A ‘No Man’s Sky’ Review
Captain’s Log 001 –
“E” to initialize. I looked around, slower than I’d like, but better than not being able to wake up right? I found myself on a cold desolate planet. Harsh rocks run along the walls of the cliff right infront of me. The temperature shows at -95 C. That’s not good, my suit blares its warning. “Life support low….” I stepped forward. Blank. Black.
Captain’s Log 002 –
“E” to initialize. I looked around, slower than I’d like, but better than not being able to wake up right? Thing is, it’s different this time. Warmer planet, plants…plants! I see plants! My suit’s not warning me about anything. This is great! I stepped forward. Climb into my ship, opened my inventory then blank. Blank. Black.
Captain’s Log 003 –
“E” to initialize. I looked around, frustrated I spammed on “W” to move forward. Finally when I’m able to move i ran into my ship, check my inventory and found out that I needed to fix a few items on board. I got out looking for the required items. I started mining. Hey…I thought to myself. This ain’t bad.
“Life support low…” What?! Temperature shows 105 C. Great. I continued mining, refueling my life support system when it is low. This goes on for about fifteen minutes. Gathering all the materials, crafting items, refueling my life support system, my mining laser and my suits armor. Finally, I’ve gotten everything I need. I looked up. My ship, according to my suit, is about 5 minutes away. I begin my slow journey back.
Captain’s Log 04 –
There were no blank black screens. Which is good, I thought to myself. I’m in my ship. I have fixed all that’s needed to be fixed. Now I’m required to take flight, into space. The final frontier. I pressed on the trigger. The ship lifts with no effort. I pointed my ship up and fired up my booster.
There it is… space…wow… that’s all I’m able to s-…then blank. Black.
I’m not sure how to categorize No Man’s Sky. It is partly a survival, partly a crafting and partly an exploration game. But excels at neither of these aspects.
There is nothing here to truly feel that you’re supposed to survive as materials to keep your suit up and running are plentiful. I find that the only natural hazard, excluding walking off cliffs without enough jet pack fuel to get you back up or carnivorous creatures, the atmospheric storm is the only hazard that comes to being a challenge at surviving. Which still only requires you to refuel your suit’s energy at a higher frequency.
Crafting in No Man’s Sky is rewarding. That is until you get a few more hours in. Everything is laid out for you from the very start. At the eighth hour, I am still crafting the very same item that I crafted when I started the game. You won’t be able to craft guns or new armor other than upgrades to the ones you already have.
So what about exploration? No Man’s Sky have something going with exploration here. Every planet is mathematically generated thus every time you visit a new planet they will be different. Throughout my playtime, the game amazes me with its ability to generate terrain and creatures with just maths! Infinity planets and creates are what the game’s developer Shawn declare that the game can generate. But infinity here can only go so far with what math can do with the pre-generated models in its archive. I can truly appreciate the designs, the landscape and some of the less awkward creature the game can conjure. But after the 20th planet, I can’t seem to brush off the feeling that I’ve been to that said planet before.
No Man’s Sky is a technical marvel in the sense of transitioning from space all the way down to the planet. I believe this will be a bar that all space games need to break in the future. The loading screen is non-existent discounting the warp animation, which is a loading screen in disguise with colours.
No Man’s Sky have a lot of ideas in mind while just barely exploring each aspect. Crashing to desktop is something that happens often. And if that happens, hopefully, you’re only about minutes from coming out of your ship as that is the only way to “save” in the game currently. These crashes are being ironed out by Hello Games as this article published to date.
Then there is the controversial of features are taken out on the game’s release day with most of the community dubbing it as “No Man’s Lie”. Though I can’t say that this is all the games fault understanding that games do change a lot from pre-production to the final release, the developer shouldn’t have marketed the game with the illusion of having all these features set in.
No Man’s Sky is not a bad game, nor is it a great one! It has great ambitions but with little strength to bring them forward. It has its charm and surprises but too much of something is bad for you. I am overwhelmed with the number of planets that I can and will not visit that it makes you question whether will this be worth it in the end. Take it slow, pinch by pinch with the exploration. Let the game take its own time to surprise you.
In the end, I do hope Hello Games will be able to put in all the features that were shown just months before the release date. Then maybe, just maybe I can see the galaxy with a lengthier playthrough. But for now, I would wait for the sale.