Sounds like you made the right decision not to buy it, suspect this one cuts a bit like The Witness in that anyone on the fence should definitely stay away, which is why they had the free weekend, to reel in those like myself who may never have given it a look in the first place, glad I did.
I played a bit over the free weekend, and I am really glad I did.
I enjoyed Sunless Sea. The setting and story are interesting and the atmosphere is fantastic. I felt a palpable sense of dread and anxiety sailing around in the dark looking for places to dock and explore, and when I would see a light in the distance I felt relief. I really like the idea that your gains come not necessarily from combat/leveling/loot, but from stories and experiences. I’ve never played Fallen London, yet I was able to grasp what was happening in this game and immerse myself in it’s story right away. I was really enjoying it…
…until I had to fight something. Holy crap the combat in this game is frustrating. Not only do you start out at a severe disadvantage against almost everything (or so it seems), but then you have to wait for you crew to calculate a firing solution, then try to navigate you slow little boat into a position where it is facing the enemy and can fire, all while the enemy moves at twice your speed or more. Creatures and pirates simply outmaneuver your ship so easily that it’s an exercise in frustration to combat them. My first fight was some golden crab thingy and he had 75% of my boats health knocked off before I got in a lucky second shot and killed him. The Unterzee is unforgiving.
In the end, the difficulty of combat combined with the slow pacing of the game were enough to convince me that, while I know I will enjoy playing the game for it’s atmosphere and storyline, I should wait for the price to drop to 50% or even 75% off. This looks like a Steam Winter Sale 2016 purchase for me…
In the very early game, there’s really only two or maybe three enemy types you should ever be engaging, and even then it’s often a calculated risk. I’d steer clear of anything but bats and the small crabs until you’ve upgraded your ship quite a bit. Maybe try the easiest pirates once you’ve got the hang of things.
Sunless sea doesn’t have a learning curve. It has a learning cliff. Death is an expected outcome.
As you learn more about the sea and as you build up a legacy, things get easier. Even starting from scratch gets easier. I won’t ever say things get easy, but they do get easier.
That matches my assessment as well. Definitely don’t try taking anything larger on until you’ve upgraded your ship. Even if you win, you’ll be badly damaged. There’s a lot of very dangerous stuff wandering the Unterzee.
And on land. If you’re going adventuring with a smaller crew your game can end real quick. Fun game some really nice tension of balancing lights vs terror vs. fuel and getting a good trade route established.
Ok I’ve been playing this a lot. After 100+ hours I’ve finally “won”, but then I find myself not willing to actually click that “I win” button, because after a few deaths, I’ve learned my lesson sand now my boat is so powerful, I can’t bear to start over again and do all that busy work again. Even if the next captain starts off with a ton of money, there are some equipments money can’t buy (like my Fulgent Impeller).
The interactive fiction bit is all right, and the RPG and loot aspect is ok, but IMO there is zero replay value. Compared with, say FTL, which pulls me back every now and then with a short game, I just cbf doing another session of Sunless Sea, which is almost guaranteed to be a marathon.
A hundred hours and you’re fretting about replayability? I think you’ve played way way more than most people who liked the game!
But I do understand what Soma is getting at. Some of the endings are incredibly long to obtain, something the game forces you to choose right from the start, without bothering to tell you what you’re getting into.
It makes it all the more annoying that most of these scenarios have missions in common, so it’s basically asking for 20-30 more hours into the game to see the twenty or so pages of extra text.
A games aim doesn’t I suppose necessarily have to include replay-ability. While I’ve only played Sunless 11 hours, I’ve really enjoyed it and I guess I’m just comfortable with the idea I won’t view every story line in the game when I’ve “completed” my journey, and somehow that feels ok with me in a game that gives off a vibe of being a bit about mystery.
Maybe when I’m done I’ll put it aside and return say 6 months or a year from now and come at it again fresh taking a different path.
