Subnautica 1

UPDATED: Gripes about Subnautica Below Zero. Slight spoilers.

Subnautica 6 - UPDATED: Gripes about Subnautica Below Zero. Slight spoilers.

In my last post a long time ago I had some gripes that I let loose (mostly concerning the story) but with Subnautica having many updates since then I thought I'd update it.

I still don't understand the story (mainly concerning Marguerite) but I'll leave that out this time since subnautica has never really been that big on story.

First Gripe: So my first gripe is the biomes/environments…..there's not much to them really. In the first game, almost every biome felt unique and fun to explore/find, filled with not only new resources but creatures and lore as well. In this game, they feel too samey and big for their own good. They feel and look like multicolored rocks yet have less personality than rocks. Like for instance, what's so good about the deep twisty bridges? It's purple and almost the exact same as regular twisty bridges except for squid sharks and it being underground? I personally equate this to the game's map being way too big for its own good. Speaking of…

Second Gripe: The map is too big for its own good. While subnautica's first world was big it didn't feel overly so. Even without beacons/markers, you could navigate it properly and still feel as if there was something new. With the new map….it's too big. You can easily get lost because there's not much uniqueness to the biomes. Don't get me wrong, I love big open worlds (in fact it's one of my favorite genres) but map size doesn't always equal to map quality. The map is so big that it ends up feeling empty when coupled with the samey looking biomes.

Third Gripe: Finding story locations. It honestly feels like a chore in this game. There's little to no hints on where to find story-based locations (and even when there are hints they're almost useless or too vague to be of any use). I can't tell you how many times that, even with the use of youtube videos and coordinates, I've gotten lost while looking for something like marguerit's greenhouse. While some might argue that the first game held your hand a bit too much I'd argue this game makes it impossible to find anything. I'd much rather have a marker showing me where something is and then have the option to turn it off (so as to make it more organic feeling/harder) than none at all. With the last game, everything was easy to find because even if you didn't have beacons/markers turned on you could find almost anything due to landmarks or the uniqueness of biomes. You know you have a problem in your exploration game if every commentator in existence has to say "yeah, you see this very hard to see crack that looks the exact same as every other crack? Yeah go 30 feet to the right and you'll find what you're looking for."

Fourth Gripe: Too many big, aggressive, creatures. Yes, the previous game had some big creatures in it but they added to the horror due to the fact there weren't many of them and their behaviors/sounds were unique. Plus said creatures were only around big and important finds, making the risk of running into them worth it. Now though there's some leviathan-like creature every 5 feet and placed at random for seemingly no reason. For instance, the lilypad biome is filled with squid sharks that are just there. They don't really protect anything, they just exist and are, for the most part, very easy to dodge. While I adore most of the creature designs (say for the Cryptosuchus which looks like a stock asset you could find on a store) they're not exactly scary. Now, this doesn't mean their designs aren't horror inducing but when you see them so often and so much any horror they could give is gone. Take the reaper for instance. Not only does it have an amazing design but it wasn't everywhere. What made the reaper so scary wasn't just it's design but that when you saw it, you knew you were in trouble. You always had your eye open when you entered the Aurora or a shiver went down your spine every time you heard its roar or saw it's tail peak out in the distance. Now with things like the squid shark any horror they could've given is gone. Instead of thinking "OH MY FUCKING GOD A SQUID SHARK! I'M DEAD! RUN!" you now think "Oh….a squid shark. Better just avoid it".


Fifth Gripe: The new vehicles in this game aren't all that good. I will admit, I too was excited that a 'proper' mobile base like the seatruck was being added. Finally, I could pack up everything I needed, and maybe to would even have its own power source (since that's what stopped the cyclops from being a true mobile base) but it flops, HARD. Not only is it much more expensive and dangerous (thanks to its modules) to get than the cyclops but it's also slower than the seamoth or even the cyclops itself. I, outside of maybe the aquarium and teleportation modules, see the seatruck as a downgrade in every way. You know that storage module you were so pumped to get? Well, guess what, it's smaller and far more expensive than a regular large locker. Oh, what about the sleeping/fabrication modules? Both are more expensive than their counterparts and somehow more useless, especially when given the fact that two or more modules massively slows down the seatruck (unless you get a special upgrade, which even then doesn't help much). I never once found myself using the sleeping or fabrication modules as it was always cheaper to just quickly build a base, use the fabricator inside the base, and then deconstruct both when I was done. Now there is such a thing as a prawn docking module….but it's not really that great. Unlike the cyclops, it doesn't seem to charge your or repair prawn suit and you cant even enter the prawn from inside the sea truck. Instead, you have to exit the seatruck completely, swim over to the prawn, and then enter the prawn where the claws holding it in place automatically release it. You also, for whatever reason, cannot dock the prawn suit unless the module is docked to the seatruck. You can enter the module, ride it around, but you cant dock the suit? I mean if you accidentally disconnect the module it still holds the prawn suit in place (assuming you had it docked to the module before it disconnected) so why can't it work in reverse? And finally the snow fox….still isn't that great. It is very hard to control and maneuver and can still only be used on land (making it less likely you'll ever use it aside from tracking down one land-based thing). On that note….

Sixth Gripe: The land segments are actually painful. I thought for sure that they would've fixed how your character acts on land since you're on it so much but not by much. You're still extremely slow, which they attempt to remedy with the snowfox but it's incredibly hard to control and in my personal opinion a waste of resources. Especially when you can use the prawn suit instead, but even that has it's downfalls on land. The grappling arm doesn't go anywhere near as far as it does when underwater and even with a jump upgrade your jump is painfully small (which somewhat makes sense, after all, you weigh more on land than underwater, where the thrusters made for water can boost you). It all feels like a bad attempt to force you to use the snow fox, which isn't really worth it in my opinion.

Final thoughts: Subnautica Below Zero is not a very good subnautica sequel YET. It's slow, is a chore to explore the world, the story is nonsensical if you followed the lore of the first game (so far, I know the lore/story isn't complete yet), and has had it's horror elements stripped down to the bare minimum. It doesn't feel like it's from the same studio that made the first game, more so a well-done fan game.

Do you agree with me? Or do you disagree with me? Feel free to put it in the replies!

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1 Comment

  • Reply
    Jan 27, 2021 10:18 pm

    First Gripe. I actually like the environments, they seem more natural.

    “Second Gripe: The map is too big for its own good.”
    I actually did the maths and Below Zero’s map is almost 50% smaller than it’s prequel.

    Third Gripe, yes, the story is currently quite a mess and there’s no story hints, but that’s how I except it to be, if the game is unfinished and I would be the developer, I wouldn’t make any clues about the story until it’s ready to not spoil the full release.

    How about 4th, 5th or 6th, those updates make the game harder, as I think normal Subnautica was too easy.

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