Well, this review has been a long time to come and it’s not really my fault. In fact, I shouldn’t even be writing this review, the game isn’t finished yet but you know what. I think there is enough actual gameplay, enough to do for me to be able to write a review.
I am not going to make you read the whole review to find out what I think, It’s FANTASTIC, I am going to start by telling you this now so that I can start with some negatives. I would hate to think that I started with the negatives and you got bored and then missed out on a must-have title.
So here is my personal list of negatives that are probably going to be addressed in the future but right now, they are negatives.
- No multi-player. It’s 2016, everyone is connected and we want to play together. I completely agree with an offline mode but my god this game would be great fun with friends, even if there was only a co-op mode.
- No real handheld offensive weapons. I get the whole let’s not hurt the animals but having to hack a sharp-toothed bastard fish (this is my own category of animal and includes any species with teeth and a will to bite me) with a knife for a minute or two before I can reap the benefits of a biome is getting dull fast.
- No way to scan for fragments. Yes, exploration is the name of the game but on my 60th play through creating content for youtube I would like a quicker way to find the components I need meaning less editing and less time spent aimlessly searching.
- Air tank capacity. OK, I get that we need to surface to refill our air, but if I went diving at 40ft I would take one tank and could dive for at least 45 minutes. In this future setting 3 tanks at any depth near the surface will last less time than I think it should and I often cut it very close. It’s not long enough, irritating and ultimately ruins the immersion.
- No expandable storage. I want to be able to gather more items, I can build complex mechanical items but I can’t figure out how to make a small rucksack! Nuff said.
Let’s move on then to why the game is great. For those of you unaware of the title Subnautica is, at heart, an exploration/survival game that takes place on a water world.
You start out in a life pod escaping from the Aurora, your capital ship, which (at the time) is crashing for an unknown reason. Once this cut-scene finishes you are left to your own devices, there you go captain, don’t die.
If you have been with the game from the beginning then you will have seen the updates, the continuous development, improvements to every aspect of the game, graphically the game looks incredible, the water looks wet. I know that’s weird but the game is mostly about surviving in water so it really is a big deal. The water looks like water, it didn’t use to be this way and it’s just one way the gameplay has improved
It’s not just in the looks department, so much content has been added that if you haven’t played for a year or more you will feel like you are playing a completely different game. There are new vehicles and equipment and its more than just find x to get z, no, no, no, you will need to search a lot of the map to get comfortable. For example, to get a basic Seamoth, that is just the base ship with no extras like torpedoes or additional luggage space you will first need to build a scanner. Once you have the scanner you will need to explore to find the parts, one of the best places to Seamoth parts to scan is on the Aurora, so you should probably first scan all the parts for the Seaglide, which takes batteries, and they don’t last long so you need to find plenty of copper.
Actually the scanner needs a battery too so to start with you need copper, but actually, you need to be underwater for extended periods so first you should find yourself some titanium and glass to make some scuba tanks. To get glass you will need to find quartz. So you have quartz and titanium and have made some tanks and you have now found the parts to make a scanner and you have also found the Seaglide fragments and have them scanned, you make the Seaglide and head to the Aurora, you get close and you start to get irradiated so you turn back and start looking for the parts to make a radiation suit. You get your radiation suit and you head to the Aurora again this time protected. When you arrive you head into the Aurora finding batteries and power cells everywhere, you are scanning everything you can find, desks, chairs even waste bins.
You are then confronted with a door which has a code lock, you check the datapads and sure enough you find a code. You enter into the lower decks of the Aurora and find lots of new things, two Seamoth fragments, awesome, but you need three so keep searching, you scan a PRAWN suit, OMG this is awesome. Grab more datapads use your welding tool to repair the drive on the Aurora and head out. OK I came for the Seamoth, I have a PRAWN suit but still need to find another fragment for the Seamoth. On the way back you finally discover the final fragment you need and you get back to base elated. Right lets make these awesome things, you realise you need an aweful lot of materials to make these suits. You spend some time gathering them, making lockers to store them and then you have everything you need. Damn, I need a mobile vehicle bay to make them.
You see, to make A you need B, C, D and E but to make C you also need J, which needs K or you have had it. There is no boredom though, you are always looking for something, exploring land masses (I have currently found two and do not know if there is more) and grabbing data pads which begin to tell the story of what caused the Aurora to crash, you find out your reason for visiting this world in the first place and in future updates you will find out more and be able to investigate who or what was involved in your crash.
Many moons ago there was possibly two hours of game play before you had done everything and seen it all, my current save is 4 hours in and I have only just finished gathering the items I need to make the Seamoth, I haven’t found all of the Cyclops fragments, the Cyclops is my sub, its massive and I can dock the Seamoth or PRAWN suit in it to recharge or repair. I will get to it though, I am currently searching for moon pool fragments and building my second base reasonably deep in the Grand Reef.
There is more game here than in many released titles, you sense the passion of the developers when you play and I am really looking forward to the future of the game.
So whilst this is a sort of review you should think of this review as incomplete, nay, early access. There is more to come but if you want a buy or not buy recommendation. DID YOU READ THE REVIEW, GO BUY IT NOW, QUICK BEFORE IT SELLS OUT.