Subnautica: Below Zero feedback

zeuskabobzeuskabob Members Join Date: 2019-02-11 Member: 250805Posts: 3 Fully active user
Hi guys, I just played through Subnautica: Below Zero. I really enjoyed the first game, and played through nearly to the end, while building some bases and enjoying the atmosphere. I really think Subnautica: Below Zero has a better potential for excellent gameplay and story than Subnautica had, but would like to give some advice about the things that matter most to me in that regard, as well as some suggestions for less important but still great features. Spoilers, obviously.


First and foremost is the issue of pop-in. Texture pop-in is very noticeable, but worse than that is environment and creature pop-in. The most egregious examples are the Rock Breakers and the Glow Whales, where the rock breaker crabs will spawn in above the ground, floating slowly to the bottom in a very conspicuous way. Glow whales pop in in full pods, all swimming in the same direction, and it completely breaks immersion. Extending the pop-in cutoff, improving pop-in spawn behavior, and reducing visibility at long distances would help with the issue.

Second, the issue of clipping. Player clipping is limited to feet clipping below ground textures but creatures, especially leviathans, have had clipping issues for a long time. The Sea Emperor has a big problem with clipping through walls, and in addition his sharp turns look unnatural when he runs into a wall. I don't know how to fix the issue, but my dream would be for leviathans to interact with walls intelligently, for example the Sea Emperor, when it gets too close to a wall, could turn its body and grip the wall with its tentacles to turn and push off. This tech would likely require some hybrid animations, which I'm not sure are implemented yet and therefore would be a low priority.

Third, the narrative. The game comes off very strong at the beginning with a negative view of megacorps, but it's not couched in realism. Alterra's dominance in Subnautica was limited to small views of their galactic superiority, but in this game we get a close up look, and it doesn't show properly. The most striking example of this (to me) is the poster in the arctic base. It boils down to "we own everything you find, and technology is good, culture bad". It doesn't really relate to our current or historical experience of corporations, and I think it could be well altered to something like "Alterra needs results! Your pay is based on your findings. Remember that you're a researcher, not a tourist". This poster would make more sense to me, because it is closer to the gray area, and I could actually believe an imaginary megacorp believing it's a reasonable sign to post in their base. Adding some very positive examples from Alterra would be great as well. They're putting out propaganda for their many employees/indentured servants, so making some really good looking, emotionally affirming posters would be great, and would further drive dissonance between Alterra's image and Robin's distrust of it may drive the player to question if she and her sister are simply paranoid, and whether trusting the alien AI is truly a smart idea or one that could lead to a lot of danger for Robin and Sam. This kind of uncertainty really plays into the Subnautica feel from the first game, where you're always led to wonder whether it's smart to take your seamoth deeper into the grand reef or if you should stick to safer, well explored waters.


Less importantly than these three, I have a couple of suggestions. First, I'd love if weather were made up of dynamic weather systems. For example, if you could sit on top of an ice sheet and watch as a rain cloud rolls over the map from a distance. This would occlude some map features, and if the weather is sufficiently chaotic it could really give the map a larger, more intense look. This could also give the player a chance to see a blizzard coming, instead of getting no more than a few seconds' notice. I love the idea of dynamic weather, and think it could help with immersion.

In my original Subnautica playthrough, I completely ignored the option of building a second main base, and opted instead to build a tiny outpost with nothing but water and medkit production. The main reason for that was that I didn't want to have to move all of my many materials over from my main base, and so left them in the shallows. A cargo system would be very nice, made up of a cargo hold base module (a bunch of boxes with some robotic arms to carry them) and a cargo loading bay for the Cyclops. This would allow you to store a lot of materials easily, and easily cart them from one base to another if you want to. Possible extension could include cargo bots, which would carry materials but could be damaged by aggressive creatures. This would mark a beacon, which would lead you to the bot and its loot, but could lead you straight to a leviathan-class creature with the bot in its belly.

Above-ground bases need some love I think. I don't know if I just found the wrong place for it, but I wasn't able to place modules above-ground without placing a foundation, and the foundation was a good 5 feet above the surface. This clearly doesn't work well for base building, so I'd like it if the foundation could be placed underground. Bonus points if above-ground bases and sections of underwater bases that breach the surface get covered by snow during a blizzard.

Weapons and combat are in dire need of something, but I'm not sure exactly what. The technique of using the prawn suit to grapple and drill a leviathan class creature is so utterly absurd that it breaks me from the game completely. Essentially leviathans are placed as creatures whose only interaction with you is to eat you. The Stasis Rifle is an interesting concept, but doesn't feel right. If weapon effects were improved, and new weapons were added, then it could be nice to use the weapons to chase away enemies, up to leviathan class. In my mind, most weapons should be reserved for the Cyclops or PRAWN suit, since this would add to the claustrophobia of using that equipment. Bonus points for dynamic damage effects on creatures in the vein of Left 4 Dead 2.


