Tuesday, January 18th, 2022

Beyond the Blue Review (Switch eShop)

Imagine you were drawn into a boring lecture on marine biology and it turned out to be a great rock concert about dolphins. It’s an edutainment promise, and while E-Line Media seems to be aiming for Beyond Blue, it uses cool video games instead of rock concerts.The “inspired” name check of the superstar documentary series has some serious credit borrowed from the BBC Blue Planet II.. However, Beyond Blue is far from the power of the program. The great power of show-and-teach games has been largely overlooked in this collection of great but disjointed multimedia assets.

E-Line Media’s latest work is a peaceful third-party marine exploration game on conducting scientific research on marine life. The package is more than just a game, it also includes about 16 short educational films each that briefly explain related scientific topics. In line with this academic stance, there are no threats or dangers to gameplay, encouraging rebellious observations of the environment and the creatures within it.

In the near future, he will manage a researcher named Mirai who will track and record sea creatures, especially the sperm whale family. She undertakes this study with an off-screen team of scientists who livestream it, comment on it, and relay questions from viewers. This isn’t talkative enough to spoil the tranquility of the deep sea, but it does give context to on-screen actions. Otherwise, you can quickly get tired. Between research missions, Mirai can hang out on a submarine, listen to a very strange collection of music, and watch science videos. Meanwhile, episodes of her personal and professional life are played on the phone between visual novel-style voice dialogues.

The controls are almost intuitive, with standard two-stick movements, plus additional buttons to raise or lower the camera without pointing it up or down. Doing an investigation means activating the scanner with an “L”, pointing the reticle at the creature, and holding down the “R” to scan. Due to the requirement to stay within the creature’s range and track it with the camera as it moves, this feels different each time, avoiding a bland click. Each dive interacts with the buoy to scan the target and swim to the target marked on the HUD to scan the study subject.

You have complete freedom to explore the small dive sites where you are located. The “near future” is an excuse for technology that allows Mirai to swim indefinitely in water of all depths with very minimal gear. Getting Mirai to control submarine items is a horrifying chore, but it’s an easy and rare task. Thankfully, she’s almost always underwater.

Beyond Blue is clearly intended to be educational. Apart from the fact-based documentary videos collected on the menu during the course, the mission includes audio descriptions of marine life, primarily observing and simply capturing what is presented. This concept provides multiple channels for viewing, communicating, and teaching, such as exploration, dialogue sections, and videos. Out-of-sea stories are designed to draw similarities between the lives of humans and other creatures, demonstrating family ties and commonalities in social structure. The conversation with your sister about your loved one overlaps with the tracking and recording of the sperm whale family. Gradually unlocked videos, on the other hand, add gravity to the game’s environment by actually grounding them.

There is a lot of content gathered here to achieve our goals. But it doesn’t really gel. The video is on the menu tab and is published with minimal fanfare. Given how short they are, they can be played at the beginning and end of a mission without hassle. It will take full advantage of them, but it will probably highlight the fact that they are not very well related to the content of the mission. Similarly, the dialogue section is not too far in terms of dramatic momentum, and its ties to marine life are stale and gloomy. It doesn’t help that the interaction feels flat, as if you were listening to the sequentially queued sound files, rather than the human interaction, between the voice actor and the editor.

The ultimate encapsulation of this overall disparity is the submarine music player. The gigantic iPod in the cabin, born from the wonderfully reproduced sound of the ocean, seems to be cranked up too big, with a small but quirky variety of playlists and unable to maintain a consistent mood. .. Certainly not the right one. There seems to be an attitude to put together these songs, these videos, these voice clips, and these levels of games just because E-Line Media was created. It’s multimedia for multimedia, like the beige PC CD-ROM in the 90’s Regional Science Museum. Oddly, it feels like a game set in Microsoft Encarta.

Among them is a third-person shooter. Sadly, it’s not great. It controls smoothly and is generally fun to play, but misses some basic opportunities to do more. Level design has that moment. Swim towards your first whale encounter and the sudden drop in the ocean floor is like leaving the Great Plateau of the Breath of the Wild. But other potentially majestic moments in awe of the vast ocean are destroyed by pop-ins, and the emptiness that disturbs the blue void’s stomach is actually full of large rocks that have not yet been rendered. Make it clear.

Perhaps the biggest opportunity you’ve missed is to move to the deepest depths of the ocean. This experience is almost no different from any other dive. It’s just dark. If Mirai had to wear a slightly thicker suit and control it a little more slowly, she might be encouraged to feel the oppression of extreme conditions. It’s like a video game doing well on its own. Combining that feeling with a timely video about the nature of the ultra-deep sea would have been powerful. Instead, Mirai is still cheerfully flipped over and another video pops up in the filled menu tab in case she wants to see it later.

Conclusion

Beyond Blue has a noble intent, along with an urgent and important message about its impact on the planet. But it is not justice in itself. There’s some decent content here, such as video, music, sound design, gameplay, stories, etc., but these parts rarely support or enhance each other. Gameplay is calm, but one note is that video documentaries don’t make up missions, neither of which is highly relevant to the story. There are dignified moments when exploring the ocean, but limited draw distances and pop-ins often hinder awe. Edutainment is hard to succeed, and Beyond Blue feels more like a science teacher trying to rap, not like a great rock concert about dolphins.