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Aquanaut's Holiday impressions

Jonnyram

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Jun 8, 2004
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"I want to be a little fishy, yes I do, yes I do, yes I do..."

As an owner of Forever Blue on the Wii, I got excited about this when seeing the early trailers in HD. I wasn't going to pick it up, for financial reasons, but curiosity got the better of me, and I figured I could part with Forever Blue to assist with the cost if needs be.

It's a stark contrast to the aforementioned Wii title, probably because of the resolution more than anything. I'd originally thought that Forever Blue looked pretty good because the resolution is not so obvious for a game with a mostly blue palette, but after booting this up, the difference became immediately apparent.

Another advantage the PS3 offers is in the audio area. Even in the introduction, the surround sound was showed off extensively, with shoals of fish circling around you resulting in an instant feeling of being surrounded by these little buggers.

Then the next big difference became apparent - you don't swim in this game. Rather, you pilot a small sub. It's kind of cool, since you can access all the functions like the aquatic library and logs while you are underwater, but it loses a little of the adventurous feel that Forever Blue has. You feel somewhat less humble and vulnerable when you are in a vehicle, unfortunately. It does mean you can move around a little more quickly, though, which will probably be appreciated when I am further in the game and the area I can visit has opened up substantially.

Adding aquatic life to the library is also significantly easier than Forever Blue. Thankfully you don't have to pet things endlessly to win their affection - you just click them to lock on, then click again to pick their info. This will probably be tricky for faster fish, but it seems adequate so far, and removes an unnecessarily frustrating element.

There is a relatively interesting story going on at the same time -- some guy has gone missing and you have to find his logs and work out what has happened to him. At first, your sub's computer is unwilling to tell you anything about the situation, but as you discover logs, the computer offers more information and you can dig further into the mystery.

Apparently it's a remake, but I'm not sure as I've never played the original PS games, but anyone craving for an HD underwater experience should definitely pick this up. The language barrier may be slightly large, but if you just want to look at the scenery and the wildlife, I should imagine there isn't much that will hold you back.

 

Jonnyram

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Jun 8, 2004
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Oh yeah, the font is tiny and I need to sit close to my screen to read it :( About the only negative thing I can say about this so far.
 
Mar 21, 2005
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Thanks for the impressions, Johnny.


Being a huge fan of the PS1 version, this is definitely a 'must have' for me. I must say, I am a bit concerned about its localization future. Since AFRIKA is getting boned in the West, I don't feel too confident that Sony will make a proper release out of this (or did I miss some confirmation?)

How 'import friendly' is this?


Is it pretty realistic or does it have quirky/obscure elements to it like the original? I use to love running into squid with the sub and hearing that strange squeaking sound. :lol
 

inner-G

Banned
Jul 28, 2007
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WA
Are the main objectives in the game spoken or just written?

If written, does it have furigana?
 
Mar 21, 2005
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JEKKI said:
wait, so is this game supposed to be like Policenauts, except in water instead of outerspace??


......no. It has as much in common with Policenauts as it does with Madden '96.
 

ElyrionX

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Jun 10, 2004
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I really wish we would get some news on the localization front.

Anyway, thanks for the impression, Jonnyram.
 

Fafalada

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Jun 22, 2004
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TheJollyCorner said:
I must say, I am a bit concerned about its localization future. Since AFRIKA is getting boned in the West, I don't feel too confident that Sony will make a proper release out of this (or did I miss some confirmation?)
I read somewhere(maybe it was here :p) about Afrika getting an English version in December (Asian release), so maybe that gives better hope for this title as well?
 

ElyrionX

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Jun 10, 2004
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Fafalada said:
I read somewhere(maybe it was here :p) about Afrika getting an English version in December (Asian release), so maybe that gives better hope for this title as well?

I did hear from a local retailer that an Asian English language version is "definitely" coming in a couple of months time.
 

Afrikan

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Jun 27, 2007
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I really think they released this game and Afrika too close to each other...... I mean I really want this game but...I want to finish Afrika first .... I don't think this game will sell too much its first week because of being released to close to Afrika...... so I hope Sony doesn't take these types of games for granted in the future because of Sales....

they should have waited a couple of months.....
 

leroy hacker

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Apr 17, 2007
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Is the ocean separated into zones like Endless Ocean? That was the big downside of that game to me, in comparison to the original Aquanaut's Holiday which had a completely open design with no artificial boundaries.
 
I know this has been said many times before, but I really won't understand if Sony doesn't bring this to Europe and North America. Marketed correctly, I think both titles could help Sony make inroads into the so-called casual market. Also, they're two of the few titles that I desperately want for the system (along with LBP, of course - and Siren, which I have for some reason not yet bought) :lol

If Sony fails to bring these over, I think it's a pretty good sign that they'r resting their hopes on the so-called hard-core market in these territories - which would be too bad, IMO.
 

