A couple of days ago, Activision-Blizzard broke my heart when they announced they would be pulling devs from Heroes of the Storm, that the game would enter maintenance state and on top of all, that they would be cancelling HGC 2019 (their E-Sport Pro Tournament).
As an amateur HotS player, my last two years nights were filled with constant training and battling with (and sometimes against) my team, from Team League to Custom Games against other teams and sometimes Tournaments.
But, after the fiasco, we only played for a couple of nights, then tried some LoL and DotA, and finally disbanded.
This has left me two hours off, after dinner, to explore other IP's. Something I had done very sporadically, in the last years. Since if you dedicate your tea/snack time to TCG's (Magic the Gathering: Arena ended up being my spouse, after flirting with Hearthstone first and then Gwent) and your nights to HotS, you will definitely not have much time left. to try new stuff.
I though about finishing some games that I had abandoned near the end. Mostly RPG's: Baldur's Gate I, Pillars of Eternity, Skyrim and Half Life. (Yeah, I know, I had no childhood, what can I say, aliens deposited me on my home at the age of 21 and therefore I lost some iconic titles).
But then I installed the Epic Store, since it's new, flashy and helps Indy studios, and got a real gem for free: Subnautica.
I had never played a survival game before, except if you Minecraft part of the genre, so I came almost as a virgin here. Which is cool, 'cause I got my first time with a game that you can totally fall in love with.
To begin with, the narrative is great, you get most of the story through your PDA (like and underwater Pipboy), which will analyze what you pick up, eat, scan or slash; through the radio transmissions; the wrecks; and of course through planet 4546B biomes and structures.
The story will evolve around you, and will progress with you, and the more expert you become and the more gadgets you make, the more you'll learn of the water world around you, about it's fauna and flora, about it's ecosystem which is on the brink of disaster.
You'll want to survive and escape for sure, but you'll also learn to love the place. I might still have some Stockholm Syndrome for it, since I'm listening to it's soundtrack while writing this post.
All that I mentioned previously shows that they build the story while developing the other parts of the game as well, maybe even before those, which is imperative for a good narrative. And the tale unfolds seamlessly, it's intriguing and mysterious, which brings us to the next topic.
As HP Lovecraft once said "The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown. "
A survival game wouldn't be really engaging if it's only fear was fear of starving or drowning. We have Netflix for that.
And Subnautica brings back one of humanity's deepest fears of the unknown: Thalassofobia.
Thalassophobia (Greek: thalassa, "sea" and phobos, "fear") means an intense and persistent fear of the sea or of sea travel. It can include fear of being in large bodies of water, fear of the vast emptiness of the sea, of sea waves, and fear of distance from land.
Subnautica appeals to this ancient fear humanity has had from immemorial times, by surrounding you by water on every direction.
Sure there is some land, a couple tiny specks of islands, not enough to cure you from sea sickness. But if you really want to progress, to solve this game's puzzles and learn the truth, survive and escape, you'll have to go deeper. deeper underwater, where the monsters lie.
Ann Radcliffe, the gothic novelist, at the beginning of the 19th Century distinguished terror from horror by claiming: ¨Whereas terror is a feeling of dread that takes place before an event happens, horror is a feeling of revulsion or disgust after an event has happened.
Radcliffe described terror as that which "expands the soul and awakens the faculties to a high degree of life," whereas horror is described as that which "freezes and nearly annihilates them."
And I promise you, once you've heard the Reaper Leviathan's Roar, you'll feel terror.
Sounds: Music & Ambient
I can't put enough emphasis on how well chosen were the sounds for this game. The ambient music is kinda electronic, which synergizes perfectly well with the pace set by the underwater exploration. I believe it represents you, as the player: the mechanical force that will overcome nature.
The music will match what's happening on the outside and will make you engage deeper (no pun intended). All the different creatures have meaningful sounds, from the nutritious Peeper fish, to the pacific Reefback Leviathan. All Fauna sounds are on point and properly set the realism of the game.
Regarding the carnivores, even the little ones can scare the shit out of you, besides from their behavior being perfectly represented (they'll attack you from behind, from below, from above and everywhere you don't expect them) the sounds they make are enough to make a grown gamer want to get out of the water for a while.
I never actually thought about it, but I'd rather have something fly at me, or run at me, than swim at me.
Subnautica is a great game, it's fun, engaging, mysterious, innovative and has an incredible story, also it's totally free to download on the Epic Store, which will probably be receiving a lot of new IP's (leaning to the Indy side), because it's a lot more Game Dev friendlier than Steam.
They're also already making a sequel already: Subnautica Below Zero.
And you, my friends, need to play it.
© Post "Subnautica: A personal analysis" for game Subnautica.
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