A forced landing in the middle of an aquatic alien planet. Your mission: to survive at all costs. Sounds unoriginal, right? Well, the opposite. As we will see in this analysis, Subnautica is the survival you were waiting for, capable of surprising without neglecting its base.
I‘ve always had a strange relationship with that genre that we used to call Survival, but without the horror, which took off from nothing with Minecraft creating a series of experiences with great ideas and approaches, but that, in my opinion, did not get to embroider in the experience for a player. Everyone, including games such as Rust or Ark: Survival Evolved, would work better or worse economically, starting from a very good premise, but relentlessly supporting the multiplayer for the second half of the game, at which time the surprises were diluted and the witness of the story and atmosphere were collected by the anecdotes with your friends.
Subnautica is, by far, the best experience I’ve had in a Survival (without horror). Not only does it appear, but it is a completely finished game, without bugs and without seeming to break if you do what you should not. But above all, it remains true to the experience for a player, coping with the rhythm of history and events. It manages to capture our interest at the beginning and keeps the progression of the game in its proper measure. Definitely, if you’ve ever been interested in a game with these characteristics, but you backed out your half-finished appearances and did not seem to have a clear and concrete ending, I strongly recommend you to try Subnautica. It is the first surprise of the year .
Subnautica is, by far, the best experience I’ve had in a Survival (without horror)
And it’s easy to prejudge because the premise of survival in a completely submarine alien planet does not seem at first sight as attractive as the paradisiacal environments of an island, a forest or a world populated by dinosaurs. Further for those who have never enjoyed water levels in video games. I could not be more wrong: SubNauticaIt contains a beautifully designed underwater universe with many possibilities that are more surprising. Starting from our rescue capsule, after the accident of our gigantic spaceship, the events take place in the order of interest until they take unpredictable tints and encourage you to continue beyond mere survival, tracking the seabed to get the precious resources for the development of more advanced objects and structures.
The feeling of being a futuristic Robinson Crusoe could not have been more successful. The first part, so to speak, is based on obtaining basic materials that allow us to produce water, food and health. Little by little, we will build advanced tools such as a knife, a scanner, a flashlight or improvements to our suit, which will allow us to have more oxygen to explore the eternal ocean. When you least expect it, you are building complex underground bases, with ingenious formulas to bring energy and oxygen to your interior, all organically and without the need for tutorials. You will create cabinets to catalog your materials and build more complex machines and structures. And you’ll want to do it to be able to venture further and further away and discover the secrets that this strange planet keeps.
That said, it may sound like an idea played and replayed, but like all the great works created today, it is more interesting how the Subnautica approach was developed, to what really counts. The way to call attention to everything you can do in this world is fluid and completely natural. As the game detects your progress, it will unlock new events that occur or that you are alerted through a radio. These events will test your newly acquired skills, increasing the chances of getting better materials and advance in history, but with a much greater risk.
Do you have less accomplished moments? It is more than possible. Some advanced tasks to get resources and manage your storage can become tedious in the middle of the adventure, to the point of losing many hours in comings and goings from your different bases and hot areas to build all the elements. It is in those moments when it relies on that strange game-work syndrome that the crafting games possess, but the reward is usually equal when we unlock the vehicles, structures and more advanced suits that the title has to offer.
It manages to capture our interest at the beginning and keeps the progression of the game in its proper measure
Subnautica does not neglect its technical section at all. It has some problems that seem to inherit from its version of Early Access, especially with a really absurd drawn distance, which is a problem to find some resources or find hot spots on the map, and the effect it produces is terribly ugly. However, both the seabed and the recreation of the surface of the water and its majestic sunrises and sunsets are very striking for a game of this genre.
It is not what catches the attention, even so. The team of Unknown Worlds Entertainment has not tried to hide its humble beginnings in a game devoid of animations, but the construction of the first person and all the movements of our protagonists are well cared for and recreated, which helps immensely in the immersion. You can tell that the experience that the team has gained with the work of Natural Selection 2 has paid off.
As if that were not enough, the graphics improvement that the game has achieved after leaving the Early Access, the virtual reality compatibility is also a great incentive, being suitable for both Oculus Rift and HTC Vive. The fact that these glasses resemble those of a diver feels like a glove to Subnautica. Exploring the seabed through the VR is a joy, although not suitable for everyone. In its most complex stages, we will move very fast through the ocean depths, which is not very compatible with the stomachs of all players. Even so, and given that there is no hurry to complete your story, it is advisable to enjoy a quiet promenade and your refuge under the sea if you have one of these devices.
The survival of the fittest
Unfortunately, we can not (we should not) unveil all that Subnautica hides to its credit, because it would spoil the surprise, and this game is much to be surprised at every step (or stroke) we give. It should be remembered that the options of the game are quite permissive. Unlike other Survival that introduces us directly to a world with permanent death, here we can choose how to start the adventure.
The Survival mode, in fact, is more permissive, we will penalize only losing many of the objects found, instead of having to start from scratch adventure. It is the main and recommended mode, but the truth is that it takes a certain grace the first hours since to run out of objects when dying for not having food, water or oxygen is not too big a penalty, because our inventory just starts the adventure It is scarce. It will be in the middle of it when it can be more punishing.
The feeling of being a futuristic Robinson Crusoe could not be more successful.
There is an easier way that does not penalize for lack of water or food, which we do not recommend at all. Then there is the one that activates the Permanent Death. Punishing as he alone, at first makes the game more challenging, but deep down, the decision is understood not to have placed it as the main one. Subnautica is a long game, centered on a player, in which, on many occasions, we face unknown situations many hours after starting the game and in which it is easy to die. The option is for whoever wants it, although maybe it is not the most recommended to start, especially if you want to follow the history of the game.
Finally, Unknown Worlds has confirmed that the game will feature multiplayer, but at the launch date and this Subnautica analysis, the game is focused on the solo experience, without access to it. We do not know if these options will be exclusively dedicated to the free mode, or there will be some modality to share the main story with some friends, which could enrich (and facilitate) the exploration of its vast seabed.
With all the time that has passed since the genre began to flourish, the number of great promises that have remained eternally in the state of Early Access, it is fun to reencounter with him with a game of the likes of Subnautica. It not only shows that it is possible to do things well (and finished), but it also renews hopes for a style of play that sometimes seemed to take refuge artificially in the multiplayer due to lack of ideas, time or economic resources. A new wave of survivals is approaching, with games already appeared as The Long Dark and others like Die Young, who can take this genre further, to give the best of themselves. But, for the moment, Subnautica has already achieved it.
Subnautica manages, based on good decisions, to build a survival rich in nuances and possibilities, without ever losing its objective and interest. A game that opens little by little demonstrating imagination and finesse. Rarely a game of the genre, without resorting to a multiplayer mode, has managed to engage so much.
- The number of possibilities of construction of materials and habitats
- The game world, even submarine, is very well designed
- Surprises do not stop happening throughout the adventure. Always discovering new places and designs
- Care from start to finish, even well entered into the adventure, unlike other survival
- Drawing distance is ridiculous, damaging exploration and aesthetics
- Despite the storage possibilities, the transportation of resources is sometimes cumbersome.