The universe is finally open as Hello Games’ No Man’s Sky has finally been released on the Playstation 4, the has been hyped since it’s announcement at E3 last 2013 and indeed it has been a wild ride from numerous delays to Hello Games’ offices getting flooded, to the trademark battle of the word “Sky” and the usage of the “super-formula” contained within the game. With the vast universe now open to players, does the game deliver what the hype was about or is the game worth throwing to the darkness of space.
No Man’s Sky is built on four main elements: Exploration, Survival, Combat, and Trading and as the player starts on a random part of the outer galaxy with the main quest of reaching the center, they are equipped with a “Multi-tool” (a mining/combat gun), a basic exosuit, a broken ship and the first mission of repairing your ship so you could start exploring other planets. Basically the tutorial teaches you how to get resources which in-turn are used to recharge and craft the components needed for your on-going trek. Having the “randomness” in the game means everyone also starts on a different planet with random conditions, you may start on a rich planet that you could easily profit from or start in a radioactive hellhole that drains your suit’s protection system dry after a few minutes.
Mining is easy as by pressing the right trigger and aiming at certain rock structures, plants, trees and minerals give you different types of resources, some of which are used for specific parts of your equipment while some can be interchanged. With the game having it’s unique period table of elements, you will find some resources are real-world minerals and some are fictional, for example, finding Carbon allows me to recharge my Mining Beam, Blaster and Life Support system on my exosuit, while Thamium 9 can be used to recharge my ammo and Life-Support system as well but mainly to fuel my ship’s Pulse Engine.
You can also gather materials in space using your cannons as asteroids usually are a good farming spot for Thamium9 once you get out of your first planet. You can also find other elements by spotting different asteroids. Your main sources of headache in finding resources would be the limited inventory space and the “can’t find when you need them” moments. While upgrading (more on that later) your exosuit requires you to look for drop-pods and cost more expensive as you get more inventory slots in your suit. I have also been confused on how could I view all the blueprints I have learned as there isn’t a separate menu for just viewing them and while you can “pin” them to your screen, looking at all of them would be a nice addition as well.
As your adventure brings you to closer and closer to the core of the universe, you will be encountering more hostile elements both on the planet and in space as Space Pirates can randomly warp to your location and try to steal your cargo, another instance would be when a freighter is being assaulted by said pirates and whether you help them or not is up to you, of course you will be rewarded with a higher reputation ranking on the race that you did help but space combat may be tricky to control and hard to survive especially if you forget to upgrade your ship’s shields. Once you enter the planet you either encounter hostile animals which can range from a huge dinosaur-dog hybrid that runs away from you and to a small jumping cactus that hates you more than you hate paying your bills, not only that you may have to deal with storms or extreme cold and hot temperatures that will try to kill you as well as the “Sentinels” who guard the planets if you piss them off. So far I have yet to encounter a different type of gun and it may seem like there isn’t any but the functions of your Multi-Tool can be upgraded, depending on which blueprints you have learned and the upgrade slots available.
While the game doesn’t have a leveling system, it does give players a way to fight off the multiple things that want to kill you through upgrades. Your exosuit, Multi-Tool and ship can be upgraded through the blueprints you have learned (which can be obtained from numerous sources within the game), the resources you have and the amount of “slots” available. These slots in your exosuit and ship are are shared with the amount of upgrades you can install and the resources can carry, while getting more exosuit storage is easier in the first few upgrades, finding a ship with a ton of slots are hard to get. With the limited amount of slots you could either balance your gear with the different functions each upgrade does and enough to carry your mined items and open slots if you want to craft something, some crafted resources also cannot be stacked so if the upgrade you want needs six “Carite Sheets”, you’d need 6 open slots, which is a common problem that I encountered.
There are multiple ways to earn “Units” (currency in game) as well, you may either hoard resources and sell them to other NPCs or the Galactic Trade Network/Terminal, while mining you can also scan the environment for the various flora and fauna to get a little more extra units in, completing certain locations are also rewarded as I have seen rewards as high as 400,000 units (which varies and may go higher depending on the location), visiting and “saving” on outposts also add some money, just don’t forget to upload all your discoveries, and yes you CAN NAME all the discoveries you make.
Interacting with lifeforms and other objects may seem to be weird at first as you may will not understand them due to your character not yet learning their language, various monoliths, plaques, and aliens will help you learn words and it is up to you if you want to learn them all. However most dialogues are accompanied by “scenarios” that could be deciphered which could help you select which would be an appropriate choice. Planets are filled with various points-of-interest and while it may be repetitive when you have almost seen every POI there is, what you can find inside them are usually random and does encourage the player to scatter and visit as much as they can.
The game has plenty of weird and murky stuff going on as well, while creator, Sean Murray has said that there are no loading screens, there are a few of them. Initially the only loading screen you’d see was the start- up screen but after playing around in space, every-time you use hyperdrive or just plain travel from one planet to another, the “slowness” feels like one itself. Add the fact that there was said to be some sort of multiplayer component present but as of late, two players have already tried meeting-up on the same location, on the same planet (discovered by one of them), and they did not see each other.
There were also plenty of crashing on my PS4 and upon writing this review, a few of my friends you already had it downloaded on Steam, experienced either a crash on start-up or a very long loading time, to be fair, the PC version is probably flooded with requests right now. However the crashes on my PS4 had been happening frequently especially after using the hyperdrive with a CE-34834878-0 crash, I am still a bit lucky though as some players really can’t even launch the game on their consoles. Controls do feel a bit restrictive too as you can’t directly swoop in a planet and attempt to crash the ground as your ship will “auto-stabilize” itself as it hovers and adjusts the speed of the ship itself, making short routes longer in the end. Texture pop-ins and frame rate drops were also present especially if you do always dive straight to the surface of the planets, I wonder if the PC version will get this too, but nevertheless it could either be the hardware or the games “algorithm” doing this.
Difficulty-wise, as you get closer and closer to the center, it does get difficult however I found it random as in my first galaxy I was ambushed by 8 space pirates, while going closer I was ambushed by, at most, 4. So everything is random, I guess
No Man’s Sky is really one weird game, it obviously is not a game for everyone, sadly most players who have yet to be content with the game doesn’t like the gameplay itself probably because of the other “usual” games that are hyped. No Man’s Sky is simply a game that encourages exploration, if you didn’t like how Terraria, Starbound and Minecraft (minus the graphics), then you probably won’t like No Man’s Sky. As for me, I feel like the game is still starting for me and every time I manage to finish an upgrade, I feel rewarded, and excited to try and get revenge on some space pirates (yes, I already died TWICE!). Also if you do actually die, you just re-spawn to the nearest safe location and you may reclaim your lost inventory, but if you die once again while trying, those items are lost.
Over-all, I do like the game so far as I feel like I have really done something even if I just hoard random elements and sell them and go back and hoard again just so I can afford better ships and build more upgrades for my suit and tools. As far as updates go, Sean Murray has stated that bases and freighters will soon be coming. Right now the game looks like it was still in development but has the basics functioning and has so much room to grow if ever Hello Games decides to add more content to it and with that I do not recommend buying the game unless its on sale.
Ralph Escarilla – see this .