No Man's Sky Review

Those looking for a game without restrictions where the goal is what you make of it No Man’s Sky delivers

By Grayshadow, Posted 15 Aug 2016

Stranded on a planet with little direction I was tasked with finding the raw materials needed to repair my ship. Traveling throughout the massive planet I finally succeeded and blasted off into space only to find 2 more planets, both larger than the one I was on with a different atmosphere and life. I was given a vague direction of where to go and what to do, but that’s what makes No Man’s Sky special. It’s a game that doesn’t give much direction, it’s about exploring, discovery, and being apart of the universe. Whether that sounds like something you want to dedicate time to is up to you.

No Man's Sky,NoobFeed,Hello Games,

No Man’s Sky doesn’t give the player much direction or story. Missions do sprout up such that either send on a specific path, discover an unknown location, collect intelligence and blueprints, or build relations with the surrounding aliens. Although they give your actions a sense of purpose all of them repeat themselves. After the several hours of play I found myself solving the same puzzles and performing the same tasks in order to obtain enough materials to warp into the next location. Objectives, while give you direction, isn’t what No Man’s Sky is about; it’s about discovery.

Exploring makes up the bulk of No Man’s Sky appeal. Planets are generated using a complicated algorithms to determine its weather, sentinel types, flora, and fauna. Some planets could exhibit higher levels or radiation while others intense heat. The best and less frequent discoveries come in the way of lifeforms. These creatures showcase real-life creatures with alternate forms. Finding what creatures lived on each planet become one of my primary goals when landing on a planet. Like the weather, which can change to become dangerous, these creatures can range from docile herbivores to deadly meat eaters. Everything can be scanned, named, and uploaded so other players can see your discoveries. 

No Man's Sky,NoobFeed,Hello Games,

Finding each planet’s unknown life is enticing but after your 10th planet you’ll begin to see a pattern. Each planet is populated with the things. Scanning from space does aid in focusing your attention on the places you want to travel too but after your 20th warp these repetition does begin to draw out the game. 

Your ship and exosuit come equipped with the essential tools for survival and it’s up to you to decide what to upgrade. Weapons, shielding, sprinting, jetpack fuel, and much more are customizable. By obtaining blueprints from completing objectives and looting new items become available for use. Unlike your exosuit you can purchase a brand new ship if you can accumulate enough units. Since space is limited in your inventory, and no bank system exist, expect to triage supplies frequently. You can change your ship’s equipment but the look and storage space can obtain be altered by purchasing a brand new one.

No Man's Sky,NoobFeed,Hello Games,

Units serve as the primary currency in No Man’s Sky. Trading various supplies such as raw materials and craftable items. At first, the trader will be your number one spot for getting necessary items but as you progress you’ll learn how to effectively craft and mine all the supplies made available. 

Mining, building, and crafting makes up the other large portion of No Man’s Sky. Each planet is full of resources used for crafting new items and maintaining equipment for your exosuit and ship. Your multitool serves as your primary mining tool to extract minerals and to fend off hostile sentinels and wildlife.

No Man's Sky,NoobFeed,Hello Games,

If you happen to find yourself in a firefight your multitool serves a weapon. On-foot combat is pretty stale with your basic ‘shoot till they die’ strategy effective in every situation. It’s questionable why the developers included auto-reloading as an upgrade instead of a gameplay mechanic, wasting a slot for something that is standard in every shooter is bewildering. 

Movement controls aren’t as fluid as you would expect from a game based on exploration. Running and sprinting, unless upgraded, feels heavy and slow. Regardless of the planet I was on my character always felt like he was moving through a thick pool of water (He moves at the same speed in water).

No Man's Sky,NoobFeed,Hello Games,

Space combat is much more hectic due to the higher level of maneuverability required to dodge incoming fire. The targeting system, which displays a hit marker for ships too far away, does aid a lot in large space fights but don’t expect the same level of control found in Star Fox 64 or Halo: Reach. Same goes for tactical awareness, since you lack an effective map and must rely on poorly colored arrows to find hostile ships expect a lot of blind turns. If given the option to change into third-person space combat would’ve been must more manageable.

Speaking of space expect to spend a lot of time traveling. Distance from one planet to another in No Man’s Sky is huge. Your ship’s powerful engines do aid in shrinking the time required but expect to spend between 30 seconds and 5 minutes when traveling between planets. Warping to other systems is just as long and since players can’t open their inventory while in hyperdrive all you can do is wait it out. 

No Man's Sky,NoobFeed,Hello Games,

With all this traveling you can expect to interact with several alien species. Each one has a unique language and culture. Players will have to locate special relics to learn the aliens’ language to better communicate with each and make decisions that bolster or weaken your relationship with each faction. I didn’t see a different in the way certain factions treated me based on my standing but new dialogue options did open up.

What is extraordinary is the lack of load times, impressively Hello Games made traveling from planet to planet seamlessly. You can leave one planet, travel to another, and won’t have to suffer through a loading screen. The game does show the large processor power required to perform this in the way of pre-loading graphics when entering a planet and frequent crashes.

No Man's Sky,NoobFeed,Hello Games,

Frequent crashes and the save system are especially vexing. To save players must head into a space station or locate a save beacon on an outpost on a planet’s surface. During my playthrough I’ve had over 10 crashes while playing No Man’s Ship, losing a combination of 3 hours worth of work. For a game where gathering and maintaining resources is paramount, coupled with long distances needed to travel, to see a sudden blue screen is upsetting.

Another issue that many will find troubling is the lack of a tutorial. Many of the gameplay elements in No Man's Sky are hidden from the player. For example uploading your discoveries to earn units and expanding your inventory aren't explained. The community has picked up on this causing a flood of videos and guides to explain everything that the game fails to. 

No Man’s Sky isn’t an epic space odyssey full of colorful characters or epic boss fights. It’s a game about exploring, discovering unknown secrets, and venturing out to find more. You’ll collect items, find exotic creatures, and walk on planets that will leave you in awe but you won’t find any purpose for what you’re doing. There’s no clear goal and for some looking for solid conclusions in their games this isn’t a game you’ll enjoy. Those looking for a game without restrictions where the goal is what you make of it No Man’s Sky delivers. 

Adam Siddiqui, NoobFeed
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General Information

No Man's Sky

65/100

Platform(s): PS4, PC
Publisher(s): Hello Games
Developer(s): Hello Games
Genres: Adventure
Themes: Sci-Fi
Release Date: 2016-08-09

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