WARNING: Spoilers are unmarked.
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- Managing to scan a Reaper Leviathan, one of the deadliest and most horrific creatures in the game, and escaping alive. The unnamed survivor from Lifepod 4 apparently accomplished this without even a stasis rifle on hand.PDA: Motivational note: Congratulations on getting close enough to scan it and living to see the results!
- The PRAWN Suit, an undersea walker capable of withstanding pressures up to 900m without upgrades. Not only that, its arms can be replaced with useful implements ranging from telekinetic beams to torpedo launchers. As if that wasn't enough, the PDA states that PRAWN pilots must undergo weeks of training to counteract the feeling of limitless power one gets from using the suit, and the protagonist manages to get by with nothing but their own self-discipline.
- The game really doesn't encourage it, but any creature can be killed. And yes, this does include taking down Reaper, Ghost, and Sea Dragon Leviathans with anything from a PRAWN suit with a drill arm to your dinky little knife, and better still, they don't respawn so you're rewarded with never having to worry about them again.
- One of the most dramatic methods is a Prawn Suit equipped with a grappling hook arm and either a drill or just a bare fist. Fire the hook and latch onto your target. The creature's AI will completely lose its shit and it will thrash about wildly, even leaving its normal habitat if it can in an attempt to escape you, all while you hang off of its side and continue punching or drilling it. Correctly done, even the Reaper and Sea Dragon will be too occupied trying to shake you off to properly attack your suit.
- The protagonist (a man with no previous experience piloting submarines) managing to operate the Cyclops - a vessel designed to be operated by a 3-man crew - all by himself. The PDA outright states this should only be attempted by the most veteran of pilots, and he does it on his first try.
- Your first face-to-face with the Sea Emperor Leviathan goes from heart stopping to outright awe inspiring once you realize it isn't hostile, and that she's the creature that's been talking to you for some time."Are you here to play?"
- When the Precursor Bases were first added to experimental, the community immediately started digging around, discovered all data downloads related to the bases, and plotted the locations of all the bases in less than an hour.
- Marguerit Maida's (presumed) Dying Moment of Awesome, riding out with a seaglide and a piece of scrap to kill the Reaper that destroyed her seabase. The last Paul saw her, she had the scrap lodged in its neck and wasn't letting go despite its best efforts.
- Getting aboard the Aurora and sealing the leaking drive module that is hemorrhaging radiation. This requires the player to have found the blueprints for and built a number of tools to remove obstacles aboard the damaged ship, braved radiation and edged perilously close to areas frequented by Reaper Leviathans, fought their way past Cave Crawlers, and finally braved the Bleeder-infested waters of the flooded drive core to repair the Aurora's damaged engines. It is a major early to mid-game accomplishment, frees up the player's exploration by no longer requiring the radiation suit, and averts an ecological catastrophe.
- Honestly, the entire game is a giant CMOA if you think about it. The player character, a glorified janitor on a spaceship, crash-lands and survives where the rest of the crew went down. And starting with nothing more than a damaged escape pod and their PDA, they manage to build bases, document strange creatures, cure a bio-plague, and get off the planet and back to safety with a rocket they made themselves. Pretty well done for a janitor.
- Adding one more bit of awesome? The bio-plague that gets cured during the course of the game also means humanity now has a lead on a way to halt the spread of the Kharaa bacterium-based aliens in Natural Selection 2, which shares a universe with Subnautica. That janitor managed to help stop an interstellar war, knowingly or not!
- Youtuber IGP colonized the Crater's Edge seabed. Almost 100% legitimately, no less, with all of the base put together using resources gathered in Survival Mode. And he did this while under constant attack from the Ghost Leviathans, just because one of his viewers said there was a bottom down there to explore.
Subnautica: Below Zero
- The sequel confirms that, thanks to Ryley curing the bio-plague, life on 4546B is now flourishing again and the environment is recovering rapidly.
- Remember Margeurit's Dying Moment of Awesome? Scratch the "Dying" part - this game shows that she both survived and killed the Reaper with only four minutes of oxygen to spare. She then rode the corpse after it floated to the surface as a raft, kept herself warm by burning its limited body fat, ate its tough muscle meat for food, and survived with three liters of fresh water to drink until it drifted up to the arctic pole where she could build a livable habitat. All of this while presumably being infected with the Kharaa that killed her fellow shipmates. To seal her complete victory over the beast, its bones now decorate the main room of her seabase.
- Shutting off Alterra's Communications Tower, ending the amoral mega-corp's surveillance for this area of the planet. Both Margeurit and Al-An compliment you on it, and the former allows you full access to her base and greenhouse as thanks.
- Curing the infected Frozen Leviathan. It's not even required to finish the game, but doing it fulfills the mission Sam gave her life for, gives Robin some closure, and ensures that Kharaa is well and truly purged from 4546B.
- Just reaching the Fabricator Base counts, since to get there you have to run a gauntlet of Shadow Leviathans, the most tenacious, aggressive and dangerous enemies in the series thus far. Then you have to run that gauntlet again because there's no handy teleporter gate to send you back to the surface.
- Similarly, the entire fabrication scene. You put in batches of materials to make each component one at a time, as AL-AN finally explains his entire backstory and role in 4546B's history, all while the soundtrack grows more elaborate and optimistic with every completed component. And then you're rewarded for your efforts with the sight of an incredibly-advanced alien being reborn right before your eyes.
- By the end of the game, Robin Ayou, an aspiring alien researcher, has scoured a planet for alien artifacts, had extensive interviews with an alien intelligence living in her skull, and constructed a new body for him, effectively bringing him back from the dead. She even gets a turn using Architect cybernetic technology, right before taking a first-class ticket to their homeworld.