My current thoughts on Below Zero (The Good and The Bad.)

Subnautica 6 - My current thoughts on Below Zero (The Good and The Bad.)

DISCLAIMERS: I am on Mobile, formatting will be bad. I do also know that Below Zero is still a work in progress and I will be judging and reviewing it based off the CURRENT state of it without talking about the bugs. This is my thoughts on how Subnautica: Below Zero expands the Subnautica gameplay in pretty good ways but falls short on what made the story and world great in the first game.

  • THE GOOD (GAMEPLAY): Before delving into what I think makes this game not as good as the first in it’s current state, I wanna give the devs some props. I consider the first Subnautica to be pretty much one of, if not, the greatest game to be ever made (I’ll make my review on the first subreddit if you wanna check it out when it’s done) and will solely review this game off the fact it is meant to be much smaller than Subnautica. So what did they do good? Well these things. I like the new gameplay additions like being able to pin blueprints finally (I hope that feature gets ported to the first if they decide to continue supporting the first Subnautica with small updates), the hypothermia addition, the new vehicles like the Seatruck and Snowfox, and some other stuff. Let me explain. Subnautica: Below Zero is a way more fun game to PLAY, the new additions to base building like the Control Room and Large Room are stellar and make base building a lot more tuned up than the first Subnautica. The new additions to the UI are really nice looking. The new vehicles feel really nice to use (especially the Snowfox) but need some more additions. (Seatruck should have a garden module for growing stuff if it’s meant to be a portable base much like the Cyclops) The sound design is still really nice sounding even though I was skeptical at first. Below Zero expands on the foundation the first game set up. I wish I could go more in-depth on how I feel about the good aspects on the games GAMEPLAY but I have some praise for the story.

  • THE BAD (GAMEPLAY): Islands, oh god the islands. This is my major gripe with Below Zero is that there is way too much of a land focus in this one that it’s hard to call this game a Subnautica game. Lemme explain. In the first Subnautica, there were only 2 islands. The Mountain Island and Floating Island. They both only had 1 point of interest and they knew that was the only thing they would be explored and both were small enough to not be a maze to explore. Subnautica: Below Zero has 5 islands and pretty much they kinda all suck. Except Delta Island. My biggest gripe is the stupid island Glacial Basin, it sucks. It’s just bad. It’s too big, it’s to easy to get lost, it’s just awful. On top of that, unlike the two islands in Subnautica, the Glacial Basin has too many points of interest that are way too hard to find. I had to teleport just to find the Frozen Leviathan, I can’t even find Parvan’s Bunker, the only thing I can genuinely find in the island is the Phi Robotics Lab. So you see the problem. There is something called ‘too much content’ and Glacial Basin is that thing. What they should of done is greatly reduce the size of Glacial Basin and leave the only points of interest being the Phi Robotic’s Lab AND the Frozen Leviathan and if they really wanna keep the other stuff like the Slave Architect Teleporter and Parvan’s Bunker then split those onto very small islands or turn them into places underwater, where the majority of the game should be in, and you know how much Arctic Spires is a pain in the ass. Arctic Spires suffers from the same thing that Glacial Basin does. It’s too big (Which was done probably to support Asshole the Worm Guy), has too many points of interest and is just infuriating to explore. So what they should have done is trim out the unnecessary stuff, make Arctic Spires so much more smaller (Land should not be a big thing in a OCEAN BASED GAME) so it was like the islands in Subnautica where you only went for one thing or two things only. And funny thing is they can completely REMOVE Glacial Basin and Arctic Spires because the things they hold can just be spread out in the ocean. Arctic Spires has three Architect things. The Architect Greenhouse, Arctic Spires Cache and the Master Architect Teleporter. Most of the Architect Artifacts are in the ocean, why do you need this many stuff on an island when they can be spread into the OCEAN. If you want to keep the Ice Worm then put him somewhere in the ocean. Below Zero should not take away what made Subnautica great. The fact the ENTIRE AREA around you was ocean. Whenever I play Subnautica, I feel so small because the only thing around me is the creatures and the giant ocean. But in Below Zero? I feel so contained because of the islands and icebergs around. Remember when you went so far from the map in the first Subnautica and the game started rendering random cliffs and made that terrifying sound? You can’t really go far from the map because it’s contained by the icebergs. So I see this as two things: Continue keeping these garbage islands in the game that are not fun to explore and are more infuriating to explore. Or, remove them, keep the Delta Island because that’s the only good island in the game and spread the points of interest that the Glacial Basin and Arctic Spires has, around the entire ocean. This game is a underwater survival game and has more land than it even should or even needs. I know the game is not supposed to be as big as the first Subnautica but to me I think it doesn’t do what made Subnautica great the proper justice it deserves. Okay off the topic of islands because I could make a whole essay on why the two islands Glacial Basin and Arctic Spires are absolutely hot garbage and should be removed. I really only had that complaint about gameplay for that. Delta Island is the only good island in the game. East Arctic is also pretty nice because Delta Island only has two points of interest that are really close together. The Delta Base is close to the communication tower, keep it that way. East Arctic has pretty much only the Marge Greenhouse. Keep it that way. Don’t bloat those areas and make them bigger than they have to be. Make them how you did in the first by making them be shadowed by clouds to give the ILLUSION there are no islands.

