When I met “Deep Sea Trek”, I was standing on the wreckage of a crashed spaceship. The sea stretched out in all directions and the blue water sparkled in the sun like fine diamonds. Standing alone in a small escape pod, trying to survive. The method is not to build an escape raft as in other games, but to dive into the depths of the ocean and explore what is strolling under a calm surface. When the first job was released in 2018, what I saw was a colorful and fascinating game world with incredible sound design. That was still one of my favorite moments in the game, diving into the water and witnessing what developer Unknown Worlds created. Both the design and the soundtrack exceed expectations, and the survival game performs well for its purpose, too. The water, food, and new equipment gained through exploration keep the balance and fuel the experience.
Few other games have made me love the gaming world as successfully as “Deep Sea Trek.” So can the long-awaited sequel “Deep Sea Trek: Below Zero” rival its successful predecessors and compete with one of them? The simple answer is yes. In this new adventure, we play Robin Ayou, a heterogeneous biologist, who wants to know where the sister went who disappeared without a trace.
The game plays out in a dramatic way that I really think you should experience for yourself. Once you land on this icy and snowy planet, your journey will begin and you will also spend some time on land. In the previous work, the land area was very small and sparse. To deal with this part, some new vehicles, like hovercraft, can block creatures and spy penguins that want to devour you. Quoting “Star Wars” Qui-Gang King: “There is always a bigger fish out there.” The fish can get very big here, and even the game will bring some horror. Some land carnivores are also huge and difficult to avoid.
On the other hand, the spy penguin is very interesting to use, and some creatures cannot be approached if you do not bring food to feed them (of course you cannot walk in person). For example, to make winter clothes, you need to use robots to pluck fur from angry beasts that look like wolves. Then, you need to stand behind a rock at some distance, operate the little penguin robot to climb on this creature and start to carefully pull its fur. You can also mix penguin robots with live penguins. When I use the term “penguin”, I have to be careful with him, because their mouths are full of fangs and they look a little different visually. However, they are fun to catch as bait and throw them. I don’t know why this is done, but casting penguins in video games should have iconic meaning ~
When you finally enjoy the game’s beautiful world enough and start thinking about survival, there are some new gameplay mechanics for reference. Water, oxygen, and food are no longer the only things to consider in ice and snow. The cold is not so noticeable underwater, but the problem is after landing. You can make some hot drinks, food, and gear to deal with the weather. From hail to rainy meteorites, the range of climatic changes is very wide. As the cold has little effect when moving underwater, there is no integration into vehicle upgrades. If you have to think about where and how to move underwater, it should be interesting.
I have nothing to complain about new things. They should add new and exciting content so that the game is not monotonous. I also think that the new stories take up enough space and provide free exploration. The environment is fascinating for its diversity. I don’t want to reveal too much here, so you can experience it for yourself. However, whether you prioritize the story or simply explore the game, the journey will take you throughout the game world. To do this, you need a place where you can store your items. You have a laptop, just like the previous game, where you can change what you are wearing and read information about scanned monsters and plants. This is a system that works well here, allowing you to pause or continue playing the game through the menu. You can also read news connecting the two games.
As a game, “Under Zero” is a shorter adventure than its predecessors. It was originally an expansion pack, but has now been turned into a standalone game. If you have played other games of this type, you will recognize them. The biggest difference is that you won’t kill in the same way as other games. Exploration is more important than other things, and this work is driven by a clear plot. On the surface, it is not as wide as its predecessor, but it has better verticality. More different environments are stacked. I think it’s better, although you won’t be too afraid to stray too far from the base this way. For those of you who have played the game above, you may remember the uncomfortable feeling of being in a strange place and just a few miles from base. If you go too far in the sequel, the sea truck is at least equivalent to the submarine. This is your mobile headquarters, with everything you need. You can also load your mechanical suit in one of the cars.
Depending on your focus, the game can take anywhere from 12 to 40 hours. On the other hand, there is a lot to explore, and base building and other things will definitely extend playtime for many people. In the process of my experience, I hardly found any errors. If you want to delve into a new underwater adventure this year, this will be a great value-for-money option. It feels familiar, a bit compact, with interesting land elements and lots of time to swim. Although the game wants you to follow the story line, this part is not the highlight. Instead, if you dive below the surface for the first time, you will be drawn to the extremely rare but enchanting underwater world covered in ice and snow.
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