Every ending takes a looooong time to achieve. The “easiest” is the “get rich” ending, which requires you to have 41k echo (townhouse -> mansion -> 30k in the bank). A whooping 41k in game where every penny is tight. i.e. you need to do a lot of quests to get the capital for a merchant vessel, then trade your way to riches. Once you’ve done the miscellaneous quests there is little reason to go back to them again in another game.
I’m not saying the game is bad, it is just that the the ending requires you to do a lot repetitive things. Once you’ve discovered all of the map the sense of wonder in exploration is gone. Kind of like Civ 4 endgame. It is all busy work in the end, you’ve played it once and that’s quite enough.
The problem I think is that there is simply NO random encounter. In Skyrim after you have discovered all the map you still have reason to go everywhere on foot because of random encounters, but in Sunless Sea there isn’t.
It may also have to do with the learning curve. I think someone mentioned it already, it is a difficulty CLIFF not a curve, you start off weak and puny, but by mid and end game, once you’ve upgraded to a corvette, you are unlikely to die at sea at all. So it is all busy work from there on.
I am. THE GAME IS BAD!
Would’ve been all over it if it was something more along the lines of Sid Meier’s Pirates! in their setting, but after playing 10-15 hours digging around trying to find the good times I eventually gave up. I never died (Taking a potshot at something to see how much damage I did was a good enough indicator if I should run or not) and accumulated a pile of money, but it was all horrible busywork like you said. And that was before they limited selling boxes of light, which is what I was making money on. Absolutely no idea why they put the game out like that. There’s slow, and then there’s offensively slow.
Good music, though.
PSA: this is part of the current Humble Bundle at the BTA+$2 tier, which is around ~$8 USD currently. I believe that’s the lowest price for this game so far, plus you get a few other decent games with it.
Took the bite. I find that for a game that is supposed to be about questing and story. The interface for keeping track of quests is horribly lacking. So much so that an excel spreadsheet is mandatory to playing this. That or constantly have wiki open, which kinda kills the questing and story motivation. Or have an infallible memory.
And so much for waiting until the Winter Sale. At $8 I could not pass up the opportunity to own this and get Door Kickers, Forced, Trine 3 and Never Alone in the same bundle (plus a couple of other titles). I may not PLAY Sunless Sea until winter of 2016, but I certainly wouldn’t have been able to get this good of a value on it anytime between now and then.
Hurry if you’re interested, only 24 hours left on the Humble Indie Bundle 16 (and it’s only $7.56 for the top tier right now).
I also got it in the Bundle and it’s easily the game I’m enjoying the most from it so far. Although, two careers in, the geography doesn’t seem all that different from game to game. I thought it was procedurally generated?
The map is only a little random. The whole left side is fixed, and so are some things on the eastern side that are always super far away. The rest is a bunch of big tetris like regions. Like if there’s a Kingdom on the map that has a bunch of related ports in that kingdom, the whole region for that kingdom will always be the same, and then that Kingdom as a whole will be somewhere else on the map.
I would have really like if they had more randomness. Like if the region that contains all the Khan ports had 4 or 5 difference variants, so you wouldn’t know exactly where you are once you find just one bit.
For a game that says “Take Risks” on its opening screen, it sure deals out some harsh punishments for risk-taking. My last two games were ended, directly or indirectly, by running afoul of the Blind Bruiser and by trying to explore beyond the Northern edge of the map, respectively. And other than that, so far, I seem to be having the most success, when I’m mainly running errands for the Admiralty, trying to hit as many ports on the way, avoiding as many fights as possible and passing on my chart when I die as that makes running errands for the Admiralty easier the next time. Am I missing an obvious way to make money (or fuel and supplies directly)?
I stumbled on the way to progress.
