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  • Alan Stock changed the title to Subnautica: Below Zero - releasing 14th May all platforms!

The first game was one of the earliest "early access" games, wasn't it? I remember buying it a long time ago and getting excited each time there was a new update, but it's a weird way to play a survival/exploration game, restarting every so often because some new chunk has been added or the story amended. I've deliberately not seen any content at all from Sub Zero, so I'm looking forward to being able to play it as a complete experience from the start.

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What I'm interested in is whether they can get anywhere close to the same level of excitement and discovery via the technology and going deeper into the ocean. It was such a well designed progression in the first game and all of the fictional tech, especially the vehicles, were fresh. You genuinely felt anticipation because of the new opportunities and depths that opened up for each upgrade you got.

 

I'm presuming not, but hopefully there will be some new ways of gating content using the cold and whatnot that will differ from just following the same tech and 'depth' tree as the last game. I'm also hoping for better inventory management and base building. I know there are at least a few new vehicles so that's exciting.

 

I've recently been watching a youtuber I like called MaterWelonz do a blind playthough of the original game. Its been a joy to re-live those first ten hours through her, where you slowly learn everything and make big discoveries in both the plot and the tech tree. It's a masterclass of pacing and design, with the exception of some fiddly storage issues and the initial hurdle of food and water.

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  • 4 weeks later...

1 week to go. Amazon is offering 6 quid off the PS4 version preorder here

 

However when I go to the basket it says expected delivery is on the 20th, even with Prime. What? What's the point in pre-ordering if you get it a week late anyway? Is this normal for Amazon or is the delivery estimate just wrong?

 

Anyway, I'm really surprised the devs are still going for a low retail price; it's only £25 on PC, and £30-35 on consoles. I'm not complaining but I'm sure people would be happy to pay 40 quid for it. Maybe they figured the low price helped drive sales of the last game (probably true) but now they are established I would have thought they could charge more.

 

I was hoping to get a PS5 before this release but it's not happened. I'm just hoping the PS4 can handle it, apparently Subnautica original on PS4 chugs a bit in places. I do feel sorry for Switch users who will surely suffer!

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17 hours ago, Alan Stock said:

1 week to go. Amazon is offering 6 quid off the PS4 version preorder here

 

However when I go to the basket it says expected delivery is on the 20th, even with Prime. What? What's the point in pre-ordering if you get it a week late anyway? Is this normal for Amazon or is the delivery estimate just wrong?

 

Anyway, I'm really surprised the devs are still going for a low retail price; it's only £25 on PC, and £30-35 on consoles. I'm not complaining but I'm sure people would be happy to pay 40 quid for it. Maybe they figured the low price helped drive sales of the last game (probably true) but now they are established I would have thought they could charge more.

 

I was hoping to get a PS5 before this release but it's not happened. I'm just hoping the PS4 can handle it, apparently Subnautica original on PS4 chugs a bit in places. I do feel sorry for Switch users who will surely suffer!

 

I am honestly shocked that switch is getting a double pack of both games. The original runs pretty poorly on PS4 and Xbox one so they must have made some serious compromises to get even acceptable performance from the switch.

 

I'm looking forward to this anyway. I've had the early access on epic but haven't played for over a year and haven't followed any of the progress since then.

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The review embaro is over and the reviews are starting to trickle in. I have just read the summaries to avoid spoiling myself.

 

4 stars from the Guardian

https://www.theguardian.com/games/2021/may/11/subnautica-below-zero-review-life-begins-at-minus-30

 

A positive review on the Subnautica double pack from Nintendo Life - against all expectations they say the Switch port is pretty good!

https://www.nintendolife.com/reviews/nintendo-switch/subnautica_plus_subnautica_below_zero_double_pack

 

I decided to give the Amazon pre-order a go, so we'll see if it arrives on time or not.

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A lot of reviews are out now. It's getting 8's and 9's out of 10 across the board. Some reviews are saying its just as good as the original or even better, others are saying it doesn't quite reach those heights. Its also apparently a lot harder than the original, and quite a bit smaller. Can't wait to get stuck in!

