Most of the new titles being released nowadays are mostly based on the fast and flashy type of action with immersive gameplay, and their competition to be better than the other titles. Beyond Blue doesn’t fall in this league, it differentiates itself from other FPS based games. Beyond Blue is developed by E-Line Media. They also presented another of their titles back in 2014 named Never Alone which had some morals to give to the players. It was a beautiful execution of co-op gameplay. Their upcoming game, Beyond Blue, was originally encouraged by OceanX Media and BBC’s very popular marine life documentaries under the heading of Blue Planet. The game aims to present an adventurous journey under the oceans to discover its depths which are unexplored by many of the people who haven’t had the chance in their life to do deep dives in an ocean.
E-Line Media worked with many scientists, deep divers, and experts who had their study on oceans, they aimed to provide an immersive experience with a different genre. Instead of blood spilling, flying carcasses, and other fast-paced games, it was an impeccable way to educate people about marine life and wonders under the massive water bodies we see. Games consisting of ideas under land are very less too. It isn’t that you fully get informed as such extensive detail is not provided in the game yet, but it approaches stereotypes which everyone doesn’t. Someone did consider the sea at last!
You are clothed in the diving suit of a deep-sea explorer and an oceanographer who has boundless love for the creatures, known and unknown, under the sea. Her name is Mirai and especially, she is fond of a distinct set of whale species. She is a research worker who is exploring the sea. Your task is to guide Mirai to specific areas, putting in detail about the animals found and interacting them in new ways. Your role in this whole thing is that you will be in control of Mirai. She would swim in between different posts for finding new data related to wildlife as instructed by her research partners Andre and Irina.
You would use groundbreaking technology machines like manta ray drones and scanners which also show you the existence of creatures around you. They are used to conduct some research about underwater creatures. With the help of a scanner that can see marine animals clearly and provides information about fishes or sharks which are in their databases. If they aren’t, holding onto them for a few seconds add their information in the scanner database.
Your 1st mission is to locate a pod, which had one pregnant whale in between. She has given birth now and you need to observe that newly born whale’s communication and synergy with her mother. Communication voices are then recorded and examined as samples. They are then played back to the whales and their reactions are noted and recorded too. Mentioning of ocean and sea, again and again, may make you think that it’s all about these, but it isn’t! There’s more. Different personalities here have their own stories to tell. Anna Akana voiced Mirai who is an amazing voice actor. Mirai has got some problems with her sister, who helps taking care of their grandfather. After diving and exploring, you come back to her private submarine. She speaks here with her sister, inquiring about her schooling and their “Nana” health, and research members.
The ocean in the game is divided into small sectors. They are named as the Open Ocean, Seamount, Vents, Atoll, Brine Pool along with a Coastal Region. These all areas have their specific set of animal types living there. Mirai is portrayed as a very good swimmer, maintaining a good pace. She explores these areas, moving swiftly in fissures and passing lava pools, despite finding something new. This experience to watch is a very soothing one as you would immediately feel mind getting relaxed.
Many of the players would fulfill their dream, to some extent, of deep diving and swirling around the marine animals lying in there. You would find dolphins, sharks, whales, turtles, and shoals of tiny fishes too! There are at least 50 fish species in the game, and they are quite detailed. Watching animals swim isn’t fun if you don’t get to hear the voices they make. For this point, E-Line Media has got you covered. You would hear different noises made by the animals along with buzzes and clicks etc. Mirai’s time on the sub lets you hear wonderful soundtracks. Scanning an animal multiple times, or that same specie animal will provide you with more in-depth information. You would get a lot of info like the dimensions of that animal, type of water it likes to swim in, and their exclusive sound signature.
Underwater animals which are the most important and massive ones down there are put to a lot of detail. Small animals like Giant Clam or the tiny Lantern Fish etc were deprived of detailing which is saddening. As you progress through the game, Beyond Blue would also unravel 16 rare mini-documentaries named Ocean Insights. They would start unlocking as you proceed with the quests and exploring different parts of the tale. The boost up the gameplay section and increases the informativeness of the game. Do watch them if you are an ocean lover, for sure!
Like all other games existing, Beyond Blue also comes with some areas where it couldn’t make up to the point and some sections where it demands improvements. The first thing to be observed is that scanning animals doesn’t become exhausting. Talking about game performance, you would find some bugs and glitches on your way. The worst thing is that they aren’t occasional, they appear every time. The major one is related to sharks. You may see a full pod stuck in water, with no intention to show any signs of existence. That’s not a group of dead sharks, but it’s a glitch. You can also swim through it to the point Mirai passes through them as they are nothing. One thing that also makes it unnatural is that sharks, whales, or other dangerous species don’t inflict any damage to you. You can easily keep roaming around their big mouths and they would react as if they snorted or saw nothing. This makes it a little boring. You would also find problems in submarine parts of the game. Some players with early access experienced frame drops while moving the camera. A minute amount did have a graphic bug too. Inside the submarine, they encountered a small rectangle at the corner of their screens consisting of glitched pixels.
You would also find the “Manta Ray” drone tough to handle. While zooming the animal for scan, you may have trouble for big animals. It isn’t the case for small animals. Players also had their concerns regarding Mirai’s appearance. Visually, she looks like a robot clothed with human skin with no humane expressions. Alienated? No! But some work needs to be done on it. Beyond Blue also looks as if it also does have issues with gameplay. This isn’t regarding the concept of the game. Diving in the ocean, finding new animals, improving the database, and returning to submarine, these tasks for a repetition loop. There isn’t anything new after some hours of gameplay. Another one is that you have very a smaller number of dives. You can only dive 8 times, and the game ends where the average time it takes to explore in one dive is, at maximum, half an hour. It would have been great if there were animal damage to the player and the number of dives increase along with resolving issues mentioned earlier.
Well, this game has very less to point fingers on compared to the concept it presents. The ocean is majorly unexplored territory, and to get a chance to glance at it is mesmerizing. Smooth and silky swimming experiences along with documentaries and soundtracks make it a fun way to learn. Ocean lovers would love it somehow!