Subnautica |OT| The Devil in the Deep Blue Sea

TeenageFBI

Member
Oct 25, 2017
2,280


Developer: Unknown Worlds Entertainment (best known for the Half-Life mod Natural Selection and the standalone Natural Selection 2)
Platforms: PC, Xbox One
PC Release Date: Steam Early Access: December 16 2014, officially released on January 23 2018.
Xbox One Release Date: Xbox Game Preview: May 17 2016. Not yet officially released due to ongoing performance optimization. The current version is content complete.
Price:
$24.99 (temporarily down to $22.49), £15.99 incl. VAT
Genre: Deep sea survival
Multiplayer: None
VR Support: Yes
Reviews: Eurogamer (Recommended), Rock Paper Shotgun (Recommended), Destructoid (95/100)

Cinematic Trailer

Gameplay Trailer (contains minor exploration spoilers)

This is a last-minute thread for a game that I love. A survival game that I love. Subnautica may be the only survival game that ever really clicked for me, and it all comes down to the setting. You crash land on a planet comprised almost entirely of water. From the Eurogamer review:
Where other survival games are merely about heading out, Subnautica is also about heading ever further down. Close to the escape pod the water is shallow and inviting, swirling with things you can eat and light on things that can do you harm. There are fat rollercoaster tubes of coral that house mineral deposits (plus the odd noisy surprise), and shimmering sandy basins where you'll find walrus-like creatures with gumball tails sporting clownishly. At night the reef becomes a fairground, lurid with glowing purple fungus and flights of unblinking neon eyes, making it possible to hunt after sunset. But as you venture beyond this idyll, whether to answer a radio call from another survivor or in search of rarer parts, the dance of smaller fish recedes, the water thickens and the silhouettes you spy undulating in the distance grow less and less friendly.
Besides the absolutely beautiful starting areas and caverns, the later game leans right into DEEP SEA HORROR, and it's goddamned brilliant. There's nothing like swimming through massive trenches, too deep for the sun to reach, while you catch glimpses of... something... in the dark.

There's a lot to do. Scavenge for food and clean water*, build tools, scan wildlife Metroid Prime-style to learn more about your surroundings, build a base, grow plants, search for blueprints to build more complex tools and vehicles. There's even a minor narrative, with audio logs and mysteries to unravel.

One thing you won't be doing is fighting. Precious few of your tools have offensive capabilities, and what you do get is ineffective against the biggest threats. Instead, you're encouraged to find your niche in the food chain and find a way to co-exist.

Era, I love this game. I've been following it since it first appeared on Early Access in 2014 and I saw how the regular content updates turned it into something special. Few games manage a sense of exploration better than this and it absolutely deserves your attention.



*The hunger and thirst meters can be disabled. Even as someone that dislikes most survival games, I prefer to leave them because they're not much of a bother and they add interesting gameplay elements. You can even choose to make your character invincible if you're only interested in the base building.
 
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Gabora

Member
Oct 25, 2017
3,071
Sao Paulo, Brazil
Subnautica is the only survival game that ever clicked for me. I played for a while about a year ago and then abandoned because the technical issues were getting in the way and the game was pretty unfinished. Can't wait to sink my teeth into the final release.

Thanks to Markiplier for getting me into the game, his lets play videos were great at selling this game.
 
Oct 25, 2017
9,506
Can’t wait to see what they changed. There was always this annoying glitch where the items chose not to scan for me in specific wrecks.
 
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TeenageFBI

TeenageFBI

Member
Oct 25, 2017
2,280
Oh god, how do I get rid of that awful purple text? Remove formatting isn't working. Era thinks it's a URL or something.
 

Syril

Member
Oct 26, 2017
3,787
While playing it has largely reconfirmed how much survival/exploration games aren't my thing, I do appreciate the developers being aware how crazy actual marine life is.
 

Erheller

Member
Oct 25, 2017
1,043
Hey, thanks for making this OT! I was considering slapping together an OT (I had a post typed out in the Unknown Worlds thread), but this is better than what I could've put out on short notice

Like you, Subnautica is really the only survival game that's clicked with me (since Minecraft). It's so good. The exploration and atmosphere are top-notch - it truly feels like I'm in an alien world with new surprises around every sand dune. It's also got a great gameplay loop that encourages (but never forces) you to keep expanding your boundaries, both horizontally and vertically.

