I never finished FFX, but yeah, there's beach / tropical / ocean stuff going on. I mean the main protagonist wears shorts, and he plays soccer underwater. I guess his race can breathe water? I don't know.
Just a note here; I plan to get a head start on this event tomorrow. That is to say, I'm going ahead and starting on Aquanaut's Holiday: Hidden Memories slightly before July. First I must read its rather thick user manual... I'd hate to crash my submersible drone on its first voyage.
After a month of raging at really hard sixth gen beat 'em ups, and shooting lots of grey dudes to death, I'm looking forward to something more relaxing and serene. Here's hoping AH:HM is exactly that!
I spent two hours playing Aquanaut's Holiday: Hidden Memories on PS3 last night, good times!
In the Kisira Atoll (Polynesia) is an oceanographic research station called Wise Lab. Originally there were three scientific researchers working there. The young open-minded Jessica Porter, the conservative chief Robert Kemelman, and the genius aquatic-sonographer Bill Graber. Underwater research was being conducted using manned submersibles called DOLPHIN. The DOLPHIN submersibles can only hold one operator at a time, but DOLPHIN has onboard AI capable of intelligently conversing with its operator (loneliness isn't an issue).
Bill Graber went missing on one of his recent DOLPHIN trips, while researching sound emitting rocks deep underwater. The government has written him off as dead, and the (extremely expensive) DOLPHIN submersible as lost. It is assumed Bill lost his bearings due to navigational errors. The Kisira Atoll has large amounts of magnetite in its seabed, causing traditional navigational equipment to malfunction. Bill had worked around this by installing sonobuoys throughout the area. The sonobuoys emit sonar pings that work with equipment on the DOLPHIN to maintain direction and orientation. However, occasionally the sonobuoys' batteries run out, and in that case they stop operating. It is assumed Bill lost his way deep underwater when the sonobuoys his DOLPHIN was navigating by lost their battery power.
This is where the player comes in. In this game you act as a journalist with a marine biology background. You're trying to uncover more information on what happened to Bill Graber. Upon arriving at Wise Lab, you receive instruction on how to operate the DOLPHIN-02 (thankfully the research facility had more than one DOLPHIN submersible). And are allowed to free roam around the atoll searching for clues as to where Bill went. The existing sonobuoys act as gatekeepers, to enter a new area, fresh batteries must be installed in them. This costs Wise Lab money, obviously. To afford the batteries, the player assists Wise Lab in marine research. Which really means, the player catalogs fish as they are discovered throughout the area.
Cataloged fish go into a compendium, which the player can view at any time. The player may read about any given species (there's 260 different species to find in this game), as well as examine the fish's 3D model in detail. The graphics in doing so are very impressive, even ten years after this game's release. You can see each individual scale on a fish, for example. There's also a paragraph of information describing each fish. This aspect of the game is obviously education, and optional. I enjoy it though, learning things I didn't know about all sorts of marine fish.
The DOLPHIN-02 is upgradeable, although how you do so I'll save for a later entry. At this point, I've simply spent my time exploring the waters of the immediately surrounding areas of Wise Lab (known as The Sea of Tranquility). Thankfully fast travel is built right into the map system, so the player doesn't have to slowly meander along just to return to the lab. Thus far I've been cataloging fish to build up the research fund, in which I spend said fund to buy sonobuoy batteries, and install the batteries to increase the range at which the DOLPHIN-02 can travel. I've also been discovering ancient artifacts beneath the waves, that obviously have something to do with what Bill was researching. Not sure what all that means yet, but we'll see. Every time you return to Wise Lab, you can speak with Jessica or Robert. Each have their own perspective of current events. Jessica is prone to believing in the paranormal and myths, whereas Robert always seeks the objective scientific perspective of a subject.
So far I have greatly enjoyed my time with Aquanaut's Holiday: Hidden Memories. This is an extraordinarily relaxing game to play, as I hoped it would be. You can't die or even be harmed, it's all exploratory and observational. The graphics are very impressive given their age, slightly above what the Wii did with the amazing Endless Ocean games. One key advantage the PS3 has over the Wii in that regard, is that this game can display massive pools of fish swimming at once. As well as a dozen different species of fish swimming together. The Wii was never able to pull that off (trust me though, the Endless Ocean games are still graphically outstanding). If I have any complaint about Aquanaut's Holiday: Hidden Memories at this point, it's that there's a distinct lack of non-fish species so far. I've seen no crabs, no sea slugs, no jellyfish, no shrimp... that sort of thing. I did locate one starfish though! Hopefully other areas of the atoll will have increased species diversity aside from just fish.
This is a REALLY great game so far. I was hoping for what would equate to Endless Ocean 3, and so far I'm getting that vibe overall. Oh how I wish there were more games like this being made. Beautiful simulation experiences about exploration and learning, serene and relaxing - while also intriguing and immersive. Not just for the ocean, but let's say hiking, mountain climbing, or hang gliding... space exploration... oh well I digress. The last thing I did last night was unlock an area of the atoll called "The Sea of Melody". So tonight I'll pick up from there.
Turns out there's a way to upgrade the DOLPHIN-02. There are special fish in the ocean called "Singer Fish". When you find one, you can play a Simon-says sort of game with them, by mimicking their twitter (a series of tones) using your onboard sono-ping system. If you successfully mimic their twitter, they will reward you with "meme". I am not kidding guys, the terminology used in this 2008 game is "twitter" and "meme". Anyway when you collect enough meme, you can upgrade the DOLPHIN-02 in various ways. The first upgrade was to be able to carry an additional battery for sonobuoy deployment. Now I'm trying to upgrade the DOLPHIN-02's depth capacity, as in being able to diver deeper. I think I'll need to be able to dive deeper to reach the next section of the atoll.
Five random things I did in Aquanaut's Holiday: Hidden Memories tonight...
Found an ancient cat statue that meowed underwater due to unique gas dispersion properties.
Cataloged a bowmouth guitarfish.
Had a conversation with Jessica Porter about how a sand dollar correlates with feng shui and Taoism philosophies.
Discovered evidence of a faked government bombing used to cover up the existence of a telepathic marine diety?!
Mapped out the positions of five huge moai heads, and used their positioning to crack the code encrypting an ancient poem relating to a strange black fish, and how due to its isolation the fish developed the ability to sing.