You’ve found yourself alone on an unknown planet. Your life support is failing, and your ship is in complete disrepair. The elements surrounding you are foreign, yet somehow familiar. This is the stage set for you when starting a new journey into Hello Games’ latest release, No Man’s Sky. It is also the first major title from the indie studio. Originally slated for a June 2016 release, eager gamers had to wait until August 9 until the game finally released.
Each player begins on a uniquely random planet, home to its own native species of flora and fauna, as well as unique natural resources. The player’s only clear objective is to repair your inoperable ship and blast off into space.
The playable universe is impossibly huge, forcing players to be wary of their resources when traveling long distances. Your primary tool for exploring is your map, which shows you the path to the center of the universe. Whether or not you warp along these star systems is completely optional, as the player is left to freely explore as far as desired in any direction. Players will also be hard pressed to pass up the lore found while exploring through the universe. Many alien races inhabit the planets you visit, each with their own languages that you can learn one word at a time.
No Man’s Sky brings an entirely new experience to gaming, ushering in a more patient, meditative approach to space exploration. It presents the truly perfect feeling of being secluded, and alone, in space. It’s a relaxing, easy, and notably easy-going game.
The game has received panned reviews. While most critics agree that the technical achievement of the game’s engine is unique and likely to improve with upcoming DLC’s that are sure to expand on the story as well as the mechanical features of the game, the negative reviews speak to the bragadocious and perhaps overly-ambitious promises that simply were not delivered with this initial release.
After 20+ hours of gameplay, I feel like I’ve almost seen it all. I still wander a bit when I find a nice-looking planet, but I no longer diligently hunt down every icon on the screen: I already know what I’ll find. This is mainly because these destinations I visited on the varying planets and moons – outposts,
monoliths, facilities, and even space and trading ports – are present on every other planet and are all essentially the same. They are also notably empty of NPC’s (and real players alike). It’s also worth noting that surviving a cold planet is exactly the same as surviving a radioactive or dangerously hot one.. These repetitive aspects of the game start to seem rather mundane after some time. Ultimately No Man Sky is a game that is miles wide but only an inch deep… so far.
We here at the Ganja Gazette are looking forward to the expanded content that is sure to come to the game but we suggest you start saving your nickels now. No Man’s Sky retails for a full $60 on PC and PS4 for what seems like an unfinished game. Although the co-creator and spokesman for the game, Sean Murray, originally said just weeks ago that all new content would come in the form of free patches he has since walked back a bit and said that ruling out paid DLC may have been “naive”. Only time will tell for this truly monumental game.