Subnautica is currently in the Game preview program, therefore this review is on the current state of game development, and not of the finished product. Certain aspects of the game are up for change or new components may or may not be added.
Subnautica, is an interesting concept for a game, you are a put in the shoes of a deep space astronaut, and at the start of the game, there is an emergency, and you are placed in an escape pod. The space faring vessel is about to have an abrupt landing on an alien world. But this is no ordinary world. The planet you have crash landed on is a water world. The entire world is covered in a blue ocean, with a rich and colourful marine biology. But what exactly is Subnautica all about? Well, so far, we have an exploration/crafting game. There is no end goal as such, but that is not to say that we wont get any extra content coming our way. The possibilities for this game are exciting as they are unknown. So let us discuss a bit more.
You are given 4 different game modes from the get go. The one that Minecraft fans like myself will love, is essentially a creative mode. You get everything you need from the get go, and you don’t drown under water. You gt to build a habitat capable of sustaining your life, and that is pretty much it. But given that this is a preview version of the game, there is a big chance that not only more build options will come, but goals to achieve within this mode. Survival mode comes in 2 flavours, with a Hardcore mode, that gives you a single life before game, and your standard affair, where you will respawn. These are the more interesting game modes.
There are a few visual glitches and some bugs within the game, and that is to be expected. You can’t think for one minute that it will be a perfect game already. But that is not to say you shouldn’t at least take an interest, and invest in what could be a very good game. You see, the developers have taken the ideas of game modes from Minecraft, the settlement crafting ideas from Fallout 4, melded them together and thrown them on a watery planet for you to have some nautical fun. That is the best way to describe this game, and you know what, so far it works. A little rough around the edges, but with time, these issues will be smoothed out, and I am confident that it will become a hit.
The game sees you plopped in the middle of nowhere, and a fair distance from your ship. You have a limited supply of equipment in your ship, and the only way to be able to create more at your crafting station, is to go and search underwater for consumables. Wreckage is scattered about, plant life can be harvested, and rock samples can be taken. Sounds easy enough. But the marine life don’t take kindly to strangers, and some of the larger creatures will attack you on sight if you are close enough. So be careful. You can see your downed space ship in the distance, but be warned, it’s not exactly stable. But it is a shame that it is just a shell, and access has not yet been implemented.
The colourful visuals are impressive at this early stage, and pleasing on the eye. The planets moon is a concern given how close it appears to be orbiting, but the detail of it is also very apparent. Day and night cycles have already been included, but for me, they are too fast. Something for the developers to take into consideration. But the darkness levels have been set just right, so here’s hoping they keep that the same. Water is very choppy however, and treading water is extremely difficult, and when the water splashes up against the face of our nameless protagonist, it distorts the screen so badly, it gets a bit tiresome to look at, especially as you need to keep breathing to stay alive, so you will spend a lot of time going up for air.
Controls are mostly easy to get to grips with, and don’t seem to have that many issues with them. I did have an issue whereby my guy just outright refused to swim, leaving me to drown in a rather deep trench I was exploring. Game Preview remember. But on the whole, the layout itself works fine, and I don’t have anything negative to say about that.
The scope for adding content is huge. From adding more marine life, to weather effects, a ship interior and more building options, Subnautica certainly has a lot to offer those who love to explore and build in the above mentioned games that it has obviously been influenced by. I love my Indie games, and I love them for a very good reason. Indie developers are not afraid to try anything new with their games. Whereas AAA developers tend to stick to the same formula year in and year out. In a way I don’t blame them. If it works, and people buy them, of course they will release a truck load of sequels. But Indie games, when they do it like Subnautica, and feed your imagination with the possibilities of what could be added, or what you can build for a living area, you are on to a winner.
I will say that right now, it is low on actual content for build options, but obviously they can add more as time goes by. I do think that a planet with 100% water coverage may have been a little too much, and maybe a few small islands with limited resources, like plant life and trees wouldn’t have been a bad idea. Never know, this may be added at a later date.
On the whole, I have enjoyed what I have experienced so far, and as the game progresses, I will update the review. So keep an eye on this game, I think we may just be on to a winner. So long as the Developers keep going in the same direction with it.
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