After my time with No Man’s Sky I am still unsure of whether or not I like it. It’s not a new game, first coming out in 2016. Over time the game has been patched and had new features which were not present in the initial release. To this day it’s still being updated with a major free patch released towards the end of 2019 with several minor ones released so far in 2020. It’s a level of support not seen in many games these days, let alone for a game with as much initial negative feedback as No Man’s Sky.
It was touted as an infinite universe to explore with procedurally-generated planets. Procedural generation is essentially the process of the game creating content on the fly, resulting in random environments and hazards to navigate.
Flora and fauna on each of these planets would also be procedurally-generated. The game is focused on survival and exploration, with the main goal being to reach the mysterious center of the universe.
Though buggy and poorly received upon its initial release, the game was continuously patched and the opinion towards the game eventually turned into a positive one.
While I won’t be getting in depth with the differences from then and now, I’ll be covering the experience I had as a whole. No Man’s Sky starts with you on a random planet, your ship trashed, and your memories gone. Not the most original start for a game but serviceable. From
there you’re guided through a long series of tutorials. I’m not much of a survival game player but I found this to be too much information up front. It took me some time to become acquainted with the mechanics of the game and comfortable enough to experiment.
Once I finally got comfortable, I found its loops to be somewhat compelling, driving me to explore what was over the horizon and the horizon after that. Inventory management was my biggest issue, with a method of storing excess materials not provided until later. When I repaired my ship’s hyperdrive and expanded my inventory slots No Man’s Sky felt much more inviting. At the same time, I felt like I had seen a large chunk of what the game had to offer. Not enough for me to stop playing, but enough where it became more of a mindless grind, one which left me with the game up on one screen and a movie on the other.
The visuals have a nice surreal quality to them, providing exotic landscapes and noxious skies on most planets. I did notice a few graphical glitches, though they did not detract from the overall experience. The music, ambient and sparse, had me playing my own songs. With a game as large as this I can see why they chose this but for me it didn’t do much.
If you found me on the street and asked if I would recommend this one, I’d probably shrug. For me No Man’s Sky started off confusing and grew mildly boring as I grew better at navigating space and planets. Maybe survival games such as these aren’t quite my thing, but it didn’t do a whole lot for me once the novelty wore off. It felt like a grind, with plants and rocks acting as resilient grass which needs to be cut and the universe floating beyond your reach begging to be mowed.