As a fan who has been diligently waiting for the release of No Man’s Sky, I can say with confidence that from what I have played so far, the game is fun. It has been a long road for Sean Murray and Hello Games, receiving many uplifting and encouraging words while also being ridiculed for delaying the game. No Man’s Sky has a lot of things going for it. Although far from perfect, the space exploration game delivers on many fronts.
Right from the get go you are thrown into a procedurally generated planet, left to repair your ship and then allowed to explore the galaxy. In the beginning, to say I was overwhelmed was an understatement. When you realize that there is an endless space to explore, you feel a bit rushed and taken back. However once you get lost in a fantasy into the worlds around you, the game becomes a sci-fi dream. After you repair your ship, you then can lift off and begin your journey. Flying the ship feels good and landing and taking off is something that feels very smooth and natural. The weapons equipped to your ship are typical, you have a phase beam to cut down material and a cannon to shoot down enemy hostiles, but get the job done. After getting the necessary upgrades to properly maneuver your ship through space, you set out to discover new planets, specimens and more.
I quickly learned that one of the most important things about No Man’s Sky is that you need resources to do just about anything in the game. Mining and gathering all of these resources, and that also requires inventory management. This is something that needs some work. I was constantly going off planet to the nearest space station to sell and create more room for resources. It started to become a chore more than a game. To gather all of these resources you are equipped with a handy little multi tool that can either serve as a mining device or weapon to fend off sentinels. Your ship also serves as a second inventory space, however that too gets filled quickly. There are also upgrades to create new inventory slots, although when you are in a system with six planets and tons of resources, it barely helps. However this is not something that is game breaking, just something that needs to be improved upon. If I did not have to worry about flying off planet every time minutes to create more room in my inventory, I would have more time to explore and enjoy the game.
What was game breaking was the few times the game crashed on me. One time at about the two hour mark the game just completely froze. I had to restart my console in order to keep going, but by that time I had become uninterested to play anymore at the time. I have only experienced a few crashes while playing, but the one I just mentioned was the worst.
Moving on from the negatives, let’s look at the things that Hello Games just absolutely nailed. This game is a wonderland of exploration and discovery. You take off out of your space station, and fly into a nearby planet. When you land you receive some information about the planet, prompting you to take in consideration the climate and sentinel activity to properly plan your next move. You then turn around and spot some creature you have never seen before, document your findings and name the specimen whatever you want. There is a wealth of undiscovered ancient ruins, plant life, creatures and alien history to pick apart. And it is all yours for the finding. Every time I land on a planet I feel a slight rush of excitement to quickly hop out of my ship and check out the local wildlife. Sometimes the planet is barren, and in some instances I witnessed massive animals that tower over me. Hopping from planet to planet is always a slightly new experience. Although the planets can reciprocate similarities among themselves, each new planet is a new discovery.
Maybe the thing I like most about No Man’s Sky is that it is a relaxing game that I can sit back, and just enjoy. There are some tense moments, whether it be fighting off hostile space ships, or trying to make my way back to my ship before the toxic rain tears through my suit. A majority of the time I was calm and just eager to continue on to the next planet and to make my next discovery.
Another interesting aspect of the game was the different alien races you encounter along the way. You mostly meet these aliens in trade posts, space stations or in structures on the different planets. Sometimes you will be given certain responses to either increase or decrease your standing with the certain alien race, and even small puzzles to uncover the whereabouts of nearby alien structures. Although the conversations and interactions get somewhat repetitive, it is still interesting to come by these characters in the game. My favorite part of the alien races was that on each planet you can uncover more secrets about each race and even learn their respective languages. So the next time you speak with an alien you begin to understand what they are telling you.
The story for No Man’s Sky is vague and is explained throughout the game. However you can choose to either follow the story, travel to the center of the galaxy or just explore freely. Either way, you will have plenty to do and see. There are some secrets out there that I have come across that have been very fun to uncover. Although it takes some time to get there, it is worth it. Each new system you arrive at is a new opportunity to learn about the world you are in. I have not even been to the center of the galaxy yet, but I do not think that is what the game is about. I think the game is about going into the unknown, and to experience something new each time you set foot on a new planet.
To sum it all up, No Man’s Sky is fun and endless. There is no end to the game and there is no set way to play it. You decide on how to play and what to do next. The player creates their own story and deciphers their own path into the galaxy. Warping from system to system creates a feeling of uncertainty and excitement all explorers should feel. No Man’s Sky does a fantastic job of capturing that feeling and channeling it through each planet, or each new discovery.
+ Wealth of things to do
+ In depth upgrade system
+ Fluid controls
+ Fun and relaxing gameplay
+ Beautiful to look at
– Frustrating Inventory management
– Technical hiccups
– Very niche audience
No Man’s Sky is an ambitious game that shines in more areas than not. Although far from perfect and maybe not for everyone, No Man’s Sky shoots for the moon and lands among the stars.