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1 hour ago, Alan Stock said:

A lot of reviews are out now. It's getting 8's and 9's out of 10 across the board. Some reviews are saying its just as good as the original or even better, others are saying it doesn't quite reach those heights. Its also apparently a lot harder than the original, and quite a bit smaller. Can't wait to get stuck in!

 

Apparently, for those that have early access, they can start the game now as the full release unlock will only impact the end game story. So I'll be starting at some point today.

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Mine is arriving on Monday but I may have got myself a PS5. Then the eternal question is whether I have the willpower to wait a few weeks for the PS5 to arrive! And seeing as I bought it on PS4, if I install it on PS5 will it automatically get the new shiny upgrades just thanks to the hardware, or will I need to fork out for a PS5 version?

 

I might have to stop watching Youtube for a bit because creators love to spoil things in thumbnails. I know all the main bits of Resident Evil Village before I've even touched the game thanks to that, grrr.

 

Just found out the other day that they ditched the basic Cyclops for this game (presumably because the original was so cumbersome), so I'm excited to see what other big vehicles you might get. I already saw a screenshot of one but no idea what its functionality will be like. Hype!

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I had a quick go on this earlier. As someone who completed the first game it all feels very familiar so far, but there's more of a narrative this time so I'm interested to see where that goes. They seem to have been a lot more generous with the technology fragments near the starting location, so it's not taken me long to get all the basic tools and equipment. After playing so many Metroid games it's nice that the early game isn't carbon copy of the original, I'm desparate to see what awaits me in the depths so I'm glad for the accelerated start.

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I bought this AGES ago, just started it for the first time today. Having a good time, it feels more polished than the original, and though the story is told a bit weirdly (you really need to dig into the stuff in the pda) It is pushing me along in a nice way, but letting me smell the roses/grab the fish in my own time too.

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  • Alan Stock changed the title to Subnautica: Below Zero - out today!

Its a direct sequel, it started out as just supposed to be DLC but expanded beyond that. Not as big as the original apparently but it has a new story and is set after the events of the first game.

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  • Alan Stock changed the title to Subnautica: Below Zero - out now!

I've not played since quite early in the beta (but did play a long way in). They have made some major improvements to the story and the way that progress is possible. I've still had loads of fun just roaming off into the sea and finding random stuff all over the place, which is the main appeal of the game for me. I'm relatively far in and have only just decided to build my first base. It isn't going to be anything special just somewhere to store some stuff while out adventuring.

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This is definitely on my list. I enjoyed the first game a lot, even if it did tail off towards the end. I've never played anything quite like it.

 

Does this give you the option to ignore thirst and hunger, like in the first game? I started playing with them turned on and then regretted it about 5 hours later, but then the only way to turn them off again was to restart.

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Couldn't resist dipping my toes in the water for about 3 hours today, still waiting for my PS5 to arrive and couldn't holdback any longer! It looks good on PS4 and runs pretty well. I'm guessing on PS5 the framerate will be a bit better, longer draw distance and maybe higher quality textures?

 

Anyway, I'll spoiler anything appropriate. I spent most of the time bumbling around the starting area, collecting resources and building the starting gear. Went off to do the first major objective which was quite cool. I only just got my habitat builder and blueprints for the first vehicle, so I'll scope out a base location the next time I play.

 

First impressions are good, it didn't really wow me because it's much of what we've seen before, but the new weather is cool and of course its great to have new biomes, creatures and a few new bits of kit to play with, as well of course a new story. It seems way easier to catch fish and the tutorial actively shows you how to get water, so the basics of survival are much more straightforward in this game, at least at the start. The beginning biome is very friendly, with easy to spot resources and thank god they gave you more storage this time (I still have like 4 water lockers already though!). The music's great once again. 