  • THE BAD (STORY): This is very hit or miss in the community, some people like it, some people hate it. I’m indifferent. There are good aspects of the story (Marguerit and Al-An to be precise) but alot of the aspects are just bad. Let’s start with Robin. At the start we don’t know ANYTHING about her, I made a post about how the old intro is so much better than the new one because of it’s slower pace that introduced us to Robin much more organically. In the new version it just plops you in without introducing ANYTHING. She doesn’t namedrop Sam, who’s her dead sister. That’s a PRETTY important detail and the DRIVING FORCE that she went onto the planet. How am I, the player, supposed to feel for her when all I hear is a character who literally, to my knowledge, has no reason to be on the mission. The only way I even know this is because of the FANDOM Wiki. I didn’t even figure out that the PDA has calls between Sam and Robin until I got to Delta Island. The story in Subnautica was so good because you could get a Seamoth, Cyclops and Prawn Suit before you even knew that a story existed in the game. In this game it not only throws out that aspect, but completely strips any chance of me giving any care about Robin and her choice going to the planet because all I see is someone who’s being stupid and going to an alien planet. So how should they introduce the actual reason you are there? Make the first minutes of the cutscene be the calls between Robin and Sam with onenof them explaining Sam was going on the planet (if it didn’t already) and then introduce audio of Sam with rocks crumbling near her. (Because she apparently died because of a landslide) THEN do the intro cutscene. I thought that up in only a couple of seconds and it already introduces major things: Robin and Sam had a falling out because of a unknown argument, Sam was last heard with rocks sounding loud and crashing down near, assumingely ending her life. This could introduce Robin’s motivation. Another issue I have is she does not react how a human would. I know she’s meant to be sarcastic but she’s too sarcastic. She has an alien in her head and the voice actor makes her sound like she thinks it’s only a minor inconvenience at the beginning. I love the dynamic between her and Al-An but it also doesn’t feel organic or human. She’s too quick to trust him, have her be skeptical towards him at first and then the more times he shows her the Architect Artifacts and Caches, have her start trusting him. She acts too simply when referring about her dead sister. Losing a family member is such a hard thing to grasp and I believe that Robin is in denial of her sister’s death. Let’s put it into perspective. Robin to our knowledge, never made up with Sam and in my belief, Sam died thinking Robin hated her. I want to take a deep dive into Robin’s character and understand her. If Jill (the new writer if you don’t know already) has the idea of making Robin use sarcasm as her defense mechanism against the reality of Sam’s death. She shouldn’t be a one dimensional character, she should have more character. Robin is one dimensional, the only emotions she has is carefreeness. Subnautica 1 was goofy at times with the PDA but it didn’t do it excessively and kept a serious tone throughout the entire thing. In Below Zero, it seems like it’s trying to hard to be funny. A death of a family member in a story does not fit a goofy fun theme. Robin makes poses with the Spy Pengling, on a planet that just wants to kill her. Yes, comedy can be in Subnautica: Below Zero. But I think it would be better for Al-An and Robin as a dynamic. I also have a complaint about Al-An. Al-An is a Architect. Architects in Subnautica were described to be vicious and heartless creatures. They killed a innocent baby by dissecting it out of a egg, they stole a egg from a very angry mama Sea Dragon, they shot down any thing that came close to the planet in order to keep the Kharaa away from the other planets, they created the Warpers. They did some awful shit. But in Below Zero? Al-An is just a joker so far. I know he explains the culture of the Architects from the temporary subtitle after finding a Artifact that looks like his body but I wanna see a ruthless side of Al-An as well. (NOT turning against Robin either) to show more of how the Architects. I want to see Al-An display the aggression that the Architects were said to have in the first game. On top of this, have him learning that the Kharaa is finally cured be both surprising and confusing for him (if that happens at least) by establishing that the Architects had a sense of superiority over other creatures because of their technology and have the fact that a simple HUMAN managed to do what they couldn’t. Establish more personalities for him, I wanna learn about him more than just a jokester. Every character should have multiple layers in a story. I might make a entire revision of the story for the developers with these ideas in mind to kinda help em.

  • THE GOOD (STORY): Marguerit is one of the best characters in this game. Let’s be honest. She’s badass, she’s awesome, she also has a good character type. She’s cautious of strangers, she’s willing to put herself in danger to survive, she only helps those who help her. Hell she killed a Reaper Leviathan and rode it’s body up to the surface from the 3rd Degasi base into the Arctic (I wonder if she came across the Ghosty Salamanders in the Dead Zone, oooo) and has a fitting home to show that. I hope she’s in the final acts of the story and gets VA soon. One thing I also like is the fact that you can find voicelogs (without VA yet) that explain what the people in Alterra did on 4546B and hope they expand that. The best part of Subnautica was you could explore the story at your own pace and it gave you a little breathing space because it gave you time to prepare.

  • But that’s my feedback/current thoughts. I got really mad at the island section in it so I apologize for that. Now I’m gonna play sum more Subnautica. Biesss

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