Love! or Hate! Endless Ocean
Yes, many will tell you that narratives need conflict (although this limits our definition of narrative – “I went to the store” is a narrative), but more strictly speaking a game needs rules, which are what Endless Ocean lacks, more or less. A game without rules is play. Not that there’s anything wrong with that – I’m very fond of rule-free exploration, having whiled away hours in Halo’s Forge, Electroplankton, Crackdown and even Assassin’s Creed doing very little for which I could be evaluated. So I’d side more with Michaël (although I’m talking out my ass since I haven’t played the game yet).
There’s a hardcore-vs.-casual aspect to people’s discussion of this title, naturally, which is interesting to watch. But perhaps the game’s true value is simply in challenging our sense of what game means, and suggesting that a beautiful space might be enough. Beauty is enough to make us like a painting – why not a game?