Very Quick Tips: Subnautica: Below Zero

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Catherine Le Nevez
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A Getting Started Guide for New and Old Subnautica Players

Whether you're diving into Subnautica: Below Zero fresh out of the original game or hoping to shake off the rust, here are some tips to get you started on this new standalone adventure.

Some of these tips will seem obvious to experienced Subnautica players, but it's good to have a reminder. To that end, I've also included article-specific wiki links to learn more.

  • Below Zero is a sequel to Subnautica, and it's a standalone game, not an expansion. That said, you don't need to have played the first game to enjoy it. In fact, I think some players might even prefer Below Zero if they find Subnautica's (sometimes) very open structure too overwhelming. The core gameplay is the same in both games, and most crafting materials, recipes, and tools are one-on-one, but Below Zero has a more compact map and generally clearer story progression.
  • Another recurring question: how scary is it? Honestly, Below Zero isn't as intimidating as Subnautica. There are some weird beasts, don't get me wrong, but they're not as ungodly as some of the creatures in the last game. The Reaper Leviathans are out.
  • It is important to choose the right mode. Different people will want different things from Below Zero, especially those of us who have limitations with survival genre tropes. Survival mode might be more than you bargained for, while Creative mode might be too easy as it gives you full access to all blueprints. For me, Freedom Mode strikes a nice balance with temperature and oxygen constraints to maintain pressure minus the hunger and thirst mechanics. If you're ready for Hardcore mode, more power for you.

  • A big part of the appeal of the Subnautica series is mapping out your surroundings. There's no in-game map or even mini-map to lean on – other than landmarks like your central Drop Pod, it's all in your head. At some point, you might feel the urge to check out a player-created map image, but I'd resist the temptation as long as you can.
  • Each biome has its own resources for crafting and scannable parts to unlock blueprints, although there is some overlap. As such, it's worth paying attention to (and keeping the extras at home for your future self). Below Zero has a new handheld tool called the Mineral Detector which is really useful for visually busy areas like cave systems.
  • Don't forget to take a beacon with you before heading into the deep unknown. It's less of a tip for you, and more of a nagging reminder for me. I need a checklist!

  • Below zero, you can pin crafting recipes to your HUD so you don't have to double-check for materials you still need.. On PC, you can press Tab to open your PDA, switch to the Blueprints section, then click on the recipes you want to pin. There is also a “Detach All” button located at the top of this list of Blueprints.
  • Where the hell are the diamonds? This walkthrough from YouTuber ChemicalApes shows a great source (not too deep or too dangerous) in the Twisty Bridges biome.
  • If the battery of your tool is exhausted, you can exchange it. On PC, simply equip the tool with the corresponding number key, press the R key to view your current batteries, and use the mouse wheel to replace a fresh battery. You can also use this same method to discharge batteries, which will come in handy once your base has a battery charger.

  • Wasn't convinced I needed the air bladder, but it's super helpful. Compared to the sprawling, uncomfortably deep ocean of Subnautica, Below Zero's icy waters are more...compressed. Early in the game, when the Seaglide is your best transport option, the Air Bladder can do a lot of heavy lifting as a panic button when you're low on oxygen. It allows you to dive just deep enough to make discoveries out of reach.
  • The Cyclops submarine is not below zero, but the Prawn Suit returns, and in place of the small Seamoth there is a new Seatruck modular ship. The sooner you can get the Mobile Vehicle Bay to craft the Seatruck, the better. Although I had a lot of uses for the exosuit in Subnautica, I have to say that I never felt like I needed the shrimp costume in Below Zero.
  • For ground crossing there is also a new hoverbike called Snowfox. It's a bit hit and miss, and I found myself constantly fixing it, but it's crucial later on.
  • Your body temperature is a problem when you're on land, but don't worry too much. You can regain some heat by eating a Hot Pepper, escaping the elements in a cave for a while, standing near a steam vent or heat lily, or jumping into the ocean. Lots of options! Come to think of it, I never needed the Cold Suit.

  • Beware of Sea Monkeys - they might grab your tool. You can collect it, but it's easy to lose them in caves when you're low on oxygen and looking for an escape route. Also keep an eye on their nests. They stock a wide range of scannable items.
  • I've generally found the story progression to be much less obtuse in Below Zero, but if you're absolutely stumped with no clues to follow, take this path of progression.. Without spoiling anything in this article, the only thing I will say is that before you go to the deepest and deadliest area in the game, you might want to search for some endgame crafting materials. specialized part so as not to have to make two trips. . Don't even click that link yet. Just keep it in your mind until you feel close to the end.
  • Speaking of which, Below Zero has an ending. There is even a “point of no return”. It took me about 15 hours to see the credits and earn all but one of the achievements.

Below Zero is fully launched today – it's no longer in Early Access – and there's so much to discover.

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