Below Zero is terrible, right? Am I the crazy one?

lor360lor360 Members Join Date: 2019-02-03 Member: 250304Posts: 8 Fully active user
I was so excited for another Subnautica game. I thought it would be amazing. 1 hour after starting Below Zero I simply quit. I don't know what this is, but its not fun.

Everything is too cramped, both below the water but especially above. The weather effects are so over the top I struggled to see where I was going (in a bad, not survival game way). The phrase "professional self restraint" comes to mind. Every place, every spot is jam packed with things, like a over decorated Christmas tree. There is no room to let the world breathe, no time to let you think where you should go next, because everywhere has something.
No infamously beloved thalasophobia from biomes with infinite ocean blue on every side of the compass. No break in interesting objects and locations with a bit of space to make the world feel huge. In Below Zero, everything is crammed into a arctic puddle, with every single square inch of land being covered in some plant, formation, or a piece of technology.

Paradoxically, a lot of this visual clutter is recycled old stuff from the original game. Repainted kelp, slightly modified fish from the original game, flat out identical items and human objects.

The story is just as overwhelming as the map. Tons of text, documents, sound files are dumped at you immediately when loading a new game, to the point where you can spend 20 minutes reading your PDA before you even move your character. Then, every 10 minutes there is more text, more documents. Remember how in the original game you got maybe 1 document every 5 wrecks and only if you bothered to explore them from top to bottom? Well, not in Below Zero. Every room in the first base I found had like 2-3 documents in it, 2-3 toys, 1-2 new characters and 5 scanable objects.

And its not like the story is that impressive. Uninteresting characters with dialogue I could only honestly describe as autistic (I don't mean to offend). The main character thinking out loud completely mundane and obvious things, as if the developers where afraid the player wouldn't realize he made a flashlight unless the character says out loud "I have made a flashlight".

The bad kind of jump scare in the cave with Marguerite, that's cheap and insulting, as opposed to making a hostile and unnerving world with dangers.

Yet, despite everything being cluttered and text dumped, someone who never played Subnautica might spend hours going in circles trying to figure out how to do the most basic of things, like make rubber for a knife, or realizing that its even possible to upgrade your underwater air capacity.

I loved Subnautica because it was vast. Quiet. Abandoned. Its world couldn't care less about you. The story was done more by showing the world, not telling. Building a base was necessary. Moving the story required preparing and launching expeditions.
Below Zero felt like a mod done by overenthusiastic pre teens. It feels like some first person shooter without the guns. "The more colorful objects and dialogue we shove into the map, the more fun the map will get!" I cant believe the developers missed the mark so much on why the first game was successful.

Also, Rileys hair shadow shows she isn't wearing a helmet when diving in arctic water.


  • TwoechoTwoecho Members Join Date: 2021-04-25 Member: 269454Posts: 1 Fully active user
    I don't think it's awful. It's just not as good as the first one. To your specific points:

    It seems the devs were going for a claustrophobic reaction. Things certainly are more cramped, and for me it just didn't have the desired effect. What made the first one scary, for me, was the vastness of everything. I'm much more frightened by the prospect of open water than I am of the cavern effect. At least in a cavern you can find something to hide behind. And with a seatruck that fit into every single place, the fear of running out of oxygen wasn't an issue. Couple that with the fact that there was no real explanation for why the Shadow Leviathan's live in a tiny cave with nothing but a scarce amount of small fish and it was rather infuriating. At least in the 1st one you could find clues as to why the Leviathans lived where they did and evolved as they had...

    As for it being recycled models, this doesn't bother me as much. It is, after all the same planet, and there is enough of an evolution of the flora and fauna to make it believable. The African desert is so very different from the US mountains and they both have humans and the only real difference is the color of their skin. In BZ we got whales, and Paddlefish, and hole fish and jellies and more. Lots of evolutionary differences there...

    The story was good. Not as enthralling as waking up on an alien planet and trying to figure out why you crashed and how you escape. But it was good. And I enjoy having lots of PDA stuff to find and read. Oh, and as hard as it is to believe, there are surely folks that need those mundane things to be explained to them After all, humans have directions printed on a tube of toothpaste...

    All in all, I enjoyed it. It was not as good as Subnautica, but that story has been told. How do you go back to 4546B and recapture that same initial sense of wonder? I don't think you really can. But they did a good job of trying. And without spoiling anything, If they do indeed make another, there should be plenty of opportunity to recapture that exploring a strange new place vibe...
  • Morph_GuyMorph_Guy Members Join Date: 2016-04-21 Member: 216034Posts: 515 Advanced user
    lor360 wrote: »
    dialogue I could only honestly describe as autistic (I don't mean to offend).
    I had some whole response ready about how while Below Zero does have issues your points are kind of just wrong like how the detail just kind of makes sense for a living world in general or how there aren't really that many recycled models but then I got to this point and it's just. I can't even see what the thought process was here and also you very much offended. So nah I don't think I'm gonna bother with any of this

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