For months, the developers at Unknown Worlds have been working on the story of Subnautica: Below Zero and we now have a new update to dive into. Back in November 2019, after adding new writer, Jill Murray, to the team, they announced that changes to the story were going to be implemented. The Deep Dive and Lost Ship updates saw many interesting developments being made, but now it’s time for the big one: the Frostbite update. There is a lot to unpack in this version from the long-awaited new story to cleaner graphics. It should be noted that previous saves are now unplayable. A warning does pop up in the menu to warn players of this.
Warning! Spoilers ahead!
New Story Introduction: In the latest Subnautica: Below Zero update, we have a new story introduction to play through. The original version of the story saw us already on Planet 4546B when events began to unfold, but in the new update we begin in a pod, attempting to dodge a meteor shower and crash landing on the planet. Not only has the introduction been changed, but the overall story seems to have been altered too. Sam is no longer up in the Vesper communicating with us, but is now missing and presumed dead, leading to Robin embarking on a mission to find her. At the moment, it looks like all the other previous story elements are still there including Al-An and Marguerit Maida.
Graphics: This update contains quite a few graphic improvements. The Glacial Basin has been reworked, with more on the surface to find and explore. Other biomes like the Thermal Vents and Lilypad Connection have also undergone some detail changes, with the overall appearance looking much more polished and vibrant. As well as the improvements made to the biomes, the text on our PDA is now that little bit clearer.
Additional Items: The developers really are treating us with this update, adding in various items that will help us to survive. One of the most interesting additions are the Quantum lockers. These units may be a game changer when it comes to storage. With the Quantum Lockers, we can store things inside them, and create a second Quantum Locker wherever we are to access everything we placed in the first one. Along with the lockers, we can also use beacons on the surface. These work in the same way that the regular beacons do.
Gameplay: As well as the new items, the Frostbite update has also introduced new gameplay aspects. We now have status indicators on our tool avatars that will display how much battery charge we have left in them. The Glacial Basin and the Arctic Spires now contain ore veins for all our crafting needs, and we can make snowballs to distract the Snowstalkers. Snowballs also provide a new source of water, and can be used with water purification tablets to top up our hydration.
New Survival Mechanism: The previous versions of Subnautica: Below Zero have included some form of hypothermia, but now we have a metre on our HUD that indicates when we’re beginning to freeze. The weather now also gradually transitions, making it easier to see when a snow storm is on the way.
Creatures: It wouldn’t be a Subnautica game without terrifying monsters, and in this update, the Ice Worm animations have been improved. They don’t just hunt us anymore, but will also go after Snowstalkers if the furry creatures get too close.