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Beyond Blue

Posted by GG Goblin On June - 24 - 2020

Taking a dip in the Big Blue.

 
These are stressful times and while there is always fun to be found in exploring a dungeon filled with monsters, shooting some zombies, and driving really fast in a fancy car, a more sedate experience could be recommended. Many gamers will look to s spot of farming for their peaceful gaming moments, but with the sun shining, a dip in the ocean could be just what the doctor ordered. E-line Media’s Beyond Blue will let the player explore the ocean and maybe even learn something along the way, providing the sort of relaxed experience that will leave the player refreshed and ready for life.

 


 
Beyond Blue was made in conjunction with BBC Studios, OceanX and various ocean experts, and the result is a game that both serves as an experience and an educational tool. The player is cast as oceanographer Mirai as she and the rest of her team track and study a family of Sperm Whales in the Western Pacific. To add some more human interest to the game, the player will be able to follow some of the personal lives of the team through conversations between them and family members, including following a relative suffering with Alzheimer’s disease. This is all very nice and tries to give the player a connection to the characters when they are out of the water. However, the real star of the show is the ocean itself.

 
The player will have eight different dives to partake in, at a variety of different locations. This is when the relaxing part of the game really kicks in as the player is given the freedom to swim around at their leisure. While not teeming with life, there is plenty to see as the player slowly swims around, and part of the enjoyment in the game is finding something new to look at. The deep ocean is a lovely place to spend time, and the developers have done a very good job of making it feel serene and beautiful, giving many players a glimpse of something they will never be able to see in real life.

 
While there is plenty of enjoyment to just swimming around and exploring, there is no time limit after all, Mirai does have a purpose. Being set slightly in the future, the player is able to make use of cutting edge tech as part of their study. This includes a diving suit that allows the player to go far deeper than divers can venture right now, giving an insight into the otherworldly depths of the ocean. They will also have access to a scanner that can be used to scan all of the different creatures that the player comes across, and sends information back to the rest of the team. With each scan, more information is found, and players can examine what they have discovered when they leave their dive, learning more about the creatures and even seeing 3D models. The emphasis is on the group of whales that the team are following, but there is so much more life to experience in the depths.

 


 
There is plenty that the player can learn from all of this information, but the learning doesn’t stop there as the player will also unlock short documentary style clips, including interviews with actual oceanographers and scientists. There is an obvious attempt to educate players about the importance of the oceans and the life they hold, but Beyond Blue doesn’t come across too preachy and seems happy to let the player discover exactly as much as they want to without too much pressure. The quality of these short documentaries are as you would expect and while they are not perhaps of the Blue Planet quality, they are both interesting and welcome.

 
The visuals are a mixed bag in the game. The wide open ocean and various sea creatures look stunning from a distance, but can become slightly less impressive if the player gets too close, and the character models are not very nice to look at, not that the player will spend much time looking at them. The main hub of the game is functional enough, but again the player will be spending more time in the ocean than out. The sound on the other hand is stellar. The voice work for the cast is very nicely done and actually goes some way to keep the player interested, while the calming tunes when in the ocean are given contrast by the songs playing on the base.

 
Swimming around and scanning fish, despite all of the learning, can only entertain for so long before things get repetitive. The good news here is that the game will only run for around four or five hours, depending how much time the player spends simply exploring and chilling in the water. It’s not a long game by any means, but considering the laid back vibe and the attempts to educate, I think it measures up just right.

 


 
E-line Media obviously have a passion for the ocean, and this shines through in Beyond Blue. As an experience that both tries to educate and entertain the player, I can understand that the game may not be for everyone. Even the relaxing nature of the game may be too laid back for some. However, anyone who has enjoyed watching shows like Blue Planet, or even has an interest in the ocean and wants to learn more, will find plenty to enjoy in Beyond Blue. Kick back, relax, and take a dip.

 

 ★★★★★★★★☆☆ 



 

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Coming later this year to Xbox One, PS4, PC and Switch.

 

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