 

Like Revlob mentioned they have fast-tracked the basic gear fragments. The average total playtime for this game is 20 hours less than the original, which makes me sad. But to be fair, learning the basics and finding fragments was a big time sink in Subnautica - as well as big resource gathering segments, inventory management and long-winded quests in the endgame. I still managed to drag it out for a stupid amount of time by building multiple bases and exploring everywhere. I'll probably get quite a bit of extra time out of Below Zero as well, my plan is to build bigger and shinier bases, especially if resource collection is easier early on. I'm excited by the glimpses of new stuff that I've seen, and already got some of those 'oh god it goes down forever' bits, reconjuring some of the discomfort from the first game. I think though its much harder to feel scared in this game though because you know more what to expect, and perhaps you become somewhat immune to big bad things in the sea? But we'll see, I'm still in the shallows!

 

Anyway, I'm going to try and restrain myself from playing more until PS5 arrives, soon hopefully. One thing I had kind of forgotten was just how fun the gameplay in Subnautica is, collecting shit, exploring, managing your resources, building up tech. It's such a compelling loop that's really hard to put down.

 

Plot/content spoilers:

Spoiler

I like the cold weather mechanic, making being on land a struggle as well. The weather events are cool but so far cause no danger, but I'm looking forward to when it becomes an issue to deal with. 

 

The new resource scanner is a cool idea, although its range seems annoyingly short. I have the blueprints for the sea truck which sounds awesome from the description, can't wait to see it in action with some modules. I headed out to Delta base finding a broken study platform on the way. Sadly Marguerite showing up wasn't a big surprise for me because I'd accidentally seen her name mentioned in Below Zero in a google search. The Delta base is cool though and I like how the character portraits pop up and you can play the tapes whilst you do other stuff. Quite intrigued where the story will go and it's nice to have a voiced protagonist. I also knew about the Spy Penguin already from the live stream, but have no idea when you get it and what it will be good for!

 

I have a map of the Alterra sites which is a nice way to have long term goals like the Alien facility list in the first game. I started to go after Margeurite's last known location but it seems quite deep out there and I'm in no rush to further the plot and see too much new stuff in one go. Instead I will probably build a wee base first, get a sea truck and then head out in the story after that. Can't wait!

 

PS Was I the only one who thought the shark guys around the thermal vents at Delta were baby sea dragons to begin with?!

 

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I sunk (lol) about 6 hours into this yesterday, so I’m a bit further on than you. I think it’s better than the first game - somehow it feels just as perilous even though in theory I should know exactly what I’m doing! 
 

I’ve died more to hypothermia than anything else...

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Still loving this, but there are a couple of bugs and performance issues on PS4 now. Basically as soon as you build a base bigger than a couple of rooms large, it starts to chug. This doesn’t especially bother me, as I largely went for utility in the first game, and I’m doing so again here. But if you wanted to build a fancy base, PS4 might not be the platform on which to do so. Otherwise it runs a bit smoother than the first game, so it evens out for me.

 

I think there’s a bug with item boxes though. These reset, so you can gather the same items multiple times (nutrient blocks etc). This may well be a deliberate thing, but any nearby PDAs also regenerate, only you can’t interact with them, which must be a bug. It’s mildly irritating, because it looks like a new PDA, when it isn’t.

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I have not seen resource boxes refresh on the PC. 

 

I am enjoying it, but have got a bit frustrated where I did not find things in plain sight and could not locate some resources that were blocking my build stuff progress.

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Carrying beacons is generally a good idea because if you die with one in your inventory, the beacon will activate and any of the items you lose will appear around it. Handy if you've just dug up a load of stuff and mis-judged how far away the surface was when your PDA starts warning you about oxygen levels.

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Just curious whether anyone went straight in on Hardcore? I am kind of wondering whether I should change to that difficulty. I think I only died twice in the original game. The only problem is the prospect of starting from scratch is not very appealing if you are many hours into the game. The problem I have with the respawn system is that it kind of removes the threat a lot for me, you don't really get penalised that much. Then again the prospect of randomly getting offed by some horror from the deep you haven't encountered yet with no info to go on could be really frustrating. It's a tricky one.

 

PS5 should hopefully arrive tomorrow and instead of flexing its muscles on the big AAA games the first thing I'm going to be booting up is Below Zero!

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