Subnautica was first released in early access for PC back in December 2014. However, it gained the full release in January 2018. So over the last four years, what did the developers at Unknown Worlds get up to? The game has had many updates and bug fixes since is early access days and has also spread from PC to consoles. I've owned the game since early access and to see where it is at now is rather nice.
The game is a open-world adventure survival game, complete with a story. In Subnautica you explore the oceans on an alien planet, collecting materials and much needed items to try to survive. The game can be played on a standard monitor but it also supports virtual reality (HTC VIVE and Oculus Rift), so if you have a headset, you can fully immerse yourself. While a lot of survival games are traditionally multiplayer, Subnautica is a single-player experience- although there are rumours of a multiplayer mod coming in the future. Either way though, even as a single-player title, it is fun to experience the creepy atmospheric sounds and interacting with the underwater aliens, whether they are friendly or not.
Subnautica is built for multiple playthroughs. Before you start, you get to choose how difficult you would like things to be:
- Survival – Players must manage health, water and oxygen levels in order to survive.
- Freedom – Like survival you must manage health and water levels, but you are able to swim underwater and explore for an infinite amount of time.
- Hardcore – This is for the brave. Exactly like survival mode. However, you are ONE life and ONE life only. If you die from health or oxygen or getting attacked by underwater monsters, the game will end.
- Creative – This mode is for players who want to build and explore freely. Normal blueprints and materials are not required to build items and sea vehicles do not require energy to run. (swim)…
Loading the game does take a little patience, as there are many different biomes, creatures, salvage, ships and islands, so there is A LOT to render in.
Once it's finally loaded, you go into a cut scene where you are in a life pod ejecting yourself before you see/hear your ship explode. Once you've hit the ocean, you notice that your life pod has taken damage and you can now take control and play. This is where you are introduced to your fabricator, which is essentially your crafting table. This will enable you to create gear, important materials, cook your food, make drinking water and much more. It is worth having a look at this once you are in the game in order to plan what you would like to work towards first.
You don't have much inventory space, which is fair enough as you are only in a underwater suit. However, it can become pretty frustrating. There were many times I had to make an underwater, floating locker to put some random stuff in so that I wasn't carrying it on me. There is also a foot locker in the life pod that has some items in already and you can place other stuff in here when you are full too.
Once you leave your life pod you are free to explore to your hearts content. If you wander too far, your life pod has an automatic beacon so it will always pulse and show an icon in the distance. You can choose whichever direction to swim to, just remember that the deeper the go, the slower it will be for you to get to the surface.
You will find that some items will start to rot the moment you take them back to the surface. This adds an extra layer of difficulty, as you will need to think about what materials you need and plan ahead before bringing everything back to your life pod. As you would expect, different items can be used to craft different necessities, so you can cook fish, or turn a ‘bladderfish' into a filtered water bottle etc. Fish will be your main resource for a while until you are able to venture further and find new items for crafting better gear or resources. While scavenging in the ocean, you will need to use a scanning tool around wreckages in order to unlock new crafting blueprints.
Later down the line, once you have gained enough blueprints and created enough tools, you get one that enables you to build a full underwater base. You can use this to set up your own fabricators, storage lockers, aquariums, sea vehicles and so much more. Base building is quite easy, but it is recommended that you scan pretty much everything once you unlock it.
The game definitely has a lot of content in it, However it is very much solely relied upon crafting and surviving. It's a little bit of a grind to get the items/gear that you need to get to certain areas, however if you put in the time you will have a lovely looking underwater base, your own ways to get resources to help you survive and the whole world to explore.
KitGuru Says: Subnautica is a fun experience if you enjoy survival games. There is a new expansion coming out in the future too, so while the game is out of early access now, it will continue to get new content in the future.