Subnautica is such an absolute gem of a game. It’s incredibly atmospheric, well paced, incredible to look at, tense, the lore is interesting, coherent and largely told through the environment which I love, the fish are well designed, sound design is incredible, the music is good, and most importantly, every single inch of the map feels so well designed with thought and purpose behind it.
Seriously, I think that one of the most important reasons as to why I loved to play this game so much, is because the map is “only” 4 km2 , but every single bit of it was interesting. The safe shallows are playful and colourful, the grassy plateaus feel massive with the reefbacks flying over, the dunes are incredibly dreadfull with their dark atmosphere and lack of vegitation, fuck the mountains the jellyshroom caves somehow both feel rediculous yet so fitting within the world, and I simply have no words for the Lost River which is an incredible journey to go through.
All the sea creatures you encounter feel so alive too. The way the PDA gives you such detailed information about what they are like and how they function just highlights the work that os put in to create a world that logicially functions within the framework that it created for itself. They are both beautifull and terrifying and it is fantastic. When I first journeyed to the Aurora Crash-Zone, and I could see a massive tail fin in the distance without seeing whatever head was attached to the other end of it, that so heavily speaks to the imagination as to what the hell that darn thing was and how the heck you can get away from it as soon as possible, and it created an adrenaline rush that not many games have been able to summon in me. When I got to the front of the Aurora, I thought the shaking of the screen was caused by the monster as opposed to the Aurora collapsing, so quite frankly, despite the reapers size, it was smaller then I anticipated. Then I died. (Side question, why do all the reapers have black eyes except the ones at the Aurora which have green eyes? Or am I remembering that wrong?)
There were basicly 2 big points in my playthrough that changed my way of playing. The first was when the sunbeam was coming, and because I was too affraid that I might miss the event and maybe screw myself over that way I wiki’d the event, and the sad thing is that in doing that I started spoiler large part of the story for myself which, although there is still plenty of things and creatures and surroundings to see beyond the story elements, does take away from the experience. I wished that I had more self-restrain there, because it would have made an incredible journey even more amazing.
The second was when I eventually said “you know what, fuck it, let’s just dive in here and drown, see what happens”, because it showed me that death in this game is actually pretty forgiving (as you only lose what have more in your inventory then when you left), meaning that I was able to be more assertive in exploring and scanning things, meaning that I’d start to see way more different thing. And in Subnautica, exploring does really make the game into the beauty that it is, so that enhanced my experience massively.
Obviously there is some grinding and farming involved (it’s a survival game after all), but I feel like it isn’t too too much of a problem just because of how beautifull the world is, and other then titanium (which is really easy to get), I feel like the amount of resources that you need is pretty managable. When I finally took off, my previously filled storage rolm was virtually empty except for havig a ton of lead left over , but I’d say the end-game rocket is allowed to be a bit of a resource dump as it is a freaking rocket after all. It also really helps that you get access to the phasegates at the end of the game, so that you don’t have to traverse through the river all the time. You don’t want to know how glad I was that the Airtraffic-control tower comes with a portal to the geo-thermal plant when I realised I needed ion-batteries for the rocket and I forgot to pickup that blueprint there.
The thought that the Precursor race both isn’t bad, because they try to find a way to eliminate a virus that kills over 100 billion people, yet is also a little bad, because due to their lack of accounting for seadragon headbutts they infect fhe entire planet with the virus eventually leading to the crash of the Degasi, the Aurora, the Sunbeam and probably ,and probably many others, is a really interesting way of storytelling thatmakes different perspectives clash together in my head and it makes me really thing about what is good and what is bad and I love that because I totally wasn’t expecting it from this game.
Subnautica just feels complete. Yes, it has it’s flaws and some bugs. I glitched out of the Aurora once which was quite annoying and I’ve seen plenty of animals make donuts at the speed of sound. Also Im fairly certain that Sea Dragons are actually Digletts in disguise. But none of the glitchess were too bad to the point of irritation (and most made me laugh tbh), and any annoyences or shortcomings in game mechanics where just minor issues or cases of personal preference. I think this game is incredible, and the Sea Emperor’s death really made me emotional. I finished this game in about 60 hours, and I love every second of it. It is most certainly high up my list of favourite games of all time, and I definitively will be buying Below Zero when it goes into full-release and hopefully not spoil myself on the story this time
Thank you for reading. Sorry for any spelling mistakes. I really just wanted to write this off my chest because my head has been a rollercoaster after basicly continually thinking ablut subnautica for the past month or so.
Great game devs! Very good indeed!
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