Subnautica

[no spoilers] i scanned a reaper today

Subnautica 4 - [no spoilers] i scanned a reaper today
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i was exploring northwest of the aurora on my hardcore save, hunting for a good location to plop down a little supply depot, when i started hearing the tell-tale roars and went ohhhh boy… not thirty seconds later i look down and there she is. mabel. circling in the murky water directly beneath my feet. while i tread water and weigh whether i should just cut my losses and nope out, i see her snap her head around, and then a yellow cloud of blood blooming in her wake. must be a school of fish down there with her, so i think she's liable to stay put if i swim away.

but no. non-essential systems maintenance chief ryley robinson did not get where he is today by being a pusillanimous coward! true, at least three other crew members that he knows of were most likely slaughtered by beasts such as this one, but he is not like them. he has a stasis rifle and a medkit in his inventory. he'll be fine.

so i head up to the surface for some air, ready my stasis rifle, and dive straight down. i'm perhaps 15-20 meters above her when she looks up at me. i stare straight into her cold, beady black eyes. i can see the teeth lining her grinning maw. a hysterical giggle escapes my throat as her next roar rattles through my headphones. i tread water and take aim as she abandons the peepers she's been hunting and comes swimming up to investigate me instead.

the blast hits her directly in the mouth, freezing her head in place while the rest of her body thrashes fruitlessly through the water. i close the last few meters between herself and me while she roars and roars and roars, as if infuriated by my trick. i give her another fully charged blast for good measure, settle in behind her enormous mandibles, and begin to scan. this is for science, i remind myself, as my heart hammers and every instinct shrieks for me to just take out the seaglide and get away. for science!

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Read:  [No Spoilers] PRAWN is crap, change my mind?

…the scan is at about 20% when i hear the absolute worst sound in the world, slicing through the leviathan's enraged screams like a knife through flesh: the grinding, metallic noise of a warper phasing into existence somewhere nearby. i can't see where. my whole screen is filled with angry, writhing reaper and the blazing white light of the stasis orb. all i know is that it's close.

my imagination takes over, as it always does at the worst possible moment: the warper is behind you, it whispers. it is watching. it will wait until the stasis orb fades and then, in your moment of distraction as you fumble for your precious rifle, it will strike. it will serve you up to this leviathan on a silver platter and laugh as it blows your save to smithereens. AND YOU WILL DESERVE IT FOR BEING SO RECKLESS!

but i am lucky, and perhaps the warper is feeling merciful: i complete the scan without incident, give mabel another fully charged blast from the stasis rifle to give myself a good head start, and book it out of there as fast as my seaglide will allow. i never actually see the warper, which somehow is the scariest part of this entire, completely self-inflicted, ordeal.

all of which is to say, i think i really earned that motivational note. i had fear palpitations so bad afterwards i had to pause the game and walk around for a bit to calm down.

also, subnautica is one of the only games i've ever played that freaks me out on such a visceral level. having a reaper roaring right into your ears is terrifying, even when you know it's in stasis and can't hurt you. 10/10 would scan again.

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