It’s very disappointing when you are craving more of a game but there’s just one of the title on the market. Steam offers you a chance to look up similar games in the same way that Amazon gives us the “customers who bought this also bought…” but sometimes, we just want more of that one game. I refer to Subnautica. I loved that game. I’m not kidding: I think back to that game with such fondness. Both times I played it, I found myself engrossed… dare I say, it was an immersive experience. I am aware of the sequel but it’s still in pre-release and I don’t want to taint the experience by playing a game that isn’t ready. As it happens, that was what originally happened with Subnautica and I almost gave up and never looked back. But when you look online, one of the games that comes up as similar is Empyrion: Galactic Survival. I shrugged, said the heck with it, and bought it. I mean the ships look great and I love a star chart!
Eleon Game Studios has certainly piqued my interest and I get the impression that the game is well and truly vast. To complete the tutorial alone has taken me multiple attempts. It’s very evidently a BIG game but it has one thing going against it: it has a massive learning curve. The graphics are a bit clunky too but when a tutorial can take up an entire single player campaign, someone should rethink what’s needed. Subnautica dropped you into the deep end, and with very little tutorial, short of plenty of references to read if you chose to, the game gently pushed the player from A to B to C before you realized how to continue along through the alphabet. Empyrion: Galactic Survival is a bit different. For instance, I made the mistake of disassembling a disabled ship on the surface near my landing site only to discover that it was part of the tutorial and with it disassembled, I had no way to complete the mission. I had to restart. This sort of thing plagued my experience over and over again. In other words, the tutorial is going to bring you from A, to B, to C, to D, to E… to X, to Y, to Z before letting you roam freely. Well, that might not be the way many players want to experience a world. I know I was dying to dive in and explore but the tutorial made it where doing so was going to hinder my gameplay.
That said, there is a feeling that I could explore on an utterly epic level! In the tutorial alone, I discovered a downed ship and, though it was part of what was expected, I had the idea that there would be lots of randomly generated things to find. There are also different land masses and terrains which was something Subnautica didn’t really have. Oh, there was land but the bulk of the game takes place underwater and you spend the time in a small, one-man craft. This is way bigger, and the fact that you can go off-world really improves the chances to find something stunning so the diversity is there. You also have weapons to help fend off the monsters. There were dinosaur like creatures and giant spiders that attacked me; the latter definitely wanted to be destroyed. There also seems to be a massive amount that you can build. But that opened up another problem….
In Subnautica, there were some very distinctive looking tools, resources, and other objects. They stood out enough to be clearly different but the volume wasn’t so vast that one could get lost in the mix. I was asked to build a generator and had to go through multiple menus to find it and the parts were just largely amorphous masses. Trying to locate what I needed became tedious very quickly.
Now, with all that said, this game is still being updated and it does have a lot of what I want in a game, so I think it’s a question of giving it more time to get more updates, but I think the developers needed to work out a bit more before they released it. In the case of Subnautica, the game was in pre-release when I first got it, but I knew that going into it. I bought Empyrion in September of 2020; the game was released in August, just a month earlier. I think they should have waited a little longer to release it because with a few more tweaks, maybe it can do more than compare; maybe it can leave the water world behind! As it stands, it gets great reviews. It’s also very colorful and vibrant looking. And consider this: I’ve spent 6 hours in the tutorial before I decided to put it on hold. That makes me wonder: how many hours could you get out of the whole game? Considering retail value is $20, I’m going to say the bang for buck is there!
Of course, it’s unfair to compare any game against another. Every game deserves a chance in its own rights. The thing is, we use online reviews to see what other games are are out there similar to the ones we like. Quake, Half-Life and Unreal are very different games with very different physics, but they are all of a similar vein. They can be compared. Empyrion: Galactic Survival is supposedly like Subnautica in that it offers a chance to explore and build in a vast world. Can it compare? Well, I do expect to go back to this world to explore again and maybe like Subnautica, I’ll be very happy to have done so. The newest footage is giving me hope. I feel the call of exploration and the lure of space…
For now, take a look at the trailer and see what you think. And share your thoughts if you’ve played it. I could use the input! ML