Subnautica is a really special game. If you're even remotely interested, I suggest checking it out.
 

ASleepingMonkey

The Fallen
Oct 26, 2017
2,856
Iowa
So, I played this on Xbox when it first launched. It didn’t really click. Really cool concept but I spent hours just going in the water, looking for stuff, crafting stuff, and feeling like I wasn’t really progressing. Should I revisit it? I got kind of annoyed constantly going down, going back up, and ultimately nothing of interest really happening after several hours. Where does it go from that point?
 
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TeenageFBI

TeenageFBI

Member
Oct 25, 2017
2,280
So, I played this on Xbox when it first launched. It didn’t really click. Really cool concept but I spent hours just going in the water, looking for stuff, crafting stuff, and feeling like I wasn’t really progressing. Should I revisit it? I got kind of annoyed constantly going down, going back up, and ultimately nothing of interest really happening after several hours. Where does it go from that point?
Did you repair the radio in your starting craft? It nudges you to various points of interest that push the story forward.

Anyway, the Xbox Game Preview launch was over 1.5 years ago. A whole bunch of new stuff has been added since then. You'd have to start a new game though.
 
Oct 25, 2017
1,702
Didn't know this hit 1.0 until I saw the thread. I never looked into it as I had my hands full with Early Access crafting/survival/base-building and thought I'd rather wait for it to be content-complete; that, and it's not often that I'll click with games in first-person, particularly not when it comes to construction. (Good heavens, what a stacked year it is for Early Access success stories making it to full release, with RimWorld, Factorio, and Oxygen Not Included all on track to do so by the end of 2018.) Now I'm putting it off because of that 20 GB space requirement, but I think I should mark this out as something to look at soon.

Is this a game where you can just peacefully mill about building gargantuan systems? Is it possible to build sustainably and indefinitely? What kind of pressure is the player under—gradual resource depletion, random events, super-boss obstacles that obstruct your progress, or something else? What's the permadeath situation (on, off, user-adjustable)? I like what I'm hearing in the OP about it being non-combat; I mostly wonder about economic depth, how much variety there is in the tech/construction paths, how your base management scales up from your initial activities, and so on. This is a genre where early games tend to be roughly similar in nature, and late games are where the range of experiences truly becomes distinct.
 

PogChamp

The Fallen
Oct 27, 2017
5,118
Despite being very interested, I'm not going to be able to play this. I think I have a genuine phobia of the ocean.



Even this unsettles me greatly.
 

Al3x1s

Banned
Nov 13, 2017
2,824
Greece
Fire it up in the build or whatever mode where nothing can hurt you etc to overcome your fear then play :)
 

ned_ballad

Member
Oct 25, 2017
20,777
Western New York
I gotta upgrade my PC at some point. I've owned this game forever, and never got around to playing it. Been watching streamers play it on Twitch and getting really into the world.
 
Jan 2, 2018
1,383
Really hoping for it to be one of the games in Humble Monthly of this month- this is exactly the kind of games that makes me want to jump to VR.
 

Spheyr

Banned
Oct 29, 2017
26
If you haven't at least tried this with a VR headset, you're missing out.

Like... if you're in Pittsburgh, come over here and try this.
 
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TeenageFBI

TeenageFBI

Member
Oct 25, 2017
2,280
Is this a game where you can just peacefully mill about building gargantuan systems? Is it possible to build sustainably and indefinitely? What kind of pressure is the player under—gradual resource depletion, random events, super-boss obstacles that obstruct your progress, or something else?What's the permadeath situation (on, off, user-adjustable)?
As much as I love this game, I haven't finished it because I've been waiting for the final release. I'll answer what I can though:

All of the survival elements are user-adjustable. You can disable the hunger/thirst meters. You can even make it so that you're invincible. There's a permadeath mode if you're into that.

You can deplete areas of resources but they'll eventually respawn if left alone. This is done to push the player towards more dangerous and interesting areas. Technologies are available that limit your impact on the local ecosystem (grow food rather than kill fish, for example).