Sega

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Feb 13, 2005
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Has it been confirmed that the asian version of Aquanaut's Holiday was translated to English? I'd like to buy it, but I don't want to buy on a rumor. The asian Hakuna Matata has been confirmed to only be in Japanese, right? Makes me doubt Aquanaut's Holiday. Ebay has one listing of AH that says "Asia" on it, and it lists the game as being Japanese only.
 

ElyrionX

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Jun 10, 2004
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Sega said:
Has it been confirmed that the asian version of Aquanaut's Holiday was translated to English? I'd like to buy it, but I don't want to buy on a rumor. The asian Hakuna Matata has been confirmed to only be in Japanese, right? Makes me doubt Aquanaut's Holiday. Ebay has one listing of AH that says "Asia" on it, and it lists the game as being Japanese only.

Play-Asia lists the Asian version as having Japanese language. They're usually quite reliable when it comes to such things.
 

Jonnyram

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Should have answered these questions earlier but couldn't even find my own thread :)

TheJollyCorner said:
How 'import friendly' is this?
I thought it was going to be quite story heavy at first, but in reality it isn't that heavy. If noone translates the story, you probably wouldn't be that lost without it. There are sub quests where they ask you to find specific things, but a guide would help out, and I don't think there are too many.

TheJollyCorner said:
Is it pretty realistic or does it have quirky/obscure elements to it like the original? I use to love running into squid with the sub and hearing that strange squeaking sound.
I haven't come across anything as quirky as that. It's generally very realistic, aside from things like collision detection (e.g. a long thin eel blocks you like a brick wall). The graphics and sounds are all about immersion though, and work very well. I'm not a diver, but I suspect a few aspects of the presentation are rather idealistic (perfect ocean, high levels of colour, fish seldom leaving their territory), so probably not realistic in that respect, but that's all about gameplay.

inner-G said:
Are the main objectives in the game spoken or just written?

If written, does it have furigana?
Everything is written, nothing is spoken. No furigana.

leroy hacker said:
Is the ocean separated into zones like Endless Ocean? That was the big downside of that game to me, in comparison to the original Aquanaut's Holiday which had a completely open design with no artificial boundaries.
There are "zones" but the game is seamless. You can move between them as and when you want. The first time you enter a new zone, you'll get a cutscene and some new music, but subsequent visits are totally transparent. This is one of the things I love about the game :)

vercity82 said:
Just got this and stuck on the second beekon :( who else picked this up then?
If you haven't figured it out yet, you have to go back to the base and buy another battery from the professor. You can only carry one at a time (at first?).

---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

And now further impressions! I've played about 3.5 hours now.

As I said in reply to leroy hacker, the seamless transition between areas is a godsend after Forever Blue. Also the ocean design is wonderful -- lots of caves, tunnels and multiple layers. For example, in the latest area I've reached, there was an area that the beacon lit up, but I couldn't get to it because of a piece of the seabed that was raised like a mountain. However, I found a series of tunnels that wound round and took me deeper and deeper. My fears about the feeling of being in a sub earlier have disappeared. It's a pleasure to navigate around the water, and is mostly easy to steer. The first person view only adds to the immersion, and if you leave the controls alone for a while, the HUD disappears and you can just watch the sealife get on with it's own business. Very cool.

I still haven't gotten that far with the story, but apparently it has something to do with these four sounds I've found on rocks at the bottom of the ocean. These sounds are supposedly used to communicate with aquatic lifeforms, but I haven't figured this out yet. I found a sub-event when I found a whale though, which is a more typical "find this item" kind of deal. I still haven't found the item, though I had fun searching around a wrecked 17th Century ship for a while. I guess it's just not in that shipwreck :/

So how does the game stop you venturing into the furthest reaches of the ocean on your first dive? There are these sonobuoys which are used to "locate" you, but they are all deactive. You have to buy batteries from the boss of the research facility and put these batteries in the sonobuoys to reactivate them. The area around that boy is then added to your map and you can go there freely. Some of these buoys also contain log data that add to the story (about this guy that has gone missing). Unfortunately, and a little frustratingly, you can only carry one battery at first, which means you have to return to the base frequently. But I assume this will increase later as there are five spaces in that part of the HUD. Apparently the sub has a lot of other stuff that gets upgraded too, but apart from the auto-pilot mechanism, I haven't seen anything of this yet.

There are two people at the research labs that you can talk to when you return to base -- one is a girl who gets carried away with the romanticism of the ocean and believes in any old crap, the other is the boss who is really skeptical and doesn't believe any of the nonsense that you're getting involved in. They contrast well, and so far the volume of conversation has been just right. The sub also has an on-board AI that talks to you about some matters, but for the most part is hiding facts from you at the start of the game, thanks to security clearance that you don't have, but presumably will have at some point. Very X-Files.

