars4.17 Stars4.17 Stars

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One Of Those Titles That Somehow Sticks With You.

The Good

Like one of my last reviews, this is a very hard "game" to describe. You can't win the game, you don't score points, there are no objectives or goals, it just... "is".

And yet, the point of the game is exactly what you make it to be. You simply pick a direction, and go. You may go in a certain direction, you may go more towards the surface, or may try to find the very bottom of the ocean. Perhaps there's some sea creature or ruin you wish to explore, or perhaps you want to tend to your coral garden to increase the amount of visiting fish. You can make one of these your goals... but you don't have to. How you play depends on what you feel like doing.

Perhaps that's the allure of the title. The feeling of exploring a mysterious ocean where you don't die, you don't get attacked, you don't have to start over, you don't run out of supplies. The game appeals to a curious nature, and at times, when you're out in this ocean and find something new, it's that feeling of discovery that draws you to see what else is out there. And there are things to see, whether it's a whale, or some odd deep-sea creature at the dark bottom of the ocean, or a shipwreck, there are things to find, and it takes time to get there.

The game is a relaxing time-passer that you can actually get lost in if you allow yourself to just let go and enjoy the game for what it is.

The Bad

Certain types of people are going to miss the point of this game, and are going to get bored. There's no levels, or bosses, no weapons or explosions. You just cruise around this huge ocean and look for things of interest, do some light interaction, and move on.

Sound is minimal, and being an early PSOne game, and graphically, it's going to look dated now, especially in comparison to later games on the system, and the fact that consoles have moved forward two generations since.

Everything in this game is low key, and that simplicity just doesn't make this game for everyone.

The Bottom Line

This is one of those games that just remains in the back of your mind somehow, as it becomes such an immersive experience if allowed. The lack of action gameplay is met with the interest of discovery, and you begin to feel like you're taking part in some "Discovery Channel" documentary (it was strangely amusing/satisfying to speak like Jacques Cousteau while playing).

But the game itself is involving in a way few games are today. The fact that it piques one's curiosity for exploration, and the self-satisfaction of new discoveries becomes its own reward. To risk cliche, it becomes an experience that even if played for quite some time, there's still the opportunity to find just one more new thing that was previously missed before.

Giving it a chance might become more compelling than expected.