Thanks for reading! Please let me know what kind of feedback you have on these points. Would you also like to see these things added to the game?
Klinn

Comments

  • JimboJamboJimboJambo Members Join Date: 2018-01-25 Member: 235708Posts: 42 Advanced user
    edited February 2019
    zeuskabob wrote: »
    Second, the issue of clipping. (...) I don't know how to fix the issue, but my dream would be for leviathans to interact with walls intelligently, for example the Sea Emperor, when it gets too close to a wall, could turn its body and grip the wall with its tentacles to turn and push off. This tech would likely require some hybrid animations, which I'm not sure are implemented yet and therefore would be a low priority.
    There are procedural animation systems that allow animation bones to interact with the world. Overgrowth is a game that's best known for that, but there are other games that use them too, and you can find plenty of indie YouTube videos with testing walking animations on various surfaces. I bet Subnautica could use something like this as a first step, just to reduce the amount of obvious clipping, but this alone won't do everything you; large fish will still swim into walls and just sort of crunch up until they decide to turn around, but at least it will look like their body is solid and is interacting with the wall.

    I'm learning animation, but I have yet to actually use these systems myself, so I can't tell the devs how easy it should be for them to implement, but I bet it is possible.

    Anyway, I agree that it's probably a low priority, but maybe not so low as you might think. Subnautica is all about immersion, and I wouldn't mind seeing more realistic animal behaviors take priority over some small new gameplay feature.

    Third, the narrative. The game comes off very strong at the beginning with a negative view of megacorps (...)
    Maybe it's just me, but I didn't really get that impression. It makes fun of them, but in a tongue-in-cheek sort of way, I thought. Nothing wrong with your suggestion, though.

    Less importantly than these three, I have a couple of suggestions. First, I'd love if weather were made up of dynamic weather systems. For example, if you could sit on top of an ice sheet and watch as a rain cloud rolls over the map from a distance. This would occlude some map features, and if the weather is sufficiently chaotic it could really give the map a larger, more intense look. This could also give the player a chance to see a blizzard coming, instead of getting no more than a few seconds' notice. I love the idea of dynamic weather, and think it could help with immersion.
    Agreed, and I bet you can cheat to make it less expensive. Rather than having the game track where on the map the foul weather is, weather could be map-wide like it is now, but the onset of a snowstorm could be delayed following a purely aesthetic animation of clouds rolling in from the distance. Once the clouds reach the player's position (or cover the entire playable area), the snow can be triggered.

    In my original Subnautica playthrough, I completely ignored the option of building a second main base (...) The main reason for that was that I didn't want to have to move all of my many materials over from my main base, and so left them in the shallows. A cargo system would be very nice, made up of a cargo hold base module (a bunch of boxes with some robotic arms to carry them) and a cargo loading bay for the Cyclops. (...)
    I think the planned "sea truck" will be able to do some of this.

    Above-ground bases need some love I think. I don't know if I just found the wrong place for it, but I wasn't able to place modules above-ground without placing a foundation, and the foundation was a good 5 feet above the surface. This clearly doesn't work well for base building, so I'd like it if the foundation could be placed underground.
    Yes. But more importantly, a way to control the placement distance and rotation of an object before placing it.

    Weapons and combat are in dire need of something, but I'm not sure exactly what.
    I doubt you'll get anywhere with this suggestion. The devs have made it clear that they do not want Subnautica to be combat-focused, going so far as to reject the idea of being able to have any interactions with a dead creature's body because that might encourage people to kill them.

    Personally, I'm with them on this one. I could see some sort of electro-stun grenade or an entangling net, maybe, but I don't think combat needs to be expanded upon in any significant way.
    Klinn
  • zeuskabobzeuskabob Members Join Date: 2019-02-11 Member: 250805Posts: 3 Fully active user
    My point on procedural animation is that they don't have them implemented yet, so the implementation costs are high. Context-sensitive hybrid animations with AI to match it is a huge process, and you'll see even AAA games eschew them because of the high cost of implementation. I don't know truly how much it costs, but a quick and dirty solution prior to this animation system is a high priority for me.

    Good to hear about the Sea Truck.

    Sad to hear about the weapon situation. In a game where you're at odds with the environment, need food to survive, and are already taking and eating fish, it seems silly not to at least give you the capability to take home prey slightly larger than what you can hold. I'm not looking for combat-focused (since actual combat with leviathans is basically suicide), and I'm not looking for combat being a better option than avoidance, but I think that the current gameplay (e.g. Ghost Leviathans in the Lost River biome) isn't very interactive, and once you experience the initial fear it has very little to offer gameplay-wise.
  • KlinnKlinn Lost in a caveMembers Join Date: 2016-03-09 Member: 214022Posts: 231 Advanced user
    Good points Zeuskabob and JimboJambo.

    About combat, leaving aside any philosophical type discussions about its place in video games, I just like the idea that a developer is trying something other than the same old "give the player bigger guns" trope. Forces you to think about how to accomplish goals a little differently. I need to focus on avoidance / defense.

    Anyway, your suggestions about improving how the player perceives Alterra are very good. In that vein, I feel there's an issue with the Sam and Maxim characters.

    First, Maxim. It seems that Alterra is a very large organization spanning vast reaches of space. So it seems odd that the CEO himself is getting involved in one particular project. Perhaps later in the story it becomes evident why he's directly involved, looking over Sam's shoulder, but at the beginning it seems like the sort of thing that a huge conglomerate would assign to an executive rather than the CEO himself.

    Secondly, the voice acting for Maxim doesn't ring true to me. There's no powerful, understated menace in the character. He just shouts. And shouts some more.

