Sunless Sea Review: Horror and Adventure On Fallen London's Unterzee

Fanghawk

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Feb 17, 2011
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Sunless Sea Review: Horror and Adventure On Fallen London's Unterzee

Failbetter Games' Sunless Sea will make you eat your crew members and come back for seconds.

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Fasckira

Dice Tart
Oct 22, 2009
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Its hugely unforgiving and it is insanely frustrating when you get so close to a port but fall short or get nailed by some passing pirate. The "inheritance" feature is kind of nice but coupled with the loss of map information and so on, its not enough to take the sting out of death.

It really could do with some more ambient music too... there are too many long periods where its complete silence for my tastes.
 

maximalist566

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Jan 10, 2012
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Sunless Sea is great. Not perfect, but if you are interested in story you can overlook the flaws. So you can skip couple of Evolve DLC and get a better game =)
 

Fanghawk

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Feb 17, 2011
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slo said:
Beware: the text is small and there's no way to make it bigger yet.
If it strains your eyes to read it, you won't be able to play.
Didn't have a problem on my end, but I was playing on a lower-resolution monitor. Turning down the resolution may be a good workaround until HD fonts can be added.
 

prismaticcrow

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Nov 21, 2014
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I've been enjoying it so far, but its definitely a slower-paced kind if game. 99% quiet seafaring and reading, 1% butt-clenching tension.
 

raankh

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Nov 28, 2007
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Once you get a hang of the money part (ie. how to get lots of it) the game kind of shifts focus towards upgrading your mansion. Ultimately, that's how most (even all I believe) win conditions appear.

It reminds me of old storytelling card games from the 90's with a bit of Pirates! and Cthulhu by Gaslight in equal measures.

If it had tied together all the mechanics and had the sea-faring bit tie in to the portside bit, it would have been stellar. I'm having a lot of fun, but I do wish there where more options for gameplay that tie in to the storytelling.
 

Product Placement

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Jul 16, 2009
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I played the beta quite allot, back when the combat was still turn based, but I grew disinterested after discovering all the stuff that was available to discover (map was also static, at the time) and found that half of all the available questlines were still unfinished.

I have been meaning to get back to trying all the new stuff. They changed up the combat system, the map randomizes when you start a new game and there are several new locations and stories/quests available. All in all, I think these guys at Failbetter did a pretty good job with this game.
 

Elfgore

Your friendly local nihilist
Legacy
Dec 6, 2010
5,655
23
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I'v bought the game and played it for a short while, it isn't what I expected. I'd thought it be very similar to Rogue Legacy or Binding of Isaac. Where I can just jump in, get as far as I can go, and die. This game is a lot deeper than I expected and I will return when I have more time to learn all the little bits to it.

What I did play was pretty fun though. Killed a crab only to be killed by a shark with a bondage fetish, all while being over half hull.
 

Scarim Coral

Jumped the ship
Legacy
Oct 29, 2010
18,157
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I am somewhat tempted to put this on my wishlist. The game look interesting enough to played but on the other hand I can easily see myself being frustrated to death by it!
 

Frankster

Space Ace
Mar 13, 2009
2,507
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Sunless Sea is worth a look and I enjoyed my time with it, though had a number of personal niggles which I felt weakened the game:

Slow progression, especially when trying to upgrade your starting boat, which couples with the second sucky design element of the game: ships move slowly, which might be great for atmosphere but when you're going through waters you already know well and returning back to London for plot related reasons only to have to sail back to a colony in the east, you'll be wishing for some sort of speed up button or even instant teleport.

Personally I got no shame in admitting using cheat engine to give me monies and get the 2nd ship asap, made the game a lot more enjoyable, ultimately I knew what to do to make money, I just don't find sailing to x place to buy stuff, then coming back to london to sell, repeat practically infinity, very fun especially as this game is meant to be more about exploration then playing trader.

Monster variety is very low, from trailer I expected this game to be filled to the brim with horrors of all kinds, events like encountering that giant eye in the sea would be the norm, not the exception.
But it isn't the case, there's less then a dozen different enemy types in total and once you've managed to reach the east at least once, chances are you'll have seen all of them.

There is very few "boss" type enemies and for unusual but scary encounters you can't fight like the eye, I can only think of TWO in the entire game.


