I was enthralled by the Subnautica that is a free-form exploration and crafting game. Early on, I stood at my desk for hours and hours at a time, breaking away only when I couldn't hold my pee any longer. I racked up 30 hours of play in just four or five sessions. And in these hours I did and saw just about everything the game has to offer. The lone survivor of a crashed starship, marooned on an ocean world, I went from living out of a lifepod to having several underwater bases and my own submarine. I traveled from beautiful tropical shallows to the edge of fathomless depths that I dared not explore. I was very happy with the game. But then, with nothing more to do, I decided it was time to wrap things up. To escape the ocean world I just had to complete a few events and build a few final special objects. And this is where it all went south.
I was disgusted by the Subnautica that is a story-driven adventure game. Without a map -- I repeat, the game has no map -- I was tasked with finding several small, obscure crevices or doorways in a vast, cluttered, disorienting, and often-dark ocean. After spending 15 hours trying to find one of these (the thermal plant), I finally turned to maps and the wiki. Then, once I had cleared all the story locations, I had to scour the ocean-bed for several plants to which I previously had no reason to pay attention. How was I supposed to know where to find them? Once again I had to spend copious time with the wiki and maps. Finally, in order to build the game's last craftable, I had to gather a hoard of resources. All of these resources were ones I had already used in great quantities, but still the game made me fetch even more of them. Instead of spending hours mindlessly doing that, I used console commands to give me what I needed.
I am torn. I can't decide if my brilliant first hours in Subnautica outweigh my joyless final hours. Either way, this is not a game I will return to or even recommend to others. But maybe I would have had fonder memories if somebody had told me to 'cheat' from the very moment I got frustrated. So here I am, telling you that. Don't make my mistake.
P.S. Maybe wait six months to play this game. The game itself is in great shape, but the fan-made wiki and maps need work.
P.P.S. It's now 2018-03-28 and I've put about a month's time between me and Subnautica's endgame. Absence makes the heart grow fonder? I have to admit that I find sometimes find myself daydreaming about this game. Warts and all, it's something special.
P.P.P.S. It's now June 2021 and Subnautica ranks as one of my best games ever. I bought the sequel (Subnautica: Below Zero) at launch and enjoyed most every minute of it. My complaints about the first game still apply, but this time around I did not let myself spend too much time frustrated, making liberal use of the wiki and console commands.