I'm not sure if I'd call them random but there are a bunch of interesting story-based events.

Bases can get quite elaborate. I don't think there are any technical limits besides what your PC can handle.

I can't really talk about the endgame since I haven't been there.
 

Arthas

Member
Oct 25, 2017
1,437
I just tried the demo on the X. Holy shit I enjoyed the first half hour but then this ugly bastard ‘fish’ had a pop at me and then chased me to the surface. Proper gave me chills (of the bad kind!). I quit for now but I think I’m intrigued enough to go back in and wrinse the demo.

Visually it looked great. Performance, mostly good but the occasional frame freeze. Not a slow down, a freeze. Hopefully that will be fixed soon.
 

Erheller

Member
Oct 25, 2017
1,043
Is this a game where you can just peacefully mill about building gargantuan systems?
Yep. There's a plotline to follow, but it's not required at any point.

Is it possible to build sustainably and indefinitely?
Yes. I'm pretty sure most resources respawn, with a few exceptions (things inside wrecks, plot-related items).

What kind of pressure is the player under—gradual resource depletion, random events, super-boss obstacles that obstruct your progress, or something else?
The normal pressure you're under is basically food/water. Early on, the game pushes you to explore the wreck of the Aurora (the crashed ship), but nothing really happens if you ignore it. Most of the time, the game indirectly pushes you to explore by showing you wrecks and cool new biomes and inviting you to explore them (and rewarding you by giving you new blueprints).

The most pressure you're under is to repair the drive core of the Aurora so that the radiation goes away.

What's the permadeath situation (on, off, user-adjustable)?
There's a permadeath mode. There's also regular survival mode, which has food and water meters, and if you die you respawn back at base, losing any items you gained while you were out. Someone here mentioned build mode, where you can't be hurt (haven't tried it myself).

I mostly wonder about economic depth, how much variety there is in the tech/construction paths, how your base management scales up from your initial activities, and so on.
The game is gated pretty ingeniously, IMO. The main way the game gates areas is through exploration and water depth. The world is quite large, and it's difficult to find areas. There's a radio you can repair or build, and occasionally you'll get distress calls from other lifepods - these usually crash in new, interesting biomes, and the game is basically saying, "LOOK AT THIS COOL NEW BIOME GO EXPLORE IT HERE'S THE LOCATION". New biomes give you new blueprints and resources. When you start the game, you can't store a large amount of oxygen in your tank, so you're relegated to diving in the shallows. But as you find more blueprints you can dive deeper and explore new biomes. You'll also be able to construct sea vehicles and underwater bases, which can extend your diving range even further underwater until you're hitting depths of 1000m or more. There are also tools like laser cutters, gravity guns, rebreathers, and more that all help you reach different areas.

It's very non-linear - when I started playing my almost-1.0 run, I managed to get to a mid-game area quite early, and using some unorthodox methods, obtain some advanced blueprints. The game nudges you in the direction it wants you to take sometimes, but allows you to go pretty much wherever you want if you're clever enough.
 

Iso

Member
Oct 25, 2017
514
The only early access game I think I've ever purchased.. Absolutely worth it, I've had a TON of fun with this game over the years. Haven't played in quite a while so i'm excited to catch up on everything I've missed.

The base-building in this game is super addicting.
 

arimanius

Member
Oct 27, 2017
1,215
My wife and I have been watching people play this on twitch recently. Game looks absolutely stunning.
 

ASleepingMonkey

The Fallen
Oct 26, 2017
2,856
Iowa
Did you repair the radio in your starting craft? It nudges you to various points of interest that push the story forward.

Anyway, the Xbox Game Preview launch was over 1.5 years ago. A whole bunch of new stuff has been added since then. You'd have to start a new game though.
I think I had a tough time finding the resources or it didn’t explain how to repair it or something and I just got confused. I’ll give it another go.
 

Yam's

Member
Oct 27, 2017
564
I really wanna try this game for the exploration mainly, but I'm afraid I'll end up giving up because of the farming aspect that seems to come with the genre. The world looks really beautiful, but if I spend most of my time looking for plants, it's gonna get boring very fast.

Might wait for a sales.
 

