“Approaching crush depth, please return to the surface ASAP” I hear my pda tell me. Despite its rather pertinent warning (Dying by being crushed is NOT a fate I am particuarly fond of), I am so close to my objective I have no intention of doing so. To prevent the destruction of my seamoth (a mini-submersible), I exit the submarine and immediately begin surveying the area. From the events of the past couple of days, I know that the place I seek, a place vital to my escape from this forsaken world, is close. Carefully monitoring my oxygen level and surroundings, I scour the area, hoping to find that which I seek.
After searching for what seems like only a second, I rush back to my submarine. While I have obtained new resources needed for constructing a new vehicles, I still haven’t found what I seek- The Disease Research Facility. I hope to find a cure, or at least a lead to follow, for the disease that I am infected with. By all data obtained so far, I know that the alien species that came before was working on curing a some kind of disease (a bacterium of some kind), and that they somehow managed to screw it up. The bacteria entered into the environment infecting me, and some of the creatures as well. However, this run was unsuccessful. I move on, hoping to kill this disease, before it kills me…
Subnautica, a game released Dec 16, 2014 and published by Unknown Worlds, is fast becoming one of my favorite games of all time. It is a survival game that, with each update, gains more features and storyline, with this last update capturing my attention and causing me to play it as much as I can. Personally, I love it because I can build what I like, figure out how to do things more efficiently, am forced to plan ahead (a.k.a. Leaving with water before going extremely far from base, having food sources, carrying enough batteries to escape from Reaper Leviathans, etc.) and investigate the world, finding clues to learn more about what got *me* here in this *unpleasant* situation and what might get *me* off this deathtrap of a world.
I have been playing the game since about August, and from the moment I began playing I found the game to be absolutely amazing. At that point in time, there was relatively little story (That I had discovered), but that didn’t matter, as the game was a joy to play. For me, most survival/construction games get old for me after a while (Examples- Minecraft, Unturned, etc). It doesn’t mean I don’t like them- far from it. Those games are still fun to play… occasionally. They are well built games and deserve respect, but after a day or two of playing, I get bored. For me, those games are good to play every now and again, with occasional binge playing, but don’t interest me enough to do much more. This wasn’t the case with Subnautica. Sure, I would get frustrated and stop playing for a bit, but then within a week or so I’d come back and play. Now, there were a couple of months where I did not play, but for that space of time I did not play anything else, except a little bit of KSP (like maybe 10 hours over 2 months) because I had no time for anything but school, homework, studying, eating and sleeping. Since the semester ended a couple weeks ago, I have managed to something close to 40 + or so hours worth more of playtime- in just Subnautica. The new update has gotten me excited, and I find it hard to stop playing once I have start.
Storywise, the new Precursor update released recently added a ton of new elements, such as an alien race known only as the Precursors and a disease. They were working on a cure to a disease (a bacterium, as supported by evidence given in the lifepod) and somehow REALLY messed up, releasing the disease into the environment and triggering quarantine measures. Part of those measures are destroying anything coming in or out of the planet the player is stranded on. The player is supposed to somehow find a cure, as only healthy individuals can stop the MASSIVE CANNON that shoots ships down that get too close to the planet (Which is why the player is there in the first place…). Between that, and the messages left behind by the Degasi surviviors (another ship shot down years earlier), there is enough story to keep a player engaged, with much more on the way.
Subnautica is normally $19.99 on steam, and is worth every penny. However, with Steam Winter Sale happening right now, its current price is $9.99, making it a magnificent steal. It is one of the few games I have ever played that has excited me, and one of maybe 3 or so games that I am willing to write about more than once. Subnautica is, in my humble opinion, one of the best games in Early Access currently and soon to be one of the best fully released games on Steam. To answer the question that titles this article- Yes, Subnautica is worth every ounce of hype given to it, a fact that I hope many will find for themselves.
P.S. Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and Enjoy a (Hopefully) Happy New Year.
Subnautica Review (By the Numbers):
Playability: 8.75/10- There are still some bugs in the game that make it hard to play (like not being able to open bulkheads), but considering the game is still in development and the team working on it is doing there best to fix bugs that come up, I don’t think it is much of an issue.
Story: 9/10- While the story is still incomplete (Not all of the Precursor bases are ingame, some are inaccessible, etc), what story is there is rather good, and is a perfectly accompanies the player in their attempt to survive on the world
Graphics: 10/10- Everything looks really nice, even on lower settings. It is a well designed game, with a richly designed environment to match. However, that brings us to a new category:
Hardware: 8/10- This game would be taxing on older systems, and even on my relatively new laptop (Lenovo Y700 with an i7 6700HQ, GTX 960M 4GB, 8 GB DDR4 RAM, 1 TB HDD, purchased in August) there are occasional pauses and slow downs when the game loads a complex area. That being said, settings can be adjusted to work on older systems, which makes this not as much of an issue as it could be
Completeness of Game: 9/10- While the game is not fully done, what we do have is enough for players to be satisfied (At least until the next update or until the game comes out in May)
Overall score 9/10- While this game is still in development, what is already out is still ridiculously good. I would recommend this game to any of my friends or family, and especially recommend it to you, dear reader.