The beginning of No Man’s Sky will be the same for everyone. You will be stranded on a planet with a broken down ship. The only difference is that this is a random planet sitting in a random star system. So you could start with a rather pleasant environment, unless you happen to be on an icy planet with temperatures as low as -90c. This is where I started my journey.
It was a difficult start but it taught me how tough a planet could be but this is the only time you will ever feel like this. Once you have your spaceship up and running you can just leave a planet if you don’t like it. There are billions of planets to explore so there will always be at least one that you dislike. It does a great job of creating a sense of vastness but quickly loses that sense of helplessness once you leave your starting planet.
As I write this review I am currently 10 hours away from my starting point and I have learned a lot on my journey. The main thing that I have learnt though is that No Man’s Sky is a micromanagement trading game that is set in a beautifully procedural generated universe. When you first see the Star map you will soon understand the vastness of No Man’s Sky but after time you will start to learn how little there is actual to do in the universe. Primarily it comes down to resources. Every planet you land on will have resources that you can mine with your multi tool. You will soon discover that each resource has a rarity value but I warn you now, this is not a game where you can horde item.
You will find that you will always be needing resources for three things; to charge up equipment, to craft items to create new upgrades or to sell. The charging of equipment can be a nuisance (especially hyper cells) but you can always find what you need from a nearby space station. My biggest issue is how little inventory space you have on your exo-suit and spacecraft. Another issue is that the upgrades take up slots of this limited inventory. This is where the micromanagement comes in. You will find yourself doing a lot of commuting between planets and trading points in the early game, saving up units for a better ship and multi tool.
The main goal of No Man’s Sky is to reach the centre of the universe and the above resource gathering is very much necessary to complete this quest. It will allow you to create better technology and as mentioned, buy better equipment. However it is not always about the collecting; you will find the real joy in exploring the universe and understanding most if it’s secrets.
After landing on a planet you can spend a good amount of time just exploring it. They come in all sizes with different atmospheres to deal with. You can go from a lush garden of Eden to a toxic planet that has a few extreme storms a day. Other objects that you will discover on your journey includes items such as monoliths, outposts and anomalies in space. These places will allow you to advance your understanding of aliens languages (for when you meet), upgrade you technology and advance the story on.
If you happen to land on a planet that is not barren you will find numerous (and often strange-looking) creatures. They all can be scanned, renamed and uploaded to the server so that if someone else stumbles upon your planet, they will see what you have been up to.
No Man’s Sky is a unique experience that is so huge in scale that you will never explore every corner of the universe. With that though it comes a few flaws that can make the gameplay feel dry. The constant micromanagement feels like a chore sometimes but it does have some rewards in the long-term. I know I am only 10 hours into the game but I cannot see this formula changing at any point on my journey.
I feel that with that even with its flaws that No Man’s Sky manages to perfect one thing. That is how far away objects are in space. When you first see a planet in the distance you will think that it is not far away. That is until you hover over it and states that is 2 hours away. It is possible to get there quicker thanks to advanced technology you have in game but It really does show (in its own special way) that mankind has a hell of a long way to go before we can even think about exploring deep space.
No Man's Sky (PS4) - 7/10
Who Should Buy This
- Space Explorers
- Gamers who enjoy following a curious story path
Who Should Avoid
- Any one seeking a AAA title – this is not that
- Players who hate micromanagement
- Players who do not like making their own adventure
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