    Lastly, Sam. Her aspiring to a VP position also sounds too far up the organizational ladder. Remember, this is huge organization we're talking about and VP positions would be pretty scarce. Why not have her hoping to land an "Executive Director" position or something similar. Sufficiently high status that you could understand her desire to advance, but not so unrealistically near the very tip of the pyramid.

    BTW, I do like the voice work for Robin. It's critical that the player sympathizes with the character since she's "us" and so far it's very well done.
  • CaptainFearlessCaptainFearless CO, USMembers Join Date: 2016-12-14 Member: 224941Posts: 378 Advanced user
    I would like to just take the time and say how we all wanted weather in the base game, and in Below Zero, we got just that and more! It's incredible with the snowstorms, the electrical storms and how it shook the intro sequence, it's incredible! I love how it sounds from underwater and can't wait until they make it so you can see it from underwater as well, instead of a clear sky with random noises. Thank you devs!
    Nyeh heh heh
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    You may know me as Tipoff Giggots
  • AltaziAltazi Members Join Date: 2019-01-16 Member: 248807Posts: 45 Advanced user
    I try to play these games as if I were in the environment, doing things the way I would normally do them. I follow a 'leave me alone and I will leave you alone' philosophy - but when fauna goes out of its way to attack and ruin my day, I feel obligated to return the favor - and end the threat permanently.

    With the stasis rifle and the heated knife, you can take out leviathans. Granted, it takes serious commitment and effort on your part, along with perseverance. I have also used the PRAWN suit with the drill arm and normal grabber arm; the leviathan does ~20% damage and leaves temporarily, and I pop out and repair the damage. Repeat this about five or six times and you have a dead leviathan. But as I have said elsewhere, the leviathans that I have killed seemed to stay killed.
  • WarvisWarvis Members Join Date: 2017-01-14 Member: 226701Posts: 31 Advanced user
    My initial impression is, that Below Zero will provide the same great early-access experience as Subnautica did, minus the fear that it may end up in alpha-hell like some other EA titles I had during Subnautica development.

    Yes, I may be unstable or laggy, but I have to say that compared to other EA games (again) beside little fixable glitches I have not experienced any showstoppers or savegamewreckers so far, and occasional hiccups in an unoptimized development build shouldn't be overly surprising...

    Intro walksim seems to be a bit dragged out right now - much walk'n'talk, but it's quickly forgotten once you begin exploring the sea. Maybe there's mor interactivity planned for later, or it might turn into an initial speedrun on replay ;)
    I'm not sure what to think about Al-An. I guess as long as he isn't constantly babbling later on, we should get along.

    Weapons
    zeuskabob wrote: »
    Weapons and combat are in dire need of something, but I'm not sure exactly what. The technique of using the prawn suit to grapple and drill a leviathan class creature is so utterly absurd that it breaks me from the game completely. Essentially leviathans are placed as creatures whose only interaction with you is to eat you. The Stasis Rifle is an interesting concept, but doesn't feel right. If weapon effects were improved, and new weapons were added, then it could be nice to use the weapons to chase away enemies, up to leviathan class. In my mind, most weapons should be reserved for the Cyclops or PRAWN suit, since this would add to the claustrophobia of using that equipment. Bonus points for dynamic damage effects on creatures in the vein of Left 4 Dead 2.

    I have a history in FPS gaming, and so I as well came to the point where was wishing for a BFG, but the lesson here is: There are no weapons in Subnautica, and you're using tools as weapons just out of shooter-habit ;)
    In the end I found that it was the right decision to restrict weponry, because it seemed easy enough to avoid or bypass most dangerous creatures (or scare them with tools), but still have the sense of danger without the safety of being able to blast the thing out of the water with my railgun.
    Altazi wrote: »
    But as I have said elsewhere, the leviathans that I have killed seemed to stay killed.
    I wonder if a ghost-leviathan beefsteak remains transparent when cooked.

  • JAZZYFORSUBNAUTICAJAZZYFORSUBNAUTICA Members Join Date: 2018-05-01 Member: 240453Posts: 129 Advanced user
    :#:#:#:#:#:#:#:#:#
    Hey lets be honest that Reapers gonna getcha. (Im Jazzed for subnautica, im not going for president)
  • XceSXceS Members Join Date: 2018-12-22 Member: 246725Posts: 2 Fully active user
    edited May 19
    I miss the Seamoth and the Cyclops, was also hoping for an even bigger submarine.. a true mobile base.
    Not a big fan of the Seatruck ... I was expecting the old things + new things ....
    Also having an in-game Interactive Map like on https://subnauticamap.io/belowzero/ would be great
  • juvondyjuvondy USAMembers Join Date: 2021-05-19 Member: 270339Posts: 1 Fully active user
    edited May 19
    I would like to see lead nodes the you can use your prawn drill to harvest. Lead is far to scarce in comparison to other resources. Also on ps4, the scan room detects node spawn locations that have nothing to harvest or is buried underground. Otherwise I am loving Below Zero
    Post edited by juvondy on
  • SoulstarSoulstar Ithaca, NYMembers Join Date: 2021-05-19 Member: 270359Posts: 7 Fully active user
    I'd like to know why the switch version isnt at release version. On streams I see a may 2021 44290 date for the games but switch is at april... maybe that's the cause of the frequent crashes too?

