Mention that you play No Man’s Sky and a lot of gamers will roll their eyes and ask why you play that “boring game”. Truthfully it’s fair to say that this game wins “the most hyped game of the current decade award”. So why am I writing a review for it? Because despite the hype it’s brill stuff. True, I regret paying £60 to have it delivered on launch day. Then I didn’t play it for months soon after buying it. But I have to admit that No Man’s Sky is evolving into a brill game. Just don’t expect Eve Online style player battles and in-depth story line.
No Man’s Sky is based upon single player exploration, combat, survival and trading. Some multiplayer elements have been introduced through updates. The story line is very simple, follow the Atlas path to reach the centre of the universe.
When the game first came out it consited simply of you, the player known only as “the Traveller” in a universe spread out over 18 quintillion planets. Your character woke up on a planet near a crashed ship and to begin exploring the universe you needed to fix the ship by finding resources on the planet to repair it with. This involved scanning the landscape and animals to see what resources you could get from them using your mining tool/gun.
Once in space the player soon discovers the 3 NPC races. To communicate with them you must learn their language. A wrong choice during trade negotiations for instance could insult the trader and harm your reputation with that species. To better understand a species the player must seek out Monoliths on planet surfaces. Each Monolith teaches a single word of the language spoken by whatever species controls that star system. Eventually you will be fluent and that really does help you on your travels.
On every planet you will find Sentinels, basically planet guardians that stop you from taking too many resources. They range in shape and sizes also in how strict they are. On some planets they shoot at you for simply being there.
The release day game was really that simple and that is what the furore was about. The marketing for No Man’s Sky had promised more. The game felt to me like an early beta. I soon became bored of visiting planet after planet with nothing to do but mine. Yet Youtube videos showed massive dinosaur like creatures and space battles (not both at the same time lol).
Hello Games has spent the year making updates to address this discrepancy and have added things like bases, employees and drivable surface vehicles. The latest update “Atlas Rising” has added improvements to the story mode including about 30 hours of narrative and missions that are generated procedurally.
A lot of players since launch have discovered portals in game and these can now be used to travel vast distances, a lot like your ships hyper drive. Hello games have also added a basic co-operative mode to No Man’s Sky which allows up to 16 players to explore the same planet at the same time and use voice chat or text commands to communicate. Players currently appear as glowing spheres to one another which makes me wonder why in the marketing they show a humanoid as “The traveller”? Could future updates allow us to create a custom “Traveller”?
Before launch they marketed No Man’s Sky very badly. Things promised, by all involved were simply non-existent on release day. But today as a player if you were to be shopping for a space exploration game now and didn’t want to have to learn game lore, history of factions, etc… Then No man’s Sky is a brill game. Controls are easy to learn. The graphics look excellent, some of the planets I’ve seen look breath takenly gorgeous. There is now also enough content for you to stay interested. The best part is that No Man’s Sky is now really cheap. I just wish that I’d saved my £60 and waited until now to buy it.