Platforms: PC, PS4, Xbox One
Developer: Hello Games
Publisher: Hello Games, Sony Interactive Entertainment
I managed to get a copy of No Man’s Sky and although I was firmly reluctant on playing it, I wanted to pick it up and see what it’s like for myself. All hype and expectations aside But my first impressions aren’t good.
No Man’s Sky is an adventure game with some combat involved, set within the entirety of space. The final frontier and all that jazz. You’d think that it’d be exciting discovering the unknown and fulfilling your dream of going lightspeed. It’s certainly magnificent traveling through space, across the stars and exploring multitudes of planets, especially as this is my first proper space game. But that novelty ends pretty quickly.
It’s a multiplayer game (but not really) with 0 player interactivity except for seeing other players’ named discoveries and if you’re patient enough, you can see them. There is a plot, but it’s not much and it’s one of those games where you have you’re own adventure. A galaxy for you to explore. I won’t “spoil” the plot for you here so I won’t talk about it any further. Let’s just say it’s a little lacking.
The ground combat isn’t particularly engaging, feels sluggish and non-intuitive. I even got to a point where I avoided conflicts where possible. The sentinels felt like they were a little annoying rather than dangerous. What I do like is that you can craft additional items to improve your combat proficiency. The Boltcaster is better than the mining beam in combat and also a pretty nifty tool to get past steel doors. On the other hand, space battles are a lot more enjoyable. Now’s the time to let out your inner space pirate!
Ultimately There Isn’t Much To Do
The game may look like there are a heap of things to do, but in actuality there isn’t a whole to do. There’s the whole mining business, combat (kind of optional), trading, meeting alien races, learning bits of their language (which is actually cool) to unlock shiny stuff while conversing with them and naming your own discoveries for you to upload. You can do all this stuff, but it’s not exactly what I’d call fun after some play time.
You soon start to realize that you’re doing the same thing. The process is the same when you arrive on new planets. You land, start extracting from the planet, find shelter, upgrades, any signs of life and improve on your alien languages. It’s extremely repetitive and the only feature that seems to keep your interest for a while, is exploration.
Exploration is the core feature in No Man’s Sky, which is great because you get to visit different planets, see some life if you’re lucky. Venturing into caves that have been in my experience, quite unrewarding. In my time with the game, I’ve come across the usual iron, plutonium and carbon substances, nothing too spectacular. It was disappointing, sure, but it felt great to delve into these caves and also the depths of the oceans. This is why I say that the game is nothing more than a ‘time-waster’, something for you to switch on and play for a while as you roam around. And for what it offers, I can’t see why the game deserves a £30 – £40 price tag. At best, it should be around half what it’s at now.
But there’s just too many negatives. For example, there’s my issue with not being able to find faster ships or improve their normal speed. Only through warp drive upgrades can you increase the speed and distance, but even that’s exclusive to warp speeds. The biggest difference in getting better ships are the number of inventory slots you have access to. I get that being able to carry more in this game is a godsend, it’s just not something you’d usually get excited for in games.
Another thing is the lack of life. I’ve only come across two or three planets that hosted very little life. After seeing barren planet after barren planet, it became tiresome. The good thing is you won’t be short of your iron, plutonium, carbon and thamium-9! So refuelling and charging your gear/ship isn’t a problem.
AFK While Playing
One other thing that I’ve found myself doing A LOT is being AFK. Would you ever have imagined being AFK while playing a game? I don’t mean pausing it to grab a drink or proclaiming to the chat that you’re heading to the toilet. I mean being AFK at the same time as playing a game. In No Man’s Sky, the first time I used warp drive, I left the controller on my desk and made myself a sandwich. I came back and I still didn’t reach my destination. I get that it adds a bit of realism and immersion, but if I’m playing a game, I’d like to play it, not sit there as it takes a few minutes to reach most places.
No Man’s Sky is a big disappointment. There, I said it. Play a solid hour or two and you’ve pretty much seen it all. And in its current state, the game isn’t worth grabbing. I absolutely love the exploration aspect and it’s the single reason why I’ve logged in a few more hours that I thought I would. If you’re looking for a space game to sink your teeth into, then I’d strongly recommend waiting a while for more content to be added and/or the price to drop way down. I may be overcritical but unfortunately the fact is, No Man’s Sky is all bones and no meat.
Pros and Cons
- Great feeling of exploration and can play for hours, if you’re motivated enough.
- Perfect for killing time.
- Play your own adventure.
- A lot of time waiting during pulse drive.
- Can get quite boring, very quickly especially with very little to actually do once you’re on planets.
- Despite the huge procedural generation of planets, it’s repetitive and bare bones.
- Major AFK business during actual play.
What’s your stance on No Man’s Sky at the moment?