    Other than that is there even a reason to go deep in the water? As far as I can tell there isnt anything there like there was in the first one.
  • MarwMarw Members Join Date: 2021-05-21 Member: 270466Posts: 1 Freshly registered user
    Hey everyone,

    (this post may content spoilers)

    So i finished right now Below Zero (BZ) and would like to give my personal feedback. It is gonna be a little bit of a text. Even though BZ and Subnautica the original game (short: Subnautica) are stand alone games i am gonna compare both.

    After i finished BZ 10 minutes ago, the first feeling that i had was.... disappointment. The game had some features that are good and where i wished that i had in Subnautica, but overall it was for me not that satisfied.

    Story

    The Story is not bad neither good. It is "meh". You can live with it even though it could be better.
    For the main character you got to met her and her sis with her cat and what they believed in, as well what the worked, don't we forget that Robin got an age and a voice.

    So the best parts are that they introduced all the NPCs with proper character modeling / desing and a little bit of an Story behind them. Fred taken as an example; Fred is a pragmatic, gentle, kind-hearted character from who you find some PDA entries that describes his "adventures", but you don't get to know what happened to him or the others. (except for Sam, Ivanov and Lilian probably?)

    Where are they? Did they leave? why? or are they dead? etc....

    The whole story in general is like a Swiss cheese. Lot of holes in it.

    On the other side the random link to Subnautica in the game. To be honest the only true link to Subnautica is Marguerite, that said not even a good one. All the PDA entries about the Aurora are not really links just pure information that if you want to know more, you must play the other game. Cause BZ is a stand-alone game i do not understand why even Marguerite is in the game. She plays absolutely no important role in the game, you could give that role to any other NPC.

    With the Degassi in the first game, they introduced as little side story the Mercury II. What was very interesting to explore, like you wished you could do with the Degassi ship. But story based it was not that much worth. While you could explore the Degassi bases (and find blueprints that make your life easier as well as getting to "meet" the Torgals and Maida) , they made it in BZ that it was something you needed to do if you want to proceed with the story. (Unless you just want to get Al'an out of your head).

    Base & Equipment


    Based on the fact that i took way less time to complete BZ i didn't need to build that much of a base, so when i reached nearly the end i spend a little more time on building a proper base, only cause i felt so ... awkward for not doing it. After all you need to survive and the base was your new temporary home.

    While you couldn't dive that deep in Subnautica, in BZ you can do it with the help of the oxygen flowers, what makes it less necessary to have good equipment from start.

    What I used:

    - Scanner
    - Repair tool
    - Seaglide
    - Knife
    - Lasercutter
    - Habitatbuilder

    Mineral Detector and the tether tool were nice but unnecessary, never needed them.

    Vehicules

    Some people claim that the cyclops was "overpowered" so the late game was too easy. Fact is that the Cyclops was giving you a reward when you gathered everything, meaning it was meant to increase your survive-ability (including the upgrades like the shield) and compared to the Seatruck the Cyclops was harder to get. When you got it you just felt so proud that you've done it.

    From all the modules that you can get for the Seatruck, i ended up only using the storage module.

    The Prawn suit was only in use to mine some large titanium deposits in order to expand my base.
    All the minerals you needed were obtainable through searching and collecting.

    A Seatruck with 3 upgrades (Deep-module mk3, perimeter defense and afterburner) is enough to get you everywhere. (the fact aside that having more then 1 module connected on your Seatruck slows you down (less with the upgrade but still slowed down)

    Overall i never felt like i needed all the modules, it was just a nice gadget to have if you want. What makes it a little disappointing.

    The Snow Fox..... hard to maneuver and only twice in use. In fact the trailer was more promising.

    Leviathans

    When i was first time attacked by a chelicerate, i wasn't even aware that it was a leviathan. I first though it was a squidshark. I mean from all the times i got attacked, i was more complaining on repairing the truck then afraid of facing them. The same with the Shadow leviathan, who was meant to be the "boss" level leviathan. Four times i was attacked by them (all four one time) and it was like "oh he got me, i activate the perimeter defense system", and you carry on. Didn't even got below 90 health. I mean i didn't even tried to avoid them. As soon the PDA tells you to proceed with caution, the first one got me, and yet it fell like an ordinary other leviathan... I played Subnautica twice, once on hardmode and i still have more respect for the reaper leviathan. Can't explain it. I feared the reaper, ghost, sea-dragon and had so much more respect for them! Here i am like "yeah whatever dude".


    Exploring

    The original game was such a joy to explore. And here i wasn't that amazed. In Subnautica my curiosity was the way more present.

    The biomes are not that of an eye-catcher. I give credit to the fact that it is still in the arctic and that it can be difficult to design. Yet fact is the biomes in Subnautica are more beautiful / interesting.

    Conclusion

    Overall the game is not bad. I do would recommend the game to people who haven't played Subnautica, i am well aware that there are some people who disagree with me.
    I think that it is the best way to handle it cause if you once played Subnautica and enjoyed it from the very beginning there is still a possibility to be disappointed.
    Cause with Ryley, you survived a crash, a disease a lot of other predators, met a sentient Sea Emperor leviathan, learned about the fate of the Torgal family and the other crew members of the Aurora (more or less), fond a cure for a bacterium, got to see a whole new ecosystem, build a rocket and flew finally back home. For those who get out, on top of your lifepod for the first time; wasn't that a view on the Aurora ?