LoveBug566

Member
Oct 27, 2017
344
I was watching a well known Twitch streamer play it yesterday. I can not believe I've never heard of this game before. I was so impressed by what I was seeing and the fact that it has VR support is a huge bonus for me.
 

Retsudo

Member
Oct 28, 2017
219
Bought this a while ago, but have been waiting for the 1.0 release to dive in. Good to see so many good impressions from the folks here.
 
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TeenageFBI

TeenageFBI

Member
Oct 25, 2017
2,280
I'm so interested in this game - I absolutely adore underwater exploration ala Ecco: Defender of the Future or Aquanaut's Holiday (PS3), but don't have an XBO or a competent enough graphics card. Looks like one of the devs confirmed a PS4 port a while ago, which I don't think was previously known. Is this sound info or BS?

https://www.reddit.com/r/subnautica/comments/7r4sww/flayradev_speaks_about_ps4_port_hopefully/
The devs talked about a possible PS4 port in the livestream last night. They want it to happen but nothing was confirmed.
 

More_Badass

Member
Oct 25, 2017
15,797
Yep. There's a plotline to follow, but it's not required at any point.



Yes. I'm pretty sure most resources respawn, with a few exceptions (things inside wrecks, plot-related items).



The normal pressure you're under is basically food/water. Early on, the game pushes you to explore the wreck of the Aurora (the crashed ship), but nothing really happens if you ignore it. Most of the time, the game indirectly pushes you to explore by showing you wrecks and cool new biomes and inviting you to explore them (and rewarding you by giving you new blueprints).

The most pressure you're under is to repair the drive core of the Aurora so that the radiation goes away.



There's a permadeath mode. There's also regular survival mode, which has food and water meters, and if you die you respawn back at base, losing any items you gained while you were out. Someone here mentioned build mode, where you can't be hurt (haven't tried it myself).



The game is gated pretty ingeniously, IMO. The main way the game gates areas is through exploration and water depth. The world is quite large, and it's difficult to find areas. There's a radio you can repair or build, and occasionally you'll get distress calls from other lifepods - these usually crash in new, interesting biomes, and the game is basically saying, "LOOK AT THIS COOL NEW BIOME GO EXPLORE IT HERE'S THE LOCATION". New biomes give you new blueprints and resources. When you start the game, you can't store a large amount of oxygen in your tank, so you're relegated to diving in the shallows. But as you find more blueprints you can dive deeper and explore new biomes. You'll also be able to construct sea vehicles and underwater bases, which can extend your diving range even further underwater until you're hitting depths of 1000m or more. There are also tools like laser cutters, gravity guns, rebreathers, and more that all help you reach different areas.

It's very non-linear - when I started playing my almost-1.0 run, I managed to get to a mid-game area quite early, and using some unorthodox methods, obtain some advanced blueprints. The game nudges you in the direction it wants you to take sometimes, but allows you to go pretty much wherever you want if you're clever enough.
This is the most brilliant aspect of the game. It’s perhaps the most ingeniously designed approach to crafting and scavenging in the genre, because the game knows what it is and what drives players to explore. And thus everything you craft and scavenge is in service of letting you go a bit deeper, stay down a bit longer, so you can find better ways to descend deeper and longer.
 

Deputy Dangle

Member
Oct 25, 2017
109
Picked this up last night after waiting years since its Early Access launch. Everything I've seen of the underwater bases, vehicles, and exploration looked really up my alley! The first hour of the game really throws you into the fire in a way that makes some sense narratively, but the early learning process was so overwhelming trying to figure out what things I should be building first in a sizeable list of known blueprints (having crucial things like the scanner, oxygen tank, and repair tool be deep into said list is an odd choice). On top of that, you're getting these audio logs warning you about rising radiation levels and your crashed ship preparing to explode. At first, I misinterpreted those messages as referring to my little malfunctioning escape pod and it warning me to repair it in time. I was stressed out to say the least!

Still planning on sticking with it, but I was hoping the introduction would be a little more graceful in rolling out its mechanics.
 

