For years, stories about the creatures that lurk within the waters that surround the lands we live within have chilled us. Weird creatures have washed ashore that fueled the imagination and made us wonder just what does lurk in those uninhabitable depths? Then again, the surface of the water can be just as treacherous, with pirates sailing the seven seas in search of booty.
Here's a look at some of the best Xbox One games set in or on the ocean.
Climbing from your tiny life pod to survey your crash landing site, you're greeted with nothing but a wide blue glittering expanse of ocean. And a hulking great spaceship. The world you're about to survive in is alien in both flora and fauna, but also entirely underwater.
As you begin the game with a tiny pod, the last semblance of something normal you can relate to, your tentative pokes into this unfamiliar territory will awaken you to how deep, cold and terrifying, yet strangely beautiful this alien planet can be.While survival crafting games seem plentiful these days, Subnautica takes place entirely underwater, making gameplay a potentially stressful and horrifying experience. Luckily, you can take away some of those elements, giving you the much-needed breathing space to actually play the game. There is even a creative mode, taking away those pesky survival needs such as oxygen and health, and allowing you to plunge into the depths without the fear of sand shark attacks.
By collecting resources and crafting high tech equipment, you will spend far more time below water than above it as you plunge into the depths of the unnatural oceanic world. Not everything in the waters is friendly, and you will have to navigate the depths via a multitude of different underwater biomes with their unique resources and fishy fiends.
As you make progress and navigate further into the seas, you'll piece together the story through PDAs that you find, and begin to learn the deeper narrative of an ancient alien virus that is corrupting everything in the sea. Your task is to heal yourself and get off the planet. In the meantime, you can bunker down in a relatively safe zone, create your underwater base which can be fully powered and oxygenated. You need to grow some food and make a plan, all while not drowning or dying from Sea Emporer exposure.
Subnautica is currently in Game Preview and has made excellent changes over the last year with feedback from the community. Even in this close-to-finished state, it is fun, scary and one well worth putting some time into.
Subnautica costs $19.99.
This short first-person survival horror puts you in the diving boots of another survivor, this time of an underwater drilling accident. Forgetting everything learned in training, you embark on your journey to get to the surface and rescue others while discovering you are the only survivor. Coming across the bodies of your co-workers or stressful situations causes your heart rate to skyrocket, depleting your precious oxygen even faster.
Narcosis keeps the survival element simple, making oxygen the only resource you need to keep topped up, and you'll be hoping a refill lies around every dark corner. Visibility is dim, keeping tensions high and surprise seaquakes will shake the player as much as your character. A surprising narrative twist will keep you going through to the end, and leave you wanting more, but a second replay with more experienced eyes never hurts (unless you get kicked in the face by a giant spider crab.)
Narcosis is $19.99.
Continuing its historical science fiction conspiracy theory, Assassins Creed Black Flag takes place in the Eighteenth Century Caribbean. Raise your sails as Captain Edward Kenway, a man aligned with neither side in the Templars and Assassins war. Perhaps because of this, you are treated to a story that feels it has a wider sense of depth, as you're more easily able to see both sides of the story as it goes on around you.
The pirate theme hasn't been raided much for stereotypes either, giving the famous pirates who pop up within the story a lot more character and credibility. Black Flag's Caribbean locale is enormous, with dozens of different places to visit. You can jump from your ship, dive to the shore in search of treasure all while basking in the sound of cannons firing from the distance, and get back to the ship again easily enough when you're ready to go back into the battle.
Underwater segments create tense experiences as you swim to avoid sharks and hunt for treasure with diminishing air supplies. Spending a lot of time on the open seas, your ship is an excellent vessel for your seafaring on a moody sea that constantly changes. The good sea battle mechanics from Assassins Creed 3 have been streamlined and improved for Black Flag. After you have incapacitated a ship, you can plunder it for valuables, break it for parts to mend your own ship, or add it to your fleet.
Assassins Creed: Black Flag is $29.99.
Song of the Deep is a Metroidvania action-adventure indie game made by Insomniac Games, creators of Sunset Overdrive. In this game, you play as a young girl called Merryn who is on a quest into the deep unknown in search of her father. After she has a nightmare of him being trapped underwater, she builds a submarine and sets off to find him.
Set in a gorgeous underwater world, Merryn mans the rickety submarine and takes it into the depths where she finds treasures and parts to upgrade her sub so she can go deeper. While the simple nauticle art style may make you think this game is for kids, the ramp in difficulty after the opening levels shows you what a Metroidvania game can be, with its challenges and puzzles.
Song of the Deep is $14.99.
On the surface, Ark is a land survival game and the majority of players will tend to keep well to the less wet side of life. The waters in Ark are filled with monsters, but they can be tamed and claimed for your own. Unfortunately, you can't keep your sea critters in your land base, so you'll have to get creative with the water. If you're dedicated to the sea cause, you can create a base any way you like with the crafting menus, so long as you have the materials.
Most players tend to be high level as they've spent a long time crafting the pieces they need and taming the animals, so put your time to better use and build a base on the water. The land is a precious commodity in Ark, and starting off at low levels means everyone is in everyone else's space for base making. No one builds on the water because they're too scared. But you're not. You're going to build the biggest water base there is and house a hundred Megalodon inside it. Right?
Ark: Survival Evolved is $59.99. (DLC costs are additional.)
Did we miss a nautical themed game that absolutely must be on this list? Let us know in the comments, matey.
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