    And with Robin ... well you got to inject the cure on a dead leviathan (even not necessary), build an architect and had to explore little more Alterra facilities, less biomes and got off the alien planet to another alien planet with the help of an alien.

    In Subnautica the precursor race were not "real" we just knew some of their buildings and technologies but nothing more (no face etc...) that added some mystery to the game, in BZ that mystery is partially gone cause you got to see and meet one.

    Being able to give your base more of an personal touch with the shower, toilet , jukebox was something i wished for in Subnautica (don't forget the large room). Voice acting for all the characters including the main character is a thumbs up. As well for the proper character modeling / design for the NPCs and their beds and personal stuff. (example given: Freds mustache kit or Sam's necklace). Thumps up for the Mercury II too that we were able to explore.

    I reed a comment on where someone claim that BZ didn't fell like it was from the same gaming studio, i agree with that, in the first game you had the feeling that they put so much effort in the game while in BZ they rushed it.

    I wished for Ryley and got Robin. (Robin's character design is really good, they could do a better job with Ryley)

    It can be assumed that the next expansion will be based on this one, so we gonna get Robin back and since the franchise is called Subnautica we gonna have a world of the architect Al'an that is under water.


    Best regards. Marw
  • LyxLochLyxLoch Members Join Date: 2021-05-26 Member: 270709Posts: 1 Freshly registered user
    Dear Unknown Worlds,

    This is feedback about the story, which I know is too late to change and I doubt you'll see this post, but I still want to give it in case it helps storytelling in your future games. Quick disclaimer, I am a writer so be prepared for me to really dig into the story and offer suggestions on how events could have gone another way. Also, I'm sorry in advance if any of this comes off as rude or sarcastic like I know your story better than you; I promise I do not mean my things like that. The reason I write this post is because I really love subnautica and just want to help and this is the only way I know how.

    AL-an's story
    This was by far the best storyline in the entire game. I absolutely enjoyed the banter between Robin and Al-an that I wish there was more of it. The ending with AI-an and the download cutscene were what really sold me on the game and made it worth playing. It was very well written and the delivery was perfect. The other thing I enjoyed from this story section was the bodybuilding cut scene. What I didn't enjoy from this story arch was scanning the artifacts; that part felt more like a collectible and like I was just doing the same thing over and over again. Al-an's dialogue does vary between artifacts, but they all boil down to the same phrase, "There's something here." I wish more story was unraveled when you scanned the artifacts, like Al-an tells Robin why the artifact was there and what was it used for like with the Zen garden where Al-an explains it was a place of peace in a time of crisis. I also kinda wished Al-an's story was hinted at the end of Sam's story. What I mean is after you cure the disease and return to the sea truck, maybe Al-an could have called in to ask, "What will you do once your other objectives here are complete?" And Robin grumbles that she doesn't know since she lost her family and that she doesn't want to return to Xenoworks now that it's Altera." The conversation continues so it demonstrates Robin's genuine curiosity in learning about other intelligent life and wanting to learn more about Al-an; Al-an replies along the lines of "help me and I might tell you more about my people." This was just an extra bridge I thought of to help turn the story in a different direction, but it's not that necessary.

    Sam's story
    It felt deflated, half-baked, and cheap. There's this build-up that Sam's death is not what Altera claims it to be, so for it to be just a fall that killed her and to leave her death at that makes the story feel flat and loses its interest; the story has the build-up but not the climax for it. Personally, I would have preferred Alexis report to say Sam died in the explosion that collapsed the cave. It appears the substance that caused the explosion is a match to the substance that exploded the Omega base. I prefer this because it connects the two events more and it stirs more interest in the story by making audiences question why the explosion and who was attacking altera sites.
    More on Sam's story, I appreciate the LGBTQ representation with Sam's love story. When I heard the Flirting recording that really made me smile; props to everyone who contributed to that recording. What bothers me is Robin's lack of reaction or acknowledgment of it. It makes the recording feel unimportant and brushed to the side and in turn, so is the representation. I think that just needed one line from Robin like, "Aw, I'm sorry it didn't work out."

    Marguerit's story
    Marguerit was such a cool character that it annoys me how you only do one mission for her and that's it. I would have liked to see Robin do a lot more with Marguerit or at least interact with her a bit more. Currently, she feels like a cool character that was thrown in but not used. Also, I so disappointed at how poorly she was tied into Sam's story. When I got the PDA that unveils she was the one who talked Sam into the explosion, I was so upset at the lack of delivery and reaction. Also, it feels random that Sam went to Marguerit since Sam never mentions knowing about marguerite or the team knowing that Marguerit was there. I think an extra PDA should have been added where Sam is discussing Marguerite with a Co-worker and the co-worker says he/she doesn't trust Marguerit because she is anti-Altera; that extra PDA discussion would make Sam's running to Marguerit for support less random. Also, Sam is framed as a smart individual so it doesn't make sense that she would choose an irrational solution (block off the cave to the virus) when she could end the virus threat once and for all with her antidote; even Robin says this herself. Because the story events actually transpire for no logical reason, it cheapens the story with no big revelation to answer why Sam chose explosion over cure.

