A mysterious tablet lost in the depths of the Caribbean; sharks, dolphins and a full array of underwater tropical life; and, of course, sunken treasure all await the adventurous.
Everblue 2, an Arika and Capcom release for the PlayStation2, does not have the best script in the gaming world in fact, it is a little silly. However, what this game does have is wonderfully rendered underwater graphical elements, which are certain to cross a number of gaming fan bases just for the chance to dive into the cool blue waters of the Caribbean.
Leo and Zuccho are a pair of underwater adventurers. It has been a year since Leo saved a team of workers from disaster on Daidalos Island. Now the duo are bound for other adventure, inspired by Leo’s father who often spoke of a mysterious tablet lost in the depths of the tropical sea. It was while looking for this tablet that the pair’s ship was caught in a storm and the two find themselves shipwrecked on Valencia Island.
But what appears to be a disastrous beginning is, in fact, a blessing because the adventure really begins on that very island.
The game begins with the introduction of an energetic girl who will later be your mentor and game guide. She will conduct a tutorial on diving and hunting for sunken treasure, as well and guide you around town and somewhat explain the player interface. In addition to simply hunting for treasure, you can freelance as an underwater photographer.
Everblue2 has a variety of facets surrounding the primary goal, which is hunt underwater for hidden treasures. You may find items, which you can have appraised, then convert to gold, which pays for your hotel stay. The hotel, which costs 60g a night, acts as a way station so your air tanks (very important to keep track of your air and depth when diving) can be recharged. But you will need to talk to people in town to collect clues to areas where the real treasure lays.
Talking to the townspeople is important, and how you deal with them is as well. If you are brusque in your choice of answers, you may offend them. However you can earn a shell of allegiance if you deal politely with the townsfolk and make friends.
In addition to the appraisal shop, you will be able to use the combination shop in the middle of the game to take two items and create a new one from them. There are numerous combinations.
The game features several ways to fail the assignment: you can run out of air, exceed your suit depth rating, or get attacked by the various undersea dangers (attacked by a great white shark or eel, or poisoned by a lionfish). Picking up and being weighed down by items also impairs your health.
Finding items is made simpler by using the multi-sonar, which pings back when you have located the type of material it is set for.
The control elements of Everblue 2 are player-friendly. The options menu allows you to ascend and the thumbsticks work in combination with the various gamepad buttons to direct your swimming, pick up items or take pictures.
The game sound is merely average, with music that is more for elevators or hotel lobbies, and no dialogue, but of course that is not the real attraction of this game. When it comes to depicting the underwater world, Everblue 2 is amazing. The way the fish swim, the soft blue lighting, and the variety of ocean vegetation makes this game a visual treat. Those who have ever gone snorkeling or scuba diving will delight in the game’s depiction of the world beneath the waves. It is unfortunate that this portion of the game is the only visual highlight. The rest of the game is quite static.
Everblue 2 comes up quite short in story script, sound and some of the graphical elements. At best those can only be described as simplistic. That takes away from the game as whole. In fact, this is a very lopsided program, strong in only one area, and that is the diving. The scuba diving elements should have broad appeal, but the rest of the game may scuttle this title from being a big draw.
The game is badly paced. There will be times when the only thing that hampers your enjoyment of the undersea world is the diminishing air in your tanks. In other instances you will feel as though you are hurried toward a goal. The underwater worlds seem massive, but you will start to notice a lot of similar grids.
This is truly a mixed bag. The underwater scenes are excellent, but the rest of the game lacks the same vibrancy and seems rather simplistic and boring.
A big disappointment and not worth what little effort it took to insert it.
The game does have challenges, and trying to accomplish the task while searching a huge sea floor and watching out for predators can bump a little excitement into the concept.
The underwater diving is a joy but can’t really carry the game. The story is too simplistically told and the lack of features makes this a less-than-satisfying vehicle for diving adventure.
This is a case where one very strong element can’t really carry the whole game. Everblue 2 has terrific diving scenes, and you may find yourself enjoying that aspect over and over while forgetting about the actual missions, but tries to blend them into a story that is not that solid nor well told. This is unfortunate.