Going back a few years, the eagerly anticipated No Man’s Sky from Hello Games stopped on PlayStation 4 and Steam with many flocking to buy it physically and digitally, as the hype train well and truly had everyone on board. Sean Murray of Hello Games had promised a lot to fans, and given that Hello Games are an Indie outfit, this was a tall order and given the scope of the game, everyone expected them to deliver. Needless to say, these promises weren’t delivered and the backlash that Sean and Hello Games faced in the resulting storm left a sour taste in everybody’s mouth. Now in the present day, No Man’s Sky has arrived on Xbox One, along with updates and fixes to improve the experience, and yours truly has had time to finally invest many hours into No Man’s Sky. Is it finally what people wanted? I can’t say for sure, as I never played it on PlayStation or Steam. But there has been a lot of changes from what I can gather.
First of all, I want to say that despite the negative backlash, I still wanted to play No Man’s Sky as it was something that interested me no end. A vast universe to explore in that very sense of the word. It really is a universe full of star systems to explore, planets to discover and some alien races that you can interact with during your journey of discovery. Am I impressed with what Hello Games have to offer? You’re damn right I am. Their previous titles which comprise of the rather fun Joe Danger series sits on my HDD for when I fancy something a bit different, and I do wonder what influences the jump from a Trials styled racing game to a full on universe to explore. That train of thought shows the ambition that Sean Murray and co had, and creating something of that scope is not an easy task.
With a claimed 18 quintillion planets, there is a fair bit of content on offer, allowing you to explore to your hearts content. Ok, it’s more like several truck loads, but you catch my drift I’m sure. Starting off a random planet, you get a series of small tutorial missions to help you get accustomed to the game and how everything works. If you’re not sure of some controls, then they’re in the menu options. But it’s not difficult. The layout was fine for me, and it feels right. After a bit of work, your starship will be ready to blast off your humble beginning world and take to the stars. I had to start a second time though, as my first save had a starting planet that pretty much cooked me on Gas Mark 8 and made life rather troublesome. Along with radiation, toxicity and cold weather, some planets are hostile for human life before you take into account the local wildlife and even sentient plant life. Although I found that living creatures are few and far between for my liking. Unless I’ve not discovered the right planets yet, which at just under 20 in my name, means I still have plenty of solar systems to visit. So still time yet.
Now, travel can be done in four ways. Your normal slow speed acceleration, your thrusters or Pulse Drive. The latter sees you hurtling between planets, space stations and the like making your journeys a lot shorter. I didn’t notice the message about pulse drive at first and spent quarter of an hour travelling to a planet with the trustees engaged, and that can be boring even if it’s pretty to look at. But once you have added fuel for the drive, travel becomes so quick that you’ll never bother with the other options for the majority of your time. So that’s three forms of travel, and the last one is Warp Drive, and for this you’re going to have to craft a Warp Cell. Not the most difficult of items to craft thankfully, but you will need a portable refiner to throw some Carbon in for one of the two items that make the cell. Once that’s been installed on your ship, you are now free to warp to another star system via your star map, and it’s here where you can see just how massive the game really is; with hundreds of them surrounding you at great distance, you’ve got your work cut out for yourself, but baby steps is required. You can’t just go flying off in any direction, as there is a series of missions for you to complete with main and side missions available once you find them.
As mentioned earlier, there are alien races. The Korvax; who are a sentient inorganic race that value information. Vy’keen; who remind me of the Krogan from Mass Effect, but happen to be more about honour than their Bioware counterparts. Gek; are small and stubby creatures that for the most part come over very friendly and helpful so long as you’re willing to trade with them. Their language will be a mess of letters that make no sense whatsoever at first, and this may be a put off for those who want to interact with them. However, there’s always a way to find out what they’re saying. Offering items to them for knowledge when aboard a space station is one way, along with stones found on planets can help no end so long as you are willing to spend time searching for them. Gradually, these alien beings will start to make sense upon interacting with them, and it won’t be a quick affair either, but it’s definitely worth investing time into this portion of the game.
The main story missions are certainly worth exploring, with a lost soul in desperate need of your help. I became quite invested at this part, and as much as I wanted to see to the freighter whose Captain gifted it to me for saving his behind, and subsequently sent off on missions for credits and the like, I felt compelled to help the being who’s name I’ll leave out for now, but unravelling the backstory piece by piece giving you a sense of purpose in this lonely universe.
Aside from playing through the bulk of the game, there’s more that’s been incorporated since its initial August 2016 release. There is no a multiplayer aspect, where people can join your world allowing you to join forces, but my random partner decided to park his starship on mine and left me stuck. Needless to say, I’d rather play with a friend who has the same goal as me. Even if you’re not working through the missions, you can even build a base of operations should you have the resources to do so. But if you don’t wish to worry about that, then there is always the creative mode in which to build to your hearts content. Given I’m a huge fan of creative mode in Minecraft, this is appealing to me and many others I’m sure, as it makes the game even more relaxed than before.
Since its debut back in 2016, Hello Games have worked tirelessly to make the game a better experience for all. The backlash has died down now, and gamers are giving No Man’s Sky a chance once again, which it fully deserves. The hate was unjustified, as were the threats. Sure, the game released wasn’t the full realisation of what the studio originally intended, but we are getting there now, and there is so much to discover, and many hours to fully invest into what is an absolute gem of a game. It’s been a rough ride and a long learning process, but I’m positive and supportive of No Man’s Sky and Hello Games ability to continually support them both.
Developer: Hello Games
Publisher: 505 Games
Release Date: 24th July 2018
File Size: 7.82GB
Available on PlayStation 4, Xbox One & Steam