    For it to make more sense, I think the PDA dialogue could have been altered so Marguerite made Sam doubt her antidote by pointing out Sam's lack of experience in that field of study. That could have justified why Sam made that decision to blow up the cave and then she just got caught in the explosion
    (if Alexis report is slightly altered to suggest that). There is also the alternate route where Sam just went to Marguerit to tell her she has a backup antidote in the event something happens to her when she tries to use the original antidote. Marguerit has a bigger reaction to Sam, reasoning "Altera has the making's of a Bio-weapon and you think your robotics degree, a pepper, and vase plant with cure it?! Not even the precurses could! We need something bigger." Basically, the purpose of this line is Marguerit gives Sam a reason not to use the antidote and convinces Sam to blow up the cave instead. Then for drama, the story is altered so Sam thinks the explosion is too drastic because it could kill her coworkers (This would connect to Robin's comment about how her sister wouldn't blow up a base). Sam could then exclaim that talking to Marguerit was a mistake and Marguerit yells if "you won't take care of the virus then I will." That ending line hints that Marguerit set off the cave explosion and Alexis report hints that Sam was attempting to cure the frozen leviathan when the explosion went off. In my opinion, these routes I presented just create more drama and make it seem like things were destined to happen.
    The dialogue for the Just A Couple of Friends Talking PDA is fine, but what bothers me the most is that we learn about this huge piece of information - that Marguerit is the one who told Sam to explode the cave rather than cure the Leviathan- and Robin just doesn't say or do anything about it. That's a big moment of realization and there's nothing there to acknowledge it!! I want Robin to yell at Marguerite for causing her sister's death and Marguerit explaining it was an accident but the explosion needed to be done. Then for extra, Robin could yell that it didn't do anything because if I can get into the excavation site, then so can Altera. The argument could end with Marguerit trying to make up for Sam's death by offering access to her greenhouse and giving the location or recipe for the antidote. Basically, Marguerit is a cool character, I just wish you did more with her (like some more missions with her) and connected her more to Sam's death and I would have also liked Robin to acknowledge that last PDA.

    Robin's Character
    I remember the original Robin with the British accent who started in Base Zero and her sister was in the Vesper. She had so much jive, personality, and character in her dialogue. I really enjoyed that initial version of Robin and I was really upset to see her character so watered down in the final game. Original Robin's lines were so witty and added so much to her character like the line to Al-an "I once had a pet; I called him Ketchup. Do not make me name you too." The current Robin feels very generic in her lines like "Why don't you start by telling me who you are." It's missing the charm and playful dialog she initially had which makes her feel 2D and flat. The story revolves around characters and if I'm not invested in the main character then chances are I'm not invested in the main character's story that much either and the story falls flat. The other characters like Al-an and the Mercury crew had much more personality in their dialogue than Robin and I was more invest in them because of that.

    Conclusion

    Altogether, you have a lot of events happening in the story but don't connect them to each other or acknowledge them for the most part, unless it's Al-an's story. You nailed Al-an's story, but Sam's and Marguerit's story feely half-backed and incomplete; that is because you are throwing a bunch of ideas out there but not sticking to the ones you already have. Sam died of a fall, that's a new random thing that undoes the stories build up of Altera is lying and it adds nothing to the story; Whereas we know an explosion happened that collapsed the cave so if Sam died in that explosion and that happened to be identical to the explosion at Omega Lab, that connects the events and add more to the narrative and pulls us into the story deeper as it connects to Marguerit's role in Sam's death.

    Sorry again if this post comes off as rude; I actually did like the story and I just want to help. I don't mean to be like "my ideas are better." The purpose of this post was me just wanting to give some suggestions and food for thought because I am such a geek and enthusiast for story design and I love thinking of alternate ways a story could branch. Also, last suggestion, if you sold a stuffed animal of pengling or pengwing in the store, I would definitely buy it. Thanks for reading.

    Sincerely,
    Me
  • SubnauticStimulusSubnauticStimulus Members Join Date: 2021-05-31 Member: 270905Posts: 2 Fully active user
    edited May 31
    Overall I really enjoyed Below Zero. Both are great games. I finished both in survival mode on PC (Steam). Had around 80 hours of play time with BZ (I take it slowly and explore a lot).

    Graphics:
    Great, very atmospheric and immersive.

    Audio:
    Same. Jukebox music in the base was a fun addition.

    Controls/UI:
    Also great overall. Would like to see some improvements against "accidentally" clicking on the wrong part of an object, like picking up a locker instead of opening it. Maybe use modifier keys for some actions instead of just single left-clicks all the time.

    Story:
    Overall cool story, well paced and all. Just in terms of immersion I actually preferred the original game. In the original game, you feel more left alone on the planet. In BZ, there's an additional human being, there's an alien you are in constant dialog with, and so on. As a result, BZ didn't feel as "lonely" and - by extension - less "harsh" of a survival game than the first one. It's not a big negative point yet but if you move more into that direction, it could become a problem for immersion, and I think immersion is one of the biggest strengths of these games.

