Looking out over the quiet evening as it fades into the hustle and bustle of the sectors neon streets I often wonder if I’ll ever leave here. I mean seriously, when I think about it, I try envision myself on some far away place. Maybe just over that wall, in a new and untouched partition. I always wondered what’d that be like. To be the first program to set his code in a blank space.
Bah, who am I kidding, I’d never make it through the first week! Too boring I think, I need the sounds of this grid. I need the hustle of programs making their way to an fro through the data ports. What can I say? I love this city.
Maybe it’s because of this game that I feel the need to stay here, sure I could get caught by a SecOp patrol but, From what I remember of this case? I’d rather that than what happened in that file. Take a gander maybe you’ll get the wandering spirit or just maybe, you’ll learn to appreciate your current surroundings better.
Now, usually I review older games but, I’ve been playing this non-stop on my new rig and all I have to say is WOW. I started in the early release of this game and just recently ( as of this review it’s been 2 weeks since a very large update.) the game looks amazing. From the visual effects down to improved crafting system. Well, I’m getting ahead of myself.
Brought to you by Unknown Worlds Development, (The folks who also made Natural Selection 2) This is a open-world survival game; and I know what you are thinking “ ANOTHER ONE?!?” But, seriously trust me on this one.
Our story starts as you are the only survivor of the colony/ mining ship the Aurora, now the ship has crash landed on this new world ( what looks to be a very large earth-like planet) completely covered in water. Yes, you heard me WATER. In fact when I first played this game there was NO land at all. As of this first impression there is an island. A single ISLAND.
Now, I don’t know how many of you have been in the actual ocean, but let me tell you from first hand experience it’s terrifying. On land you have an idea of scale. you see a person or a car or a tree and you can make out sizes relative to you. Not so much in water. First of all, you eyes don’t really work that well under water, secondly things get REALLY big under water. I mean REALLY BIG. Add into the fact that you as a land dwelling creature are in NO WAY equipped to maneuver with any kind of efficiency in this medium which makes escaping from top tier predators almost impossible. You might be able to run from a bear or a lion, heck even wolves if you’re lucky. Sharks though?..No such luck. Assuming you EVEN see one before it’s too late they tend to hunt like ninjas or raptors in Jurassic Park, if you see one, you never saw the other two that just tore you in half. Also there’s that thing about moving in all 3 dimensions. Normally we only move across land, occasionally up trees or down hills. In water? 360 degrees around you as well as above AND below? You’re truly effed mate. Oh and lest I forget about the top two problems about being underwater: 1) Air and 2) AIR. Now I know, you’re saying to yourself, “ But, wait that’s the same thing!” Yes. I realize I mentioned it twice, that’s because it’s such a BIG CONCERN it needs both top slots.
And Subnautica takes all this into account in an experience that I like to label:
Best Underwater Horror Simulator of 2015.
Normally I’d do an in-depth ( no pun inten..oh, who am I kidding, I totally meant this one.) review but, seeing as of this writing it’s still in early access I’ll just give it more of an impressions piece.
Now over all, the games graphically is just amazing. The colors and water effects are just breathtaking. Each of the different biomes around the downed Aurora and even the Aurora itself are all very distinct. Each with appropriate lighting and subtle atmosphere changes, from the green tinged forests of the kelp-like Creepvines to the pinkish-purple hues of the glowing underwater fungal caves. The devs have really captured the awe and very alien world that is what we expect of an ocean; and while the ocean here is filled with strange creatures from an alien planet, our ocean still produces some of the most diverse creatures on THIS planet.
As you can see here, you start in a life pod. It’s small cramped but, it does have everything you need to survive. To the left of your seat you have your Nano-fabricator. This device serves as your all-in-one crafting station, allowing you access to material refining, food and water creation and tool fabrication.
Crafting is relatively easy, as you can see here to create a survival knife for each component you have in your inventory, it becomes highlighted when you have all the components necessary, BZZAAAP! Item crafted by lasers! How cool is that? Easy items can have as little as a single component where complex ones can take multiple base components to create multiple advanced components. For instance to create a computer chip you need at least 3 components but if an item requires 2 chips, glass and lets say a wiring kit, things start getting complex. You’ll need all the components you can gather to start. The knife will be your best friend early in the game as it is the ONLY item to deal LEATHAL damage in this game.Yep, no spear guns or underwater lasers or any harmful artillery of any kind. You wanna kill something? You’re gonna have to go toe to toe…err toe to fin with it and if it’s a predator? You will not get out unscathed.
The second item I would recommend is the scanner. This is actually new to the game at this point and is actually a really cool addition, it allows you to scan certain creatures and some of the underwater items to help not only flesh out the lore behind this world but, also to help you to find alternate uses for both creatures and minerals or plants while you’re stuck on this strange world.
As you can see when aimed at a scannable creature or anomaly a reticule will show, just left click and beep! data will be uploaded to your data pad with any relevant background information or possible uses. This is amazing as it allows you to catalogue new things you find as you explore and add them to a growing list of items you’ll need to survive.
Oh! Yeah what’s that grumbling sound? Is your throat getting dry? Almost forgot! You’re gonna need food and WATER! So you are on a planet that’s like 98% water and looks like you are going to die of dehydration. What do you do hotshot? WHAT. DO. YOU. DO? Well first you want to look for a fish. Yes, a fish. This fish in fact.
You see this sorry little bastard?…Yeah no matter how HUNGRY you get do not eat it. I repeat DO NOT EAT THIS FISH. As far as I can tell, this guy here? Is your only source of potable water. YOUR ONLY SOURCE OF WATER. SO do what you need to. Catch them when you can and put them in the nano-fabricator and BZZAP!!
A glorious bottle of filtered water! Made by lasers! How awesome is that? LASERS! Okay, not gonna lie it most likely tastes like liquid fish but, better than dying. Now, as for food? Any other fish you can catch you can eat. Just grab them or hit them with your knife and bring them back and slap them on the ol’ fabricator and ZZZZAAAAP!! Again, cooking…with LASERS! Man, if I had this thing in my house, I’d have WAY more dinner parties.
Now that you have a basic idea of the game, it’s time to explore!Get acquainted with your surroundings. Be very aware of the sounds around you, sound travels better underwater so, you hear a lot of things before you see them and if something sounds huge and angry? It probably is.
Just to let you know this is just the tip of the iceberg, soon you’ll be able to construct Underwater bases, personal and full-size submersibles and so much more all while doing your best to survive on a wild new planet. Of course you will also die. That’s kind of a given, Whether it be by some horrible ravenous creature, You run out of food or water or even get lost in a cave system and run out of air.
There are huge expanses of areas to explore and as this is an early access game it’s not 100% ready for prime time but, let me tell you what it does have is just stunning. If you want a different take on survival games give Subnautica a try. If you’ll excuse me I’ll just be heading out and trying to not to get EATEN by some horrifying undersea sanity-draining monstrosity while attempting to build my own New Rapture.