Dremorak

Member
Oct 25, 2017
2,560
New Zealand
I really want to play this in VR but my current setup its impossible to get a controller hooked up where my vive is....and besides, I want to play it with full motion control :D
 

Hierophant

Member
Oct 25, 2017
1,336
Sydney
I just want to be swimming along and just encounter some horrific Lovecraftian monster, probably going to purchase this if someone can confirm to me that something not dissimilar to this happens.
 

More_Badass

Member
Oct 25, 2017
15,797
I just want to be swimming along and just encounter some horrific Lovecraftian monster, probably going to purchase this if someone can confirm to me that something not dissimilar to this happens.
Courtesy of Eurogamer’s review
I'm on my way back to base from a salvaging trip, hold packed with lithium from shale deposits on the edge of the reef. The sub - a chubby, whirring frisbee with a bubble cockpit - has taken a few knocks while rooting through the trenches, and in a moment of great wisdom, I hop out to perform some repairs. It's not an entirely idiotic decision. The sea floor ahead is thick with towering ferns that provide cover for a species of coyote-like predator, whereas right here I can see nothing save schools of fish the size of my thumb, twisting in the dark like flurries of snow. In hindsight, the absence of larger fauna really ought to have set a few alarm bells ringing, but all I can think of are the scratches on my Seamoth's lovely yellow finish. Besides, I've got two health packs left, and a fancy thermo survival knife that cooks anything you hit with it. The water holds no fear for me.

I've barely aimed my repair gun at the sub when there is an almighty crunch and it vanishes. Turning, I glimpse the vessel's headlights spinning wildly through the blackness, and in the glare from those headlights, a corkscrew motion and the flash of dense, milky-white flesh. Whatever it is, it's so big that I can't see all of it. There's another horrible metallic screech and the Seamoth is released, to dangle sadly in a halo of debris and spurting gas a hundred metres off. Swimming over to it takes approximately ten seconds and thirty million years. Scrambling inside with my heart in my teeth, I hastily switch off the lights and check the sub's hull strength. Five per cent. The water around me is utterly still. All the same, I decide to head back to the shallows before attempting further repairs.
 
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TeenageFBI

TeenageFBI

Member
Oct 25, 2017
2,280
Still planning on sticking with it, but I was hoping the introduction would be a little more graceful in rolling out its mechanics.
I never really felt pressured at the start but I can see how someone may feel that way. It may help to know that there are very few hard time limits in the game. I’ve only seen one and I don’t think anything bad would have happened if I had missed it.

As for feeling overwhelmed, there’s no rush at the beginning. Just build what sounds interesting. Item requirements for crafting will naturally point you in the right direction.

I just want to be swimming along and just encounter some horrific Lovecraftian monster, probably going to purchase this if someone can confirm to me that something not dissimilar to this happens.
This is a thing that will happen.
 

Dineren

The Fallen
Oct 25, 2017
1,294
I'm glad to see this finally out of EA. I bought it a long time ago and played it for a few hours, but I decided to hold off until release to play more of it. So far, it seems like they've done a great job. Hopefully I can put in a decent amount of time before MHW consumes me. I wonder if it's worth playing in VR, I haven't used my Rift in a long time.
 

Hierophant

Member
Oct 25, 2017
1,336
Sydney
I have mild thalassophobia (sea is big and dark and we don't know what the fuck is lurking down there) so this game could potentially be my horror game of the year 2018.
 

Slev

Member
Oct 27, 2017
239
I have mild thalassophobia (sea is big and dark and we don't know what the fuck is lurking down there) so this game could potentially be my horror game of the year 2018.
Can confirm if you have thalassophobia there will be plenty of scary moments. The sound design alone scares me at times.
 

Arulan

Member
Oct 25, 2017
1,219
I should probably ask in here too. I'm curious about the final VR implementation. Is it good? Can you interact with your hands for everything? How does the UI work? Thanks.
 

Almeister

Member
Oct 25, 2017
490
I just started to build my first base and I feel like such a champion survivor no longer being limited to that pokey escape pod! Fuck you, 4546B - I am master of the shallows!
 

Elandyll

Avenger
Oct 25, 2017
3,682
I can finally get back in the game, thank grop!

Had stopped playing about a year ago because it seemed every other update was requiring to restart from scratch.

Great game, will buy again on PS4 when it releases there (devs said hopefully this year too).