This is a short guide on playing a Hardcore version of Subnautica. It is not designed to address everything, I am assuming you played it on the regular version already. It is designed to answer some questions I have seen, on forums. It will also adress some issues that make hardcore frustrating when it shouldn't be.
Hardcore Playing Guide
What is Hardcore about Hardcore?
- You die!
- You only get one save and that is when you quit the game.
- You do not get a warning when your air gets low.
- You get to keep the Cuddlefish, at the end.
That's about it. The rest of the game is the same as Regular or Normal mode.
Additional answers to questions on forums:
- You still get a warning when food and water gets low.
- As far as I can tell, the health of big bad meanies is still the same. Maybe I will test it out, in the future. But the game is not about killing as a primary defense.
- You don't get any special recognition at the end, except a sense of deep satisfaction.
- I lied about the cuddlefish. Although, I wish we could take him along for the ride.
The Worst Enemy in the Hardcore Game
Glitches have caused me to restart a hardcore game more often than death. Because you only have one save, a glitch, when saved, can mean the end of a game.
Tips for dealing with glitches.
- Save the game when you are in a safe place after an accomplishment or a set amount of time (yes, this means quit the game and restart it. You can just go back to the title screen).
- Save before going into the Aurora. This is where 90% of my glitches happened. Because some areas are tight and there are lots of objects in one place it can be easy to glitch through a ceiling or wall. Also, fire seems to be taxing on older graphics cards and might cause a crash.
- Avoid saving inside a vehicle. Normally loading a save while in the prawn or seamoth will glitch you inside and outside the vehicle. This can often be fixed by exiting and reentering. But why chance it?
One of my Glitches was loading a save while in the prawn inside a building. It hurtled me across the map. The second and third reload just tossed me through the walls. My fourth reload I spammed E to exit the prawn as I "load in" and that worked.
The cyclops seems to be fine. I have noticed that I will pop up and down when I have a menu open, on the bridge. But nothing worse than that.
Note: If you encounter a glitch don't quit the game. Leave the game window, use ALT+Tab or bring up the task manager. Then manually close the program. You will lose any game-time since your last save but it is better than saving the glitch into the game.
These are just suggestions from my own experience.
Prioritize air tank capacity over lighter faster tanks. Speed won't help you find your way out of a wreck or cave. An extra 30 seconds just might help though.
Get the compass, it can help if you get lost in a cave or wreck.
I never used the Pathfinder tool, but if find that you get disoriented often, this might help.
Seriously, now that I think about it, I could have used one in some of those wrecks that have exits hidden behind crates or debris.
Additional options for air:
- Bring an extra air tank with you.
- Carry one or two bladderfish (each fish gives about 15 seconds of air so two is = the basic tank).
Of course get the rebreather.
Go for the speed upgraded fins and skip the charging fins. Speed helps when capacity is not an option.
I always brought the seaglide with me. The extra speed and light source seemed worth the loss of storage space.
Bring 1-2 cured food, 1-2 bottles, and 1 health kit. Carry extra in vehicle storage.
If you have trouble curing food, use gel sacs as food.
Use plants while in the cyclops and base. Save cured food and bottles for exploration.