After a long period in Early Access, Subnautica is seeing a final release on PC and consoles on the 23rd of January 2019. It is easily one of the best games to come out of early access, iterating upon the solid foundation, and making significant changes that will entice both first timers and returning players.
At it’s core, Subnautica is survival game, set mostly underwater on an alien planet. You gather resources, craft items and build bases. What sets it apart from others games in genre is that it does have some set objectives, a story told via audio logs, and an ending.
While the game literally throws you in deep water from the onset, there’s a fairly easy learning curve that allows you enough freedom and flexibility to learn the ropes quickly. Soon enough you’ll gave extra oxygen supply and means of faster traversal that will lead to greater depths and mysteries.
One of Subnautica’s greatest strengths is the sense of mystery in the game. The alien planet is teeming with fascinatingly designed underwater lifeforms, with set patterns and behaviors that make the entire ecosystem very believable and immersive. It’s very atmospheric and absolutely gorgeous. The areas towards the surface set a more relaxed ambiance while the greater depths can be dauntingly scary.
As you go deeper underwater, you come across some of the more dangerous threats in the game, including monstrous leviathans and what not. It can get scary and claustrophobic in a way that very few games can make you feel. This can even feel oppressive if you have a fear of deep water, and can be something that could put one off. Even so, it goes to show how well crafted and realized this underwater world is, and is definitely a thing that makes the game immersive.
The movement controls are also very well done. Swimming underwater can often feel clunky to control, especially in first person, but it feels just right in Subnautica. This is something that is easy to be taken for granted, but can ruin the game if it weren’t done right. Other means of travel that you craft later on make things even easier by increasing movement speed, allowing extra storage, and other utilities.
Overall, Subnautica is very easy to recommend to anyone interested in the survival genre, or even otherwise. The world is beautiful, the mysteries are intriguing and the experience as a whole feels very complete. The grind is always accompanied by constant rewards and rarely wears you down. There’s both a beauty and a menace to the underwater world and it’s residents that is totally worth exploring.
Score – 9/10
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