Very basic starter:
a) Read the captain’s journal and then sell it for 50 echoes.
b) Talk with admiralty office.
c) Goto lodging and get news.
d) Get transport colonist to Vanderbilt quest.
d) Leave port and TURN OFF LIGHTS (this will save a huge amount of fuel, with zero terror and so well lighted. it’s totally ok at this point) and head northeast to nearby Hunter’s island. Interact with any sister. Then use “recent news” from c) to talk to another sister. Reconnoiter to get port report.
e) From Hunter island, TURN OFF LIGHTS, head northwest to nearby Vanderbilt. Turn in quests and DO NOT pick up any other quests. Create port report.
f) From Vanderbilt, TURN OFF LIGHTS and head back to London.
g) You will end up at London and after turning in all the quests. You should have about 300++ echoes which is a good start.
[Avoid spending any money to rest at this very beginning stage.]
- First priority, buy a townhouse (1000 echoes) and make a will (200 echoes). This will enable you to leave the townhouse to the next captain.
- Romance the lass or the lad from the carousel. Do this a few times and you will get a child.
- Feed the child at the townhouse memory and story for about 5-6 times to get the stat to 25. The child will unlock a permanent bonus to enable 2 x legacy for next captain.
How to get that initial 1000-2000 echoes.
a) Complete the Hunter island story and save Phobe. That will net you quite a lot of things to see. Which should give at least a few hundred. Visit it regularly with recent news from your lodging when you venture out.
b) If you have the long shanks gunner (start with Urchin), can bring her to Khan’s shadow which is very far to the east of London. (Use the initial 300 from the starter step.) It can net you about 1000+ to 2000 echoes for that run. For very long runs, you’ll need to have your lights on.
c) If you head east, about 1/4 to 1/3 of the map away, you may find the salt island and do about 3 runs of salt carrying (for a 300 echo profit each run.)
I’m trying to get a walkthrough going. Have a spreadsheet which I track stuff.
At the most initial stage in building the funds, I will sell anything and everything. Things and rewards we get from turning in quests can be sold to at the museum. The quest reward items can sold for 100-1000 echos.
At the stage where we are struggling to build up some funds so that we can buy supplies and fuel. All priority should be done to accumulate a warchest of echoes. So sell that Searing Enigma because you need that 1000 echoes now!
Once you have some echoes and your will written, you will feel MUCH less problem with dying bacause in your next run, you dont need to buy the townhouse again! And the starter quests can be used to build an exploratory fund.
More details on the starting steps. Once you have the townhouse and (preferably Scion unlocked also).
The next part of my game plan is to find the Salt Lions. It is typically done right after my Vanderbilt run, i’ll stock up on about 15 fuel and 10 supplies and i travel to the far east.
Typically the Salt Lions will spawn about 3 screens away to the East from London. It should be about 1/4 to 1/3 of the entire map length (M key) away.
But dont fret when you dont find on the east bound leg, you may stumble on it on the west bound leg on your return to London. Also dont worry so much about dying because you can always inherit the map OR 1/2 your money even if you didnt finish the townhouse.
If you happen to find the Salt Lion, go back to London and sell everything. Get enough space for 20 cargo and have 200++ echoes.
Do the boring Salt runs from the Salt Lions. Each run should get you about 300 echoes profit. Visit the Hunter Island sisters if you have not completed that.
After about 3-4 runs, you will see a new popup from a woman asking for an alternative delivery for the salt, ACCEPT this request. This means the end of the salt runs. Unless you know what you are doing (started without past), reject the poor man’s request for yet another delivery target for the salt (you need 75 Viels to complete that.) Stock up on fuel and supplies and head all the way south. Directly south from London. You will pass by the Canal and see also the Iron Republic. Visit those and get reports. From Iron Republic go East. You should see the Geode nearby (about 1/2 a screen away) they are very close by on the map, the target for the salt delivery. Turn in the quest and follow the plot lines.
Head back to London. Sell the searing enigma. Will should have at least 2000 echoes from your travels so far. And you have barely started exploration!
Get that townhouse and will if somehow it’s still not done. With the excess echoes time to have some fun, instead of constantly worrying about money!
My next recommendation is to finish up the Hunter Island questline and use the canal to visit the surface to complete Phoebe’s questline! It unlocks a permanent legacy!