Trophies: there are some bronze trophies that unlock when you find new areas. They're the only ones I have so far. I think the bulk are related to completing your aqua library, and engaging in the song stuff which I haven't worked out yet.

So is basically a remake of the PS1 game, from what I've said so far?
 

StuBurns

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Jan 9, 2008
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I'd eat this kind of crap up if Sony put it out worldwide.
If this one stays Japan only like Afrika I'll be shocked, I really can't see the justification of region exclusives, especially when so little localization is required.
 

WYWY

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Apr 13, 2006
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OK I've spent about 3 hours with this.

As a sign of the kind of the 'free-roam' play-style here, my progress is pretty different from Johnnyram, seeing and experiencing different things. I stick much closer to the story as I progress. There's actually a pretty good mystery story here. You can go exploring wherever you want to, but following the story will guide and aid your exploration progress. Oh it won't turn totally linear, consider it along the lines of "you can go to A,B,C,D or E but maybe you can try A or C first. But you can always come back later if you don't want to".

Following the story will also gain you upgrades and stuff, such as increasing the battery capacity, allowing you to deploy the NaSU thingees that allow you to "shortcut" to selected areas instantly, etc.

And I'll have to say, at this early stage the story - though 'just' a missing person mystery - is already superior to 99% of the jrpg nonsense we usually get. A boon for those who enjoy a nice plot.
 

WYWY

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Apr 13, 2006
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5 hours.

Unexpected surprise - a camera function that saves screen-shots to the HDD!

And it's gearing up to be a really good exploration-mystery-adventure experience. Very good level design for the different regions and how they connect to one another.
 

Jonnyram

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WYWY said:
As a sign of the kind of the 'free-roam' play-style here, my progress is pretty different from Johnnyram, seeing and experiencing different things. I stick much closer to the story as I progress. There's actually a pretty good mystery story here. You can go exploring wherever you want to, but following the story will guide and aid your exploration progress. Oh it won't turn totally linear, consider it along the lines of "you can go to A,B,C,D or E but maybe you can try A or C first. But you can always come back later if you don't want to".
Yeah, I had gone off and explored that whole area on the left first before realising what the Singer fish were. So now I've been back on the story trail. The new area "Izanai no umi" is absolutely jaw-dropping. I took a photo on my PS3 hard drive, but not sure how to get it on to my computer :lol
 

Jim

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Jun 7, 2004
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How are the Trophies? Looks like the game has quite a lot.

Jonnyram said:
I took a photo on my PS3 hard drive, but not sure how to get it on to my computer :lol

USB jump drive, PSP, memory card/stick, iPod, etc?

Great impressions! Fingers crossed for an English language release.
 

Jonnyram

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The trophies seem pretty well balanced. Lots of collection-related ones and a few that are exploration-based, and then a lot that are related to the Singer fish.

Anyway, here's the pic I took:

 

Jonnyram

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OK, I'm about half way through now. The story is getting really interesting and somehow the seabed gets more and more beautiful. They must be saving the best for last.

Also this singer minigame gets ridiculously hard. I'm going to have to start writing down the patterns soon. They go up to level 10 in one pattern and then switch to a faster pattern and that goes up to level 20. I'm seriously getting stuck around level 13/14.

I also unlocked a speed upgrade for my sub, as well as an observation mode, which is an awesome attract mode/screensaver if you want to leave it running while you do housework or something. It cycles through the different areas, panning cameras around each sonobuoy. Of course it only shows areas you've been to already, so no spoilers, thankfully.
 

WYWY

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What? Only two here has this? Hmmm... I may have to start putting up screenshots - good games deserve to be promoted!
 

ElyrionX

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WYWY said:
What? Only two here has this? Hmmm... I may have to start putting up screenshots - good games deserve to be promoted!

I may buy the import version if it's confirmed that there will be no English release.
 

BudokaiMR2

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Dec 18, 2005
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Huh this sounds really interesting. Full price game? I might actually pick this up out of curiousity as I love the ocean. Might be a nice replacement for scuba diving since I can only go once a year or so. lol
 

CTLance

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Jul 21, 2007
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momolicious said:
Sony better bring this over to US
Oh yes please. PLEASE. I'm more of a Ninthing, but more gamers playing diving games is a good thing. It's one of the games that I want on the PS3. Judging by the impressions I'll need to wear diapers when I finally get my PS3 and this game.
*stealth fanboy happy dance about Endless Ocean 2 "announcement"*



Also, I was asked to whine for more pics by a non-gaf friend, in no uncertain terms:
Also, ask this lucky bastard for more pictures!
No. Demand them!
I can't say I'd oppose some more pics, really. Hence:

I DEMAND MORE PICTURES FOR THE GREATER GOOD AND BETTERMENT OF ALL OF MANKIND.
 

ElyrionX

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So how likely is it that excessive whining on GAF about wanting an English version of AH would make Sony take note and do something about it?

:(