Fasckira said:
The "inheritance" feature is kind of nice but coupled with the loss of map information
Just so you know, if you select the correspondent inheritance, your previous captains map gets inherited.

Edit: Game's been patched a few times and seems I wasn't the only one who thought progression was too slow in this game. The first few ship options are now MUCH more reasonable and you can sell your ship in the exchange too (previously you couldn't).

Edit2: I've been playing the game like a noob. If you're trying to make money by trading you're doing it wrong. Fight against your mercantile instincts, this isn't a trading simulation game and is the best way to get bored fast.
 

Shocksplicer

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Apr 10, 2011
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I do quite enjoy Sunless Sea, having bought it several months ago in Early Access at 3am on my Fifth night in a row without sleep. Turns out I occasionally make good decisions while in the grip of insomnia.

Dive on in, Delicious Friends. The water's lovely...
 

raankh

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Nov 28, 2007
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Frankster said:
Personally I got no shame in admitting using cheat engine to give me monies and get the 2nd ship asap, made the game a lot more enjoyable, ultimately I knew what to do to make money, I just don't find sailing to x place to buy stuff, then coming back to london to sell, repeat practically infinity, very fun especially as this game is meant to be more about exploration then playing trader.
Uh, it's a lot easier to just visit places and get story cards. Good story cards (such as Searing Enigma) are worth 1000+ echoes, not to mention the port report themselves are worth a couple hundred from many places, especially from the other end of the map. You can get a townhouse and a new weapon after two or three trips that way. Or a new ship if you prefer, but you'll need a bit more to actually support it.

It must be terribly slow trading for echoes?
 

Fanghawk

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Feb 17, 2011
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raankh said:
Frankster said:
Personally I got no shame in admitting using cheat engine to give me monies and get the 2nd ship asap, made the game a lot more enjoyable, ultimately I knew what to do to make money, I just don't find sailing to x place to buy stuff, then coming back to london to sell, repeat practically infinity, very fun especially as this game is meant to be more about exploration then playing trader.
Uh, it's a lot easier to just visit places and get story cards. Good story cards (such as Searing Enigma) are worth 1000+ echoes, not to mention the port report themselves are worth a couple hundred from many places, especially from the other end of the map. You can get a townhouse and a new weapon after two or three trips that way. Or a new ship if you prefer, but you'll need a bit more to actually support it.

It must be terribly slow trading for echoes?
Apparently the game economy is designed so small-scale traders (like the player) can't actually build themselves through buying and selling the same way you can in similar games. Sometimes you can stumble across a lucky find, but most of the time you have to resign yourself to adventuring and resource scarcity.
 

Frankster

Space Ace
Mar 13, 2009
2,507
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Fanghawk said:
raankh said:
Frankster said:
Personally I got no shame in admitting using cheat engine to give me monies and get the 2nd ship asap, made the game a lot more enjoyable, ultimately I knew what to do to make money, I just don't find sailing to x place to buy stuff, then coming back to london to sell, repeat practically infinity, very fun especially as this game is meant to be more about exploration then playing trader.
Uh, it's a lot easier to just visit places and get story cards. Good story cards (such as Searing Enigma) are worth 1000+ echoes, not to mention the port report themselves are worth a couple hundred from many places, especially from the other end of the map. You can get a townhouse and a new weapon after two or three trips that way. Or a new ship if you prefer, but you'll need a bit more to actually support it.

It must be terribly slow trading for echoes?
Apparently the game economy is designed so small-scale traders (like the player) can't actually build themselves through buying and selling the same way you can in similar games. Sometimes you can stumble across a lucky find, but most of the time you have to resign yourself to adventuring and resource scarcity.
You're both right. Since I wrote that post I've browsed the wikis and the game forums and understand the game a lot more now.
Basically going the trader route (which is how I played my first playthroughs) is the noob trap of this title, besides being the most boring way to play the game, it's also the least profitable (unless you abuse sunlight, apparently there is one cheesy way of making tons of money with it, and you stay in home waters too so 0 risk).

So you're encouraged to pursue plot threads as completing quest chains gives out great rewards.
There are quite a few stories you can't finish with your 1st captain due to low stats which is also why it's good to aim for legacies in each game (another noob trap).

Gonna go edit my post in light of these new discoveries. Basically my own expectations played against me, I tried to play this game. And they just updated the game too with new stories so gonna be starting a fresh playthrough ^^