IMBACORE' Let's Play Sunless Sea

[January 2, 2015 UPDATE: Modified the original post to include my most recent installments—Parts 6 and 7—to the series.]

[UPDATE: Modified the original post to include my most recent installments to the series and the reasons why I bought this game.]

I read Lovecraft’s Shadow over Innsmouth early this year and since then I’ve been trying to find video games that can recreate that palpable atmosphere that HP successfully wove in that novella. There’s Call of Cthulhu but I’ve heard it crashes big time and that the save system is abysmal.

I’m also a fan of the 2.5D space trading game Transcendence so imagine my glee when I found this gem of a game. I decided to make a Let’s Play and wasn’t disappointed. Cracking stuff!

And oh did I mention I used to be a Ravenloft player too? I swear to the gods of gaming, the atmosphere in this game parallels the in-game graphics option I’ve set it to: it’s sublime.

Here’s my series:

(Click here for the entire Let’s Play Sunless Sea series:

Part 1: Starting Out. Zeeward ho!!

Part 1 - Where we’ve dropped anchor at Wolfstack Docks and scrutinize the game’s manifold tabs and study what game mechanics the game has to offer. We then weigh anchor and go &quotzeeward.&quot

Part 2: A Secluded Keep. Ravenous Bats. An Effulgent Monstrosity.

Part 2 - Where we enjoy (?) the hospitality of three reclusive sisters who live in a keep dominating an island, kill swarms of bats, do battle with a &quotauroral megalops&quot—a luminescent crab of titanic proportions, and limp home to Fallen London to tell the tale.

Part 3: An Audience with the Mummified First Curator of Venderbight’s Tomb-Colony

Part 3 - Where we hunt bat swarms in a desperate bid to bring sustenance for our starving zailors. Here we also drop anchor at the tomb colony of Venderbight and bask in the unsettling presence of the ailing and mummified First Curator, who sets us &quotsilk-skins&quot off on a quest for &quotcolors.&quot

Part 4 - Fuel and Supplies Run Out! The Headsman’s Axe Falls. Fate’s Tides Come Sweeping In

Part 4 - Where this particular run ends. We run out of supplies, Sethra Bruhn resorts to ordering her crew to cannibalize the ranks and on top of all that, we run out of fuel.

So goes Sethra Bhrun, poet and captain extraordinaire. May the sapphire-hued depths of Fallen London grant her the peace that was so lacking in her brief existence traversing the vast expanse of the Unterzee. May Salt gather her shade’s vessel in his arms as gently as the waters had lapped over and claimed her ship; bridge, forecastle, bowsprit and all.

Part 5: Cat-and-Mouse Naval Skirmishes!

Part 5 - Where we start another playthrough, play cat-and-mouse with the inhabitants of the Unterzee, and nearly run out of fuel, docking at a friendly port with 0 fuel left!

Part 6 - Our Fortunes Turn. Fate Scowls. A Maiden Smiles.

Part 6 - Where things start to look up! We nearly died at sea the last time, our ship drifting the last few kilometers—its tanks devoid of fuel—to make landfall at a port where we manged to buy several casks of the precious liquid. In this video, we also finally manage to find Gaider’s Mourn, gain an audience with the admiral at Fallen London, nearly lose to a pinnace crewed by crack pirates, and hire a handsome woman to be the chief engineer of our vessel.

Part 7 - Lost Once Again!

Part 7 - Where we get lost once again but find the Salt Lions, two titanic monuments made of basalt that’s being taken down by a swarm of workers. Also, our first encounter with a Jillyfleur! We take down the monster but not before it eats up eight of our vessel’s hit points!

Part 8 - Diamond Update!

Part 8 - Massive update! Here, we start anew to try out &quotYour Father’s Bones,&quot one of the major story arcs in Sunless Sea!

Part 9: A Cannoneer Lends Us His Services, a Tomb-Colonist Gives Us Her Head

Part 9 - Where we further explore the Diamond update, witness a bizarre decapitation, and hire the services of an irrepressible cannoneer!

Let’s Play Sunless Sea Part 10 - Sunless Sea Tutorial

Part 10 - Where we start a new game to check out the new Sunless Sea tutorial.

