Subnautica: Below Zero (2020, Unknown Worlds)

Wow I am finding that trailer to be a pretty big turnoff actually. I enjoyed the exploration in the first game and certainly there were survival elements and hostile environments present, it didn’t seem as front and center as this game appears to be.

Based on my time with the early access version, the exploration vibe is very similar to the first game. There might be slightly more hostile lifeforms to navigate around, although that may just be due to the directions I explored in.

Don’t shy away, it’s 90 percent the original Subnautica with new storylines and a new map. The land based modes are initially disconcerting and take a bit of a leap to get used to, managing cold like you manage oxygen underwater, but still more of the same goodness.

I read several people saying it isn’t as good as the original, so my expectations are tempered a bit.

A fair point, but I would lean towards novelty making the original pretty much unbeatable in that regard. I’ve tried a few survival games outside of Sub, and none came close, so no way this can recreate that lightning in the bottle. For more of the same, though, it hits the right notes.

I’ve played the early access on and off as part of seeing the progress. I’ve also purchased the full version for a few folks here on a whim when I thought it was being released.

But, it was held up. I think that is a very good sign. I’m hoping some of the early thoughts I had have been addressed. It was quite hard and early on, very scary/fear inducing to the point I felt they were gaming it more than the first in the series. I’m hoping that evened out a bit. I also wasn’t a huge fan of the additional cold/out-of-water gameplay. It felt forced.

Still, it’s Subnautica, there is nothing that will KEEP me from playing this second game in the series. I’m sure I’ll love it.

I’ve played through Sub Zero a few times, and Subnautica many more and I think it is both better and worse then the original.

Worse: Story and mood: SubZero is much more on rails with story telling. There are NPCs, recordings, and a pretty full story that hand holds you through the entire game. I actually preferred the spare, environmental story telling of the first one. I also think the story telling, NPC, etc detract one of the great features of the first game, the feeling of being alone in a strange land, with the things that go bump in the night.

Better: I believe the actual gameplay of SubZero is a better experience over all from the original. I like the vehicles better. I like that there are more…varied locations to explore. There are more options for building your base and there is a better reason to build a central base and expand on it, rather then building several small bases to explore deeper. I also think the fishy AI is better and predators are much more fearful then they were in the original.

TLDR; I think Subnautica Moved me more, but SubZero had better Gameplay.

That sounds good!

Below Zero suffers from the original being magic. It’s a tough legacy to live up to. I think the inherit belief that they ‘had to do more’ in Below Zero tripped them up a bit. If BZ was the only/first game, it would be much harder to criticize I think.

I somehow stopped playing Subnautica just as I built the prawn suit. I was about to take it down, down, down into a particularly deep hole, and then as usual I went away for work and lost the spark. Now that I have a VR headset I’ve been waiting to get back into this, although the prospect of those terrifying monsters in the gloom gives me pause!

I have the usual problem though of not remembering much about where I was, where my bases were, or where I was supposed to be going next. I wasn’t very good at putting out markers, relying instead on my spatial memory of the place. I could start again I suppose, but I want to play with my new prawn suit!

My god, VR subnautica is so amazing I am jealous that you are doing it for the first time. Totally changed the experience of the game for me. Enjoy it.

You quit before some of the best parts. Bionic commandoing around with the prawn suit grapple arm is sheer joy.

Totally agree. Subnautica in VR, with the VR mod, is one of the best gaming experiences I’ve had in 30+ years.

Which VR Mod would this be, pray tell?

Well I’ll be launching it in VR tonight after that set of recommendations!

Without reading minds, the one everyone is talking about improving the game from what I’ve seen is this one:

“NOTE: It’s seems that the Oculus store version of Subnautica is not the latest version of the game and mods are not working with it. If there is anyone who has found a way to update the Oculus version please post how you did it to help others. If you already bought Subnautica on the Oculus store, I do not recommend pirating an updated copy of the game since I should not do that”

FYI, if you didn’t have it on Steam

Thanks both - I do have it on steam, but honestly, all these extra steps are too much of a hassle for me - I think I’ll just run it in out-of-the-box VR.

I haven’t played Subnautica yet and was pretty excited to see it had VR support. It pays to procrastinate!

I tried it back in the day, and it used the “go where you’re looking” mechanic, which was just too much considering the timescale of a Subnautica session. Let me know if you find other options.

Yup, it’s the Nexus Mods link listed by krayzkrok. Adds a number of quality of life modifications (like moving the HUD further out) and various optimizations to run better in VR. I tried Subnautica without the mod and bounced off, too clunky. But with the mod, it “clicked” for me and became an awesome experience.