Having never played the original game. Nor hearing much hype around the sequel I didn’t know what to expect from Everblue 2. Apart from assuming it had something to do with the sea that is. A definite break from the normal games clogging up the market Everblue comes as something of a refreshing change. On loading up the game you find yourself as a shipwrecked diver who has managed to make their way to local picturesque Valencia Island and this is where you start your journey of treasure hunting.
Everblue is split between wandering around the island and swimming through the sea each presented differently. The island section of the game is presented like a sort of point and click style adventure, though really its only function is to allow you to bye and sell different items and obtain the odd side mission such as retrieving a missing fishing real or membership card. As such the graphics are more functional than breathtaking. Backgrounds are static and the characters that inhabit the island have very few, if any animations.
This sets up a sharp contrast with the sea adventuring section of the game. On the whole everything looks lovely, the sea is alive with over seventy different types of fish and wildlife, all of which can be photographed and recorded should you so wish. The only problem with this section on the graphical front is that although the sea is blue and murky, it would be nice to be able to see more than about five feet in front of you. Suddenly coming across a completely sunken aircraft that wasn’t there one second before for example is a little disappointing. This unfortunate version of fogging coupled with the fact that an awful lot of the sea looks exactly the same can cause frustration when looking for certain areas or objects.
Sound wise the game is fairly bland, with all conversations taking place in a text only form. The only time there are any real sound effects are in the sea where you can hear the ocean moving past you or the sound of your sonar beeping, hardly inspiring stuff. Most disappointing of all is when you sea a great white shark there is only a vague ‘Jaws’ style theme to accompany it, and the sharks themselves don’t look that impressive or big.
Luckily however, the game does play extremely nicely. Though graphically dull the island section is easy to negotiate and it’s made fairly clear where you have to go or who you have to see. The diving section also plays quite well. You can move around easily in the water and there is a handy option that automatically points you towards anywhere you pick out on the world map. This helps to stop aimless wandering once you have located something of interest.
Although good, game play wise the game isn’t flawless by any means. To start with, while you can move around effortlessly, you can’t move up and down. This is very annoying and not exactly realistic, especially as all the fish around you can move up and down. Furthermore, the camera can be extremely irritating, sometimes you just cant see the big shark that’s attacking you or cant turn round to find the fish that you wanted to take a picture of as it swims over your head. This problem is again highlighted when you are inside a sunken ship as it’s very easy to forget what direction your going in. This often causes you to travel round in circles.
As a sort of diving role-play game, Everblue 2 works quite well. However, while the game certainly has the length to keep you occupied for a fair amount of time it’s debatable whether you will actually want to play the game through to the end. The problem lies in the story surrounding Everblue- It’s just not very interesting. You end up asking yourself if you really care if someone has lost a fishing reel. This coupled to the fact that the various locations in the game are so similar at times means you really aren’t pushed to see the next location just so you can retrieve a bit of treasure, it just doesn’t seem important
To sum up, Everblue 2 is by no means a bad game. Far from it, it contains a lot of charm and the diving bits are nice. The game just needs a bit more variety to keep you interested. What it does do very well is act as a sort of relaxation programme. Watching the fish float about and just wandering around the sea is much more fun than actually trying to complete the missions. Saying that, the game is a nice change to the constant fighting and blasting games around and a welcome addition to an over crowded market. It’s just disappointing, with a little more thought Everblue2 could have been amazing as it is, it’s just a nice diversion.