No Man’s Sky was released on the 9th of August in 2016 for PS4, XBOX ONE and PC and is a survival game based on space exploration. When initially released, the game scored terrible reviews, due to broken promises from the developers and lack of content within the game. The worlds within the game felt lifeless and the exploration features were shallow. However, in 2018 an update titled the NEXT update was introduced, and the game received a huge content update which fulfilled original promises and introduced more depth to the gameplay loop. Here are my opinions on No Man’s Sky in its current state.
As of the NEXT update and a few of the minor updates prior, there are several ways to approach the game. You are able to choose what role you want to play, e.g. a space bandit who enjoys raiding other players or NPCs for resources, a player who enjoys farming and constructing massive bases on land or in water, an explorer, a bounty hunter, a Freighter captain with a massive fleet of Frigates, and much more. All of these things are possible now and with the introduction of multiplayer it can all be done with a group of friends, or even completely random people. The great thing is that if you get bored of what role you play as, you can change. For example you could give up your perfect reputation as a farmer and become a notorious space bandit, who raids freighters and destroys tonnes of aliens in dogfights. Overall I find the survival elements of the game enjoyable and the freedom of space exploration to be tonnes of fun.
Controls and Gameplay
The controls on the game generally feel good however there are some aspects which could be greatly improved. Starting with the good, the spaceship controls feel great as you have the freedom to air roll and perform manoeuvres of your own. The game can be played in either first or third person, which is nice to have preference. The starship controls feel great in both views, as you have great control in both. The first person view provides a more immersive experience, but is slightly more limiting as you have less of a view of the surroundings. The on-foot controls in first person feel good when you are interacting with items and characters. However in third person it can be difficult to interact with some items as your view is aligned separately from the character. I play on PS4 and the control scheme is not customisable, which is unfortunate because some of the button assignments are not very intuitive. For example, in traditional FPS games such as Call Of Duty, sprint is on the L3 button, but No Man’s Sky has it assigned to R3. Player movement feels smooth on both ground and water and the combat feels like a standard FPS which is good.
The graphics on the game vary a lot. Some areas look amazing, while other areas look quite unpolished. The graphics are at their pinnacle when you are exploring a lush green planet, filled with trees and wildlife. The grass looks great and the flora and fauna look equally good. The games visuals lack when you enter a new planet’s atmosphere. Sometimes mountains and islands look like blobs or water and can have random white outlines around them even though there is no light source hitting those places directly. When in space, some asteroids lack texture, however this isn’t as noticeable because most of the time you encounter them you are travelling at high speeds with your pulse engine or hyper drive. Space stations and similar areas look good, with nice landing animations and seeing NPCs constantly arriving and departing.
The sound throughout the game is consistently engaging, from the timer when entering hyper speed to the sound of the engines shutting down when landing. The aliens all speak their different languages which are impossible to understand, however throughout the game you can gather knowledge on different languages and learn to understand them through subtitles. All of the technology has different sounds, like the mining beam, the terrain beam, the bolt-caster, scatter-gun etc. Each sound accurately portrays what that equipment would sound like, as we have grown familiar with the sound of lasers from pop-culture like Star Wars.
This game can be replayable in multiple ways. The first is to continually expand your survival world, by exploring new areas, gaining knowledge on all the alien races and expanding your fleet. The second way is to reach the centre of the galaxy, which is your main goal, and then increase the games difficulty. The harder difficulties increase enemy’s strength, make environments harsher and make the consequences of dying more severe. I’m the type of person who isn’t interested in restarting on higher difficulties, so will continue to progress my survival world and join other players on their adventures through the universe.
In conclusion, No Man’s Sky has evolved into a great survival game, especially if you can grab a group of friends to join you. If you are interested in picking up a space survival game I suggest giving No Man’s Sky a go, especially now that you can buy the game pretty cheap from websites like eBay. There is also a new update releasing soon which claims to be bigger than all previous updates, introducing additional features such as social hubs, VR support and more ways to progress.
No Man’s Sky. 2019. No Man’s Sky BEYOND Trailer – No Man’s Sky. [ONLINE] Available at: https://www.nomanssky.com/2019/08/no-mans-sky-beyond-trailer/. [Accessed 12 August 2019].
No Man’s Sky. 2019. NEXT Update – No Man’s Sky. [ONLINE] Available at: https://www.nomanssky.com/next-update/. [Accessed 12 August 2019].
Instant-Gaming.com. 2019. Buy No Man’s Sky Steam. [ONLINE] Available at: https://www.instant-gaming.com/en/414-buy-key-steam-no-mans-sky/. [Accessed 12 August 2019].
Rock Paper Shotgun. 2019. No Man’s Sky season of content & events to follow multiplayer | Rock Paper Shotgun. [ONLINE] Available at: https://www.rockpapershotgun.com/2018/07/23/no-mans-sky-first-season-of-content-and-events/. [Accessed 12 August 2019].