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Like horror games? Give Subnautica a try.

Content of the article: "Like horror games? Give Subnautica a try."

Very mild spoilers ahead but basically safe.

With the new entry, Subnautica: Below Zero, in early access, I want to recommend to anyone who likes to be terrified to play Subnautica. I'm a huge fan of horror. I've played all of the outlast games, Amnesia and its sequel, most of the fatal frame series, the resident evil and Silent Hill series' and much, much more. I can say with no exaggeration, no overstatement, no hyperbole that Subnautica has scared me more than it all.

Everyone's different, so maybe deep diving in an extremely vast alien ocean won't phase some, but for me, this game is a terrifying experience like no other. The horror of it is almost incomparable with the genre in general, because, among other reasons, the pacing is that of a survival/crafting game, like Minecraft. If you've played The Forest, its very similar, but although that game is explicitly a horror/crafting/survival game (whereas Subnautica did not appear to me to be marketed that way), Subnautica is far scarier. Mainstream horror games have a very uniform pacing usually. You walk around safely for a while, then are attacked and have to run or fight, solve puzzles, and repeat until the end. If you've played enough of these games you can almost always tell precisely when safety has ended and you have to run or fight. I've played Outlast so many times that its tempo is soothing to me.

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This is not so with Subnautica. There's significantly less linearity and its up to you and your willingness to venture out from the safe area you start in, motivated only by the need to craft better equipment and natural curiousity. At the start, I was fearless and in awe of the biomes, the flora and fauna, the wreckage and the little bits of info about what happened that caused you to crash land on this planet on the little pda's you could find on the ocean floor. Then… as my curiosity got the better of me, I ventured far from home to explore a very large and immediately noticable land mark that purposefully tantalizes you from the start of your game, and I learned that this alien ocean was not just a beautiful landscape ripe with never before seen creatures, flora and technologies, it was a place of danger and predators. A world not for humans, and the game does an excellent job of reminding you that you don't belong here and must escape.

The pacing is excellent, and eventually you will be able to face your fears by becoming stronger via upgrades to your equipment, but it is tough to willingly venture out in the unknown… Please try to play without googling, its the only way to get the full experience.

I will end this with a totally sincere trigger warning. This game has activated a phobia in me that I didn't have before. I went to the beach every year as a kid and loved to freak my parents out by swimming way out into the water. Now I'm not so sure. That said, considering I didn't have this phobia at the start of my game, I really don't think I'm biased in being so scares by it. However, if you already have a fear of open water, I don't know if you'll be able to stomache floating around in the abyss, with the surface and the ocean floor totally out of view…

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