After 4 years of hypetrain “No Man’s Sky” finally came out and while the game didn’t live up to every expectation those that were expecting a space exploration game will be very satisfied
“No Man’s Sky” presents us with a different kind of universe to explore. A universe that is full of life and full of color where all planets can be visited and explored, And all planets have a solid surface (no gas giants), an atmosphere, resources to gather and life forms to identify, even the most desolated planets have some sort of vegetation. In space, the background color can vary and there are almost always asteroids around no matter where you are. Space stations and Spaceship seem to have a very simplistic design, so there is nothing to get really crazy about.
Furthermore, “No Man´s Sky” has some issues introducing new players to the NMS universe. And as soon as you boot-up the game you are thrown in a planet without even being able to look at the menu, and sort out what resolution or FOV you want. You start stranded on a planet with your ship broken, and right away you have to start gathering elements with your mining laser in order to have enough to repair your ship. And that can be pretty overwhelming at the very start of the game. However, once you start to learn what elements you need and where to find them the pace of the game feels a lot better.
And “No Man´s Sky” really pulls off the experience of walking through a planet with alien flora and fauna. You can discover species and name them, discover ancient relics or find the wreckage of a spaceship. And for someone who likes this kind of exploration, this game will be right up their alley. And a big part of the game is also centered around mining resources, and the way that you use them in-order to maintain or upgrade your gear and your ship.
So, what about the actual gameplay aspects of the game then? Well, when you’re on board of your ship, the game is not all that impressive. And the controls are not great on PC either. So I mostly used my ship to get from planet A to planet B, while there are some things to do when you’re on your ship, like fighting off pirates, the planetside experience is much more engaging.
While the game has appeal for those who love to explore alien planets. I do find a lot of annoying gameplay issues and design decisions that hold the game back. And a perfect example of that would be how the game won’t tell the player how it actually works. So new players will have questions like “where do I get Antimatter” or “What is an AtlasPass and how do I get it”. And unfortunately enough, the game doesn’t really explain it so the player ends up relying on the community to help. However, since “No Man´s Sky” doesn’t have real multiplayer support. You have no other option but to close down the game and search the Internet for clues and help. And while Hello Games should be proud of all the information which they have put together in MNS. I do feel like the developers should have done a better job at explaining how many of the game´s mechanic works.
Furthermore, something that will start to hinder your enjoyment a few minutes into the game is the lack of inventory space. And once again the developers don’t explain how to expand your inventory slots, or even if it’s possible to expand them. So I wouldn’t be surprised if some players assume it’s not possible and just give up. And since you´re constantly fighting against the inventory space in NMS. I found that sort of issue to be something which I would expect from an Free2Play MMO game (you know, the kind of game that ultimately wants you to purchase more slots with real cash?). However, “No Man’s sky” is a 60 USD title. And they make you fight with inventory space anyway.
Not all mysteries are bad though. As they are actually a lot of fun when it comes to the lore and what can loosely be called the story of “No Man’s Sky”, the Sentinels, the Atlas, The center of the galaxy, even alien languages. So these are all things that are fun to learn and discover as you explore the game and the developers were right in leaving these things a mystery and while I have not discussed the music of the game a lot. I think it fits the game really well, and it helps immerse you in this space exploration experience.
Unfortunately, the PC port of the game is reported to have a lot of issues at launch (the PC version of NMS is even said to be a direct PS4 port…). And that resulted in me having a couple of crashed and sound issues. However, other players reporting to have it much worse than I did (also if you were expecting HOTAS support you will be disappointed). And this is not an acceptable release state for a game of NMS caliber to be released in. Especially not since it’s being charged as an AAA game (“Batman Arkham Knight” vibes anyone?) So if you were really looking forward to play NMS on PC. Then I would suggest you to wait until Hello Games patch NMS to increase the game´s performance. However, if you can´t wait for that to happen. Then I would recommend you to try the console version of the game instead.
Nevertheless, despite all the issues that I just mentioned throughout this review. I still think that NMS could have a very promising future ahead of itself. As the developers have already created a whole universe, and now they would only need to add more stuff for players to do in it. Furthermore, I also see this game being a lot more fun with a proper multilayer mode. And I believe this is something that the NMS community should be asking Hello Games to sort out asap.
+ Very colorful universe
+ Great space exploration experience
+ Amazing sci-fi music
+ The way whole star systems are procedurally generated is extremely impressive
– Lots of performance issues on PC reported at launch
– Many mechanics poorly or not explained
– Fighting the lack of inventory space is not fun
– No multiplayer makes it a lonely experience
Replay Value: 4/5
For a space exploration game with some survival elements peppered on top. “No Man’s Sky” does its job pretty well. And aside from some bad design decisions (which is one of the biggest things holding it back right now) and a rather buggy PC-release. “No Man´s Sky” is still a really entertaining game. However, it would be wise to wait for some patches to drop before you pick-up the game for PC.
Title: No Man´s Sky
Developer: Hello Games
Resolution: Max on PC
Release date: 2016-08-12
Spent time: +10 Hours
Average grade internationally: N/A Gamerankings.com (73.24% for PS4)
PEGI age rating: 16
Price: 59,99 USD via Steam
The review code was provided by Kinguin.
Robin Ek – Editor
The Gaming Ground
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