This is a game I’ve wanted to play for a long time but was it worth waiting a few days longer for the PC version? I have always loved the space film and game genre, from an early age I’d sit and watch the original Star War movies over and over again. Tv programs like Star Trek and Red Dwarf made me want to explore space, so when games arrived like Eve Online, Elite Dangerous and many others I couldn’t help play them for hours. In Eve Online’s case years.
No Man’s Sky has been in production for quite a while and that’s when the wheels of the hype train started slowly turning. I try to avoid watching long gameplay videos as I want to experience a game for myself but what I did watch perked my interest and imagination for a game that had eighteen quintillion planets in it to explore. That is a number inconceivably large and rumoured to take millions of lifetimes to explore.
Going into a game like that I didn’t know what to feel or expect, I’m going to New York in a few weeks and I am unsure where to go or what to pack. Traveling the entire universe though? that’s a daunting experience. You start out stood next to your crashed ship (well.. you start out next to your crashed PC but a patch half an hour later luckily solve mine but sadly not a lot of others). It is then your job to explore on this randomly generated planet, mine was a brisk icy -56 degrees so sun bathing was out, thermal underpants on as I took my first tentative steps on my new home.
I spent hours on that first planet, mining everything to repair my ship and equipment. You can scan and upload every rock, planet and animal you come across so my first goal was clear. Forget about the ship and romp around on this huge planet trying to complete that list (which is linked to a 100% completion bonus of three hundred thousand credits). The only issue is that the last creature could be anywhere, underwater, in a cave or in the sky, the latter however seems to be glitched so I had to shoot one of them out of the sky in the hope that scanner can scan corpses (it can luckily).
Soaking in the sheer scale of this game was only felt when I took off for the first time, broke through the atmosphere and into the endless depths of space where I was given another handful of tasks, to build a hyperdrive to make travel to different solar systems possible. While doing this you meet aliens who talk in a dialect you haven’t yet learned which is obtained by knowledge stones littered across each planet. They give you a single translated word which makes communication a bit easier but only for one race, I’ve encountered three so far.
You get to explore many different planets and moons but after a while you get the feeling that they are all pretty similar, some have more water, some icy tundra, incredibly hot planets, others are heavily radiated and some are frustratingly hostile. This makes them have differences but grass can be hundreds of different colours but it’s still grass, the same with water and everything else. I did go through phases, I enjoyed it for a bit, played a few hours and then got bored and frustrated especially with the inventory system. I’ve been playing a few hours now every other day but patches are coming even as I write this and at some point this may have much more content to immerse you even further into the depths of space exploration.
The thing I forgot when I started playing this is twelve people made this game which is mind-blowing but you are paying a premium gaming price of £40 for a larger than normal indie game. Is it too much? Maybe it is, I’ve been playing Subnautica recently which is an underwater exploration game with a similar premiss which is still in early access which I paid about £10 for and that’s a fantastic game. I will stick with the game and keep playing it to see new features and pushing to find and get a new bigger and better ship because at some points it is fun, it’s a massive achievement to make a game on that scale.
For someone like me who enjoys this genre, it’s a great game. I do really enjoy it but sadly it is limited and expensive really for what it is. It’s sheer scale is huge but doing a bit of combat, landing on a world, scanning some flora and fauna, mining some minerals, upgrading, repairing and then selling what you don’t need at a space station. Before moving on to another planet, solar system or galaxy is pretty much how it plays out. I can handle that grind in short few hour bursts before I go and play or do something else and that will reflect in my score. I can see why people love it and why people hate it but for me this game scores 7/10. I maybe should have bought the PS4 version a few days before as the experience would have been pretty similar, maybe even waited a few weeks or months until everything settled down.
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