I wish more devs would be as ballsy as you guys are in pushing out innovative games that really does put the control in the player’s hand (even with minimalistic, non-3D graphics that still do not take away from the atmosphere yet in some surreal away, even add to the almost tangible ambience of the game).

edited by IMBACORE on 1/2/2015
[i]edited by IMBACORE on 1/9/2015

[i]edited by IMBACORE on 1/12/2015

edited by IMBACORE on 1/29/2015

Made another runthrough. I logged into the game again and was met with this (I posted this on the Steam forums someone has yet to reply to it):

&quotAn update has moved your port&quot?
I took a screenshot of it and posted it on my Facebook page for my YouTube page:

What is that?

Also when I pressed &quotYes&quot the screen re-centered on where my ship was but this time around the &quotShops&quot tab is grayed out.

What gives?
edited by IMBACORE on 12/22/2014
edited by IMBACORE on 12/22/2014

It happens when Failbetter make slight adjustments to the map, wherever you are you get relocated to the Dawn Machine. When you press yes to go to London you are not docked so need to dock.

Ah. Thanks! I didn’t spot the &quotDock&quot button. I automatically assumed the vessel was.

Added Part 5 by the way, that’s the video just before the Dawn Machine &quotglitch.&quot

Added Parts 6 and 7.

What I don’t like the game at the moment is the fuel mechanic. It forces you to follow an “optimal path” just so you can get through the early phases of the game. It kind of defeats the open world exploration feature, which is one of the greatest strengths of any trading (Freelancer-ish/Elite-ish) game.

I hope the developers will modify this a bit. Maybe introduce a randomly generating map? I think that will entail too much work though.

Aside from this entire “you’ve to follow an optimal path due to the fuel mechanic” bit, I’m enjoying the game. Thumbs up!

I have no problem with the fuel mechanic, it makes for a realistic start to the game and teaches the proper way for a captain to ration their fuel and think about what they should be doing, rather than taking off off full ahead no matter what. Compared to how things were in the beginning, I think the various methods of measuring food, fuel, and terror are reasonably well balanced now.

I don’t have too much of a problem with the fuel mechanic itself either, though I’d like to know the actual numbers for ship weight vs. engine power vs. speed and fuel consumption. I’ve had to tweak routes to avoid Terror more than I’ve had to tweak routes to avoid fuel costs, really. (Then again I’m still refusing to upgrade from starter ship and… the Illyrian, I think?)
edited by Fretling on 1/2/2015

In so far as I can tell, there’s no real difference between the speeds of the engines no matter what ship you’ve got them on, which is one of the things that I like about it, if you started amending the weight of the ship to reflect a fully loaded dreadnought, you’d have to do what they do in real life, and that’s fit something nuclear to keep it running, in this setting, you’d be out on the ocean with nothing but fuel and supplies to keep the ship running, which wouldn’t make for very much fun at all.

Wait, so the &quotship weight&quot number you can see in the shipyard has no independent impact on gameplay? Is this deliberate/intended to be permanent, or might it suddenly be changed in an update?
edited by Fretling on 1/3/2015

[quote=Fretling]Wait, so the &quotship weight&quot number you can see in the shipyard has no independent impact on gameplay? Is this deliberate/intended to be permanent, or might it suddenly be changed in an update?
edited by Fretling on 1/3/2015[/quote]

Don’t know if it’s deliberate or might be changed in an update, but at present, the speed a dread moves with an engine is the same speed as the starter ship, which makes for interesting interactions on surprise attacks under full power.

I’d be very happy if it never changed, as far as mechanics to monitor go, on the one hand it makes the game more realistic, and I’m usually all for that, but the second I have to start actually plotting course and weighing cargo, I do think that making the game too realistic might be a problem in that instance.

Added Part 8

This got solved in the Steam forums. Somebody said the game &quotshuffles&quot the map every time you play a new game. I launched Part 8 because of that claim. I’ll try to see in Part 9 if the game really does rearrange the map.

Thanks man.

Added Part 9

EDIT: [color=rgb(172, 178, 184)]By the way in the last minute of Part 9, I bought a flare. How do I use that?[/color]

[color=rgb(172, 178, 184)]In the latest patch, it says:[/color]

[color=rgb(172, 178, 184)]&quotBoth weapons and usable items now have hotkeys (1-9)&quot[/color]

[color=rgb(172, 178, 184)]But how do I know which hotkey uses what consumable? The toolbar at the middle bottom of the screen is awfully short and contains only a few buttons. [/color]

[color=rgb(172, 178, 184)]Help?[/color]
edited by IMBACORE on 1/12/2015

Added Part 10.

A viewer purchased the game because of my video — makes it all worth the effort. :)