    Combat / Enemies:
    Maybe the biggest issues lie here. Large predators don't pose enough threat, they can usually be avoided or (later on) the seatruck defense system can be used effectively when being attacked. The medium-sized predators can even be killed by prawn drilling or bumping into them with the seatruck, and beside that they can just be completely ignored, I was never afraid of any squid shark, cryptosuchus(sp?) or crab thing. Conclusion: they may look and sound threatening, but don't feel that way at all.
    Snowstalkers and Ice Worms: could easily be ignored or avoided out in the open. Even on foot. I actually didn't use a Snowfox when exploring Arctic Spires + Glacial Bay (main reason being: Snowfox maneuvering doesn't feel good). It didn't matter much. Ice Worms could literally be ignored by just running around. No need for thumpers at all. I also didn't really fear any of the larger leviathans as much as the reaper leviathan in the original game. Only the shadow leviathans came close, but they are only in a very specific location.
    Prawn torpedoes feel useless, especially since item storage is notoriously limited, so it doesn't make sense to bring items that just waste slots.

    Difficulty:
    Overall fine, not hard but also not too easy, and you get a good sense of progress as you gain more tools that make everything easier. But in BZ, some things are too easy compared to the original game. Oxygen plants should be outright removed, although I like the idea and the design of them. They allowed me to get the architext part from deep lilypad caves waaaaaay too early in the game, I shouldn't have had any chance of surviving down there. But oxygen plants did allow me to make it all the way down there with almost no equipment yet (seatruck @ 300m). Maybe only add a couple of oxygen plants in early-game biomes, never any in late-game biomes.

    Resource gathering:
    Overall fine. Lead availability should be increased, it's a very common material for base building but probably the 2nd or 3rd rarest mineral resource overall (behind Magnetite, and also Kyanite (which you don't need much of)). When considering how much you need vs. how much you can accumulate, it's subjectively the rarest resource by far.

    Item balancing:
    Some items just aren't worth their inventory slots (and I'm not talking about purely decorative items here). I'm thinking of things like prawn torpedo stuff, air pumps + pipes, head-mounted lamp (you're much better off with either the cold suit helmet on land or the rebreather otherwise). When you have an ion battery in a seaglide, and swim-charge fins, it also has a lamp that never goes out. So who needs those extra 2 lamps for anyway. Also, it's not really clear if the head-lamp will run out of power eventually? In the text it says battery-powered, but you can't replace them. I like the idea of the head-lamp but since it competes for a very important equipment slot, it always loses. Mineral detector and tether tool were quite useless as well. The only teleport I used *once* was the architect teleporter.
    Oh, and grav traps? They look cool in action, but are completely useless, especially considering how large they are in inventory. What a waste. It's probably even quicker to just grab those 4-5 fish without the trap. I could see the grav trap being useful if it had a much larger area of effect. Or if it was just 1 inventory slot.

    Sea monkeys:
    Apparently, they will just sometimes give you resources. I thought, based on their description, that they would steal resources from your inventory. They are too friendly. :)

    Beacons:
    There should be more options for colors and text length here, considering how important they are for navigation and overview. They are a crucial item that should offer more customization options. I think it's more limited in BZ than in original Subnautica. The colors are for sure more limited. That's a bad change. Just let players have black-on-dark-text if they want to.

    Base building:
    There's been some improvements here but some things are still unexplained and slightly annoying. The water filtration machine works much slower on land, there should be a description for that. Power distribution and usage is still a mystery to me (was in both games). In BZ, I built like 10-15 thermal plants (that's a lot of resources), 4 or 5 of them were far away right next to 2 underground high-temperature vents, the rest of them were in the purple vents biome next to those purple vents. I didn't have a large base (2 large rooms, 2 multipurpose rooms, scanner room, moonpool, 1 water filtration machine, jukebox + several speakers). Furthermore, I had like 15 solar panels on Delta Island, also connected to the base. The power output from all that was barely enough to hold the power usage steady. When I saw that, I built an additional nuclear reactor just to get rid of the power issue once and for all. Maybe I did something wrong here, but the powerlines all seemed to be properly connected and so it doesn't really make sense that a not very big base requires AT LEAST 15 solar panels and 10-15 thermal plants.
    The moonpool and the vehicle upgrade console seem almost irrelevant. Scanner room range seems too limited. Base foundations shouldn't cost lead (see above).

    Seatruck:
    Cool improvements over the Cyclops overall, but it's way too slow when you add all modules (even with the horsepower upgrade). So of course the first modules you leave behind are sleeping cabin, aquarium and maybe the teleport module. Which is sad. What happens when the player gets punished for using unimportant modules? The player won't use them at all. So there's no reason to even offer them in the first place. At least remove the punishment for the rather useless modules. Besides, storage module could offer slightly more inventory slots, but thankfully the fabricator module also has some storage.

    Outdoor zones (Below Zero only):
    Overall cool addition, I just think they (Glacial Basin + Arctic Spires) were too big (and quite complex to navigate), and ice worms and snowstalkers didn't feel threatening (see above). So it was mostly a large maze for me. Weather was very threatening until you had your 3 cold suit pieces (that's fine). I think cutting like 50% of the land areas (and instead add more stuff below sea) would have been better overall. In the first game, there was maybe too little land, in the second game, there's too much of it.

