When No Man’s Sky was released back in 2016 for the PS4 I was so jealous as a Xbox owner. I was actually very close to purchasing a PS4 because of this. If you read Richard and Guy’s thoughts on the original release you can see it was a very polarising game that Hello Games had on their hands.
Thankfully the development team took all the comments, both positive and negative, on board and knuckled down for a couple of years to bring us the Xbox One release as well as a definitive update to PS4 and PC under the name of No Man’s Sky Next. Have they nailed it? Or is it just the ‘next’ big disappointment?
The whole premise of No Man’s Sky had me fizzing back in 2016 and since I never got that PS4 it effectively dropped off my radar apart for the initial burst of negativity. Then in 2018 I was again allowed to get all hyped up over No Man’s Sky with the announcement of the new and improved Xbox One release.
I have to say though, my views on No Man’s Sky are probably a little bit rose tinted as I would be smack bang in the middle of the target market, the ideal gaming consumer in the eyes of Hello Games.
So here we are, 30+ hours in and I’m loving it! Yes, the grind is real but the decisions are yours to make.
I am yet to leave the initial three systems I discovered, having found the perfect ‘Goldilocks’ planet to set up as home and being gifted a Freighter for saving the Captain from raiders, there has been no need to venture further. I am doing well amassing a fleet of frigates to send on missions and defend my interests, along with a hanger full of starships to use planetside.
I have had a few set backs when upgrading things and having to mine and purchase elements again to build mods is frustrating as is the level of resources needed to repair damaged starships you find. But knowing it is all achievable makes the grind easier and the the discovery of new things while mining for your thousandth bit of cobalt breaks things up nicely.
I realise there is a loose story or goal to reach the centre of the universe but I am definitely in no hurry to do this and it is nice to not be pushed by the game to just get there. A real lack of hand holding at the beginning of the game could be overwhelming for some players but it also fosters a real trial and error system to see what you can and can’t do.
Whether it be venturing too far from the safety of your starship on a hostile planet or refining all of one resource only to find you then need that resource in its raw form shortly after. Nothing really penalises you with anything more than a setback in time, and maybe money. Although there is a permadeath and survival mode for those who want a tougher time while exploring the universe.
Now I haven’t even touched on the beauty and atmosphere of No Man’s Sky. It is fantastic. Seamless transition from space station, to planet, to structure.
Gorgeous landscapes and creatures, from desolate to lush and green there are really some awesome vistas to take in and thankfully there is a photo mode to help fill up that family holiday album. The variety and frequency of other starships is pretty cool too, although I have recently upgraded to a ‘better on paper’ starship that unfortunately looks a bit crap aesthetically.
Again another fun aspect of No Man’s Sky, practical may not mean pretty.
I have been drawn into the exploration of new worlds in No Man’s Sky like a fat kid into a candy store. Yes, there is lots of cookie cutter use of structures and environments but the shear scale of each planet is amazing. Just fully exploring one planet will keep you going for ages, if that is what you like. If not just head into space and choose a new path.
Pick a fight, trade some valuables, or like me, try to establish a place you can call home.