Hello Games produced a title that was one of the most ambitious things anyone has ever set out to do in gaming before. The question is, did they succeed or not?
I wasn’t exactly sure what to think of No Man’s Sky before it’s release. I knew that the game was supposed to be huge, and that it wanted to create a literal universe of places to explore. What I did not know was what was the point. Why were we doing this? Is there a story to our adventure across the universe or is it just a meaningless procedurally generated journey full of simple reskins and item grinding. Well … its a little of both. Actually a little of one and a lot of another.
Starting off the game was an interesting endeavor because you start off wondering what you are doing there. I started off pretty interested in this premise of waking up on a deserted planet and learning how to survive but I think it was less about how the game presents itself to you and stemmed more from my curiosity about the universe that featured 18 quintillion planets in it. I had so many questions going into the game! Why were we here? What secrets did this universe hold? How would interactions with other players work? Would I need to worry about getting attacked by other pirate players? How long would it take to reach galactic core? The creators of the game told us that there would be a reason to venture to the Galactic Core. What motivation did they have in store for us? I was excited for how they would present a plot in the midst of this vast universe! That being said, I also was concerned about whether or not these questions and curiosities would have satisfying answers. I found that some did have great answers while some expectations fell short.
I’m an optimist so lets actually throw the bad out there first so we can end with the good.
Exploring the various planets of the universe then proved to be a little less than an ideal experience. Don’t get me wrong, it was fun at first but the process gets a little repetitive. The process goes like this.
1.) You land on a new planet
2.) You scan to see what is around.
3.) You find a couple buildings that give you various equipment upgrade blueprints, (assuming you don’t screw up the “puzzle” inside.)
4.) You harvest enough resources to build more warp cores or whatever it is you are trying to create.
5.) You pick up whatever other resources are necessary for your personal goals in the game
6.) You leave and find a new planet/solar system to explore.
For the most part, (Keyword MOST … NOT ALL,) its rinse wash repeat in this fashion
There is a small bit of variety in regards to whether or not you follow the path of the Atlas and how much activity you participate in when you are in outer space. The space stations provide the resources you need to upgrade the exosuit’s limited inventory (so do some of the planet facilities if you are lucky), and you can also can purchase ships from other NPC space travelers here as well. You never really manage to see any other players though so the experience feels much lonelier than you may have initially expected for the game to be. Thus far the adventures to the galactic core have not really proven to live up to my own expectations but this may just be my own thoughts on the matter. I am hesitant to tell you what exactly happens but I will let you know that it’s entirely possible that reaching the core is only the beginning of what the creators have planned for the game. (That’s on Youtube if you want really want to find out yourself.) But that’s enough negative for today. Let’s talk on what you will enjoy about the game
This game is not meant for anyone who wants a detailed plot and a high stakes scifi adventure. It IS for someone who wants to have a unique experience in an outer space survival game where you do a lot of resource mining, resource management and try to figure the most efficient way to traverse your way across the universe using nothing but a mining laser and the literal elements of the planet in front of you. It is quite fun to try to find the best way to use the tools in front of you and I enjoyed seeing what each different planet was like for a while. I watched other players videos online and saw how they were presented with an entirely different set of planetary resources as they traveled the stars and I loved seeing how people achieved the same goals using those resources. Yes the basics were the same as far as filling up the fuel of your ship but even how players filled their warp drive varied a small bit from player to player. (Pro tip – find the suspension fluid blueprint if you can). I also actually had a lot more fun in space battles than most players did. Initially the controls were weird but you can set them up a bit to your preferences. After you do that and learn to fly you’ll find yourself taking out space pirates like a pro and earning all sorts of good report with the other factions of aliens in the game. (I advise you to use the Phaser beam because its easier to target.)
Space battles also included what I considered one of my favorite aspects to the game, consequences to dying. When you die in a space battle not only are you sent back to the last save point you reached, you also find all of your ship’s inventory gone … as in souls in Dark Souls gone. Luckily the game makes a logical choice in allowing you travel to the same spot that you died in order to recover your lost resources and equipment. You may have to do a few repairs on your spacecraft first depending on what was damaged in the dogfight. Yes, your ship will get perma-damaged in the fight and you will have to repair it as a result of losing a battle. I actually am hoping that this will lead to maybe being able to obtain the inventory of other players if you get the ability to shoot other players down in combat. I would hope this is an optional way to play however, lest new players get camped to death and never really be able to take off into this virtual universe.
As you already know, the game features no shortage of places to explore but the sheer amount of places you have to explore is staggering. I halfway expected each of the game’s 18 quintillion planets to be actually pretty small in scale and thought I would probably be able to take a few hours and see a large chunk of the planet on foot. At most, I thought each planet would be the size of Planet Mira from Xenoblade Chronicles X … I was wrong … Each of the planets in the game are TREMENDOUS. I was amazed at how much area they have to explore! I honestly think it would be impossible to explore all of one planet in a day on foot. In fact, even if you are in your ship flying above the surface of the planet, it would take hours even with your thrusters engaged. Each planet is quite literally as big as a real planet. I know that some have complained that the planets themselves are to bland and repetitive as far as environments go, but I actually would have to disagree a bit. No I have not found a civilized planet yet but there is a very realistic diversity from planet to planet. Some planets feature toxic atmostpheres and have stormy climates while others may feature icy winds and sub-zero temperatures. Some planets have blistering hot temperatures too hot for any species to survive on without an exosuit while others feature lush green environments that seem extremely friendly to life. Each planet also features its own set of wildlife as well. Yes, some of that wildlife is spread out few and far and between but each planet does feature its own unique ecosystem and wildlife and I enjoyed exploring the planets and trying to find out what lived there and what types of creatures would inhabit some of the more hostile environments of this virtual universe.
All in all this game is not quite what everyone thought it would be initially but it is not bad either. It is a survival game full of A TON of exploration, outer space resource management, item crafting, a lot of harvesting raw elements, and a bunch of wondering if you made a bad move on following the Atlas. If exploration, crafting, harvesting items and survival sounds fun to you in a game then by all means play this game! But if you want a more sci fi adventure type scene than maybe this is currently not the game for you. IT may be updated and altered later but currently this is not that type of game. Have fun exploring travelers!
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