    Savegames:
    Still only 1 savegame slot that always gets overwritten. This is bad because it might get corrupted or the game/quest state may get bugged for various reasons, and then a player will want to have earlier savegame backups. I did manual backups by copying the save directory after each major step. I don't want to think about what I would think of this game when I had a single, corrupt save game after investing 80 hours of playtime. Thankfully, nothing happened, but still... this is risky.

    Conclusion:
    Still a great game, just like the original. If you like immersive games with survival and base building aspects and a good focus on exploration and story, you can't go wrong with the Subnautica games. Play the original first, then Below Zero.
  • grootgroot Members Join Date: 2021-06-02 Member: 270976Posts: 5 Freshly registered user
    What was potentially a great game was completely ruined by constant crashes and corrupted unrecoverable save file (PS5). 40 hours gone in an instant.
  • SubnauticStimulusSubnauticStimulus Members Join Date: 2021-05-31 Member: 270905Posts: 2 Fully active user
    Oh by the way, I played the Steam version on Linux (Proton), with no issues at all. So it was great to have a smooth experience despite there being no native Linux version.
  • Raven1840Raven1840 UkMembers Join Date: 2021-05-31 Member: 270881Posts: 10 Fully active user
    Having played BZ through a couple of times now, in comparison to the first game this feels like a dlc rather than a complete separate game.

    All through out this game it is a case of "that will do" gone rampant. You're familiar with the saying "one bee sting might not kill you, a thousand will". That is this game. So many little things that just add up and ruin it.

    Biomes.
    The diversity and beauty has been stripped away. The first was a feast for the eyes. This only has one really gorgeous Biome and that's the kelp forests. The rest are monochrome dull.

    It's more than apparent how rushed this game was. So many things clearly overlooked and pushed aside. The devs should be glad that this isn't as popular as cyberpunk or assassin's creed. It's clear that the same internal politics issues plagued this development as with those titles.

    Oxygen plants were too readily available in later biomes. Being able to speed run with just a sea-side??? Come on devs.

    Land section.
    Great ideas just badly done. So large and other than the two locations there was little point in going there.

    Creatures
    No real fear in these. The Reaper and ghost leviathans terrified you and could appear almost out of nowhere. The perimeter defence whilst the same as the cyclops doesn't seem to function the same way. Reapers and ghosts would still come back quickly. Not in bz. The leviathans sprint off after a zap. As someone above commented, you were more bothered about repairing the seatruck than the leviathans themselves.

    Having celasera leviathans come out of the ground just appears like a game glitch without extra graphics showing they'd been tunnelling. It happens too many times for me to brush it off as a glitch.

    Spike trap plants were a nice addition. As were the LSD fish that disoriented you in the mushroom Biome. They were more of an annoyance to deal with than the leviathans.

    Resources
    Another section where it's clear little or no thought and planning went into the game. Putting next stage resources beyond current max sea truck reach level. Or putting end of first stage resources (magnetite) in last stage biomes?

    Tools
    What is the point in having the scanner room when it doesn't work correctly. As it stands it just shows you were the devs went "oh that will do" when it came to coding. Its like going to a beautiful park and finding rubbish strewn all over. Once again mid management politics ruining a game. That is mid management telling senior that its all done when it isn't.

    Mineral detector nice idea, unfortunately more often than not the in game glare stops you reading the display.

    Head lamp.
    Great idea badly implemented. Can't change battery and using a slot needed by other objects more. Also using tech that unlikely to have obtained or used for that point in exploration.

    Booster tank.
    Pointless addition as you can defend easier than run away. The air bladder works better.

    Architect sites.
    More likely to find when lost than actually locate by intent. Did no one think of using the achievement system to make people want to go looking?
    There needed to be some alert to say something nearby as Al-an says it from a ridiculous distance from it, if he even says it.


    Story
    Well this is the biggest let down and where the rush to release is most readily apparent. No QA done here, or if there was it's not worth a tenth of what it cost.

    Sam's story your initial impetus can be completely ignored and not touched in order to complete the game. Then what was the point in having it there to begin with.

    Dialog that doesn't tally up with events in other locations. There should be reactions and comments to so much of the dialog in the pda, yet its not there.

    On delta island Robin says, "Sam really got under management skin..." yet in neither the pdas or anything else around is there something to prompt that observation. Build the jukebox and Al-an queries what is music and yet earlier he says, "imagine a thousand harmonies ". Whoops.
  • RazachielRazachiel Members Join Date: 2021-06-05 Member: 271090Posts: 1 Freshly registered user
    Hi there, Im not sure if it belongs here but I've just finished playing Below Zero and wanted to thank you guys for creating the game. It was fun to play from start to end. It was nice change of surface environment. It was fun to play from start to end. It was nice change of surface environment compared to the first game.I liked new fauna and flora as well as new base features. I missed the submarine though :-D I really hope there will be a third game, as i would like to see how the story of Robin and AL-AN continue. So thanks again and keep up the good work :-)
  • BHamBHam Members Join Date: 2021-06-05 Member: 271099Posts: 1 Fully active user
    I bought Subnautica Below Zero on Xbox, and it recently showed up in my "owned" section on my PC. When I run the game, it won't let me start a new game on PC. It says something like "save Data Saving error" and and I'm stuck on the main screen.
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