I think the problem with people being unhappy with No Man’s Sky is because of their own expectations. People were expecting that No Man’s Sky is the game to end all games. Maybe for some it is. People were expecting a small team of about 15 people to churn out a huge AAA title. Ultimately, that’s not what No Man’s Sky is. If you expected it not to be a bit buggy, you’ll be a bit wrong. No Man’s Sky is the passion project of Hello Games’ lead programmer and founder, Sean Murray. And personally, I think he made an amazing game that I’ll be playing for a long long time. Sean Murray himself describes No Man’s Sky as a “chill sci-fi space exploration game”. And that’s what No Man’s Sky is. And I love it.
No Man’s Sky has a procedurally generated universe, with star systems and planet-sized planets; approximately 18 quintillion of them. That’s 18,000,000,000,000,000,000 different planets. That’s impossibly huge. In fact, 99.9% of the planets in No Man’s Sky will never be visited. Not only that, but planets are typically teeming with life to discover, resources to mine, and aliens to trade and interact with. It’s amazing. Hello Games built their own universe. A universe I spent about 14 hours in yesterday.
But what do you do in No Man’s Sky? An infamous question before the game was released, but now something that can be answered for certain. When you first start up No Man’s Sky, you’ll discover that you’ve crashed your ship on a random planet near the edge of the galaxy. You’ll have to find resources to repair your ship, and it also serves as a nice tutorial. While you’re on planets you can mine for resources which you an then use to repair your ship, upgrade your ship, exosuit, and multitool (your gun/mining laser), or just collect to sell to traders. You can also document the wildlife, once your multitool is up to snuff, rewarding you with units, No Man’s Sky’s currency, which you can then use to buy the things you need, upgrade your exosuit’s holding capacity, buy a new multitool, or buy a new ship altogether. On each planet tons of things are hidden and waiting to be discovered, like depots and trading posts, but also monoliths and knowledge stones, enabling you to learn alien languages, which will help you when interacting with the different alien races. Until you learn some important words, you’ll have to use the alien’s visual descriptions to try and figure out what they want.
So eventually you’ll repair your ship and take to the sky, where you can choose to be a pirate, attacking cargo ships and stealing their goods, or help out those freighters and take down said pirates. Alternatively, unless the pirates attack you, you can choose to leave that whole issue alone. You can visit other planets and moons, or you can upgrade your ship with a hyperdrive and warp fuel and take off to another system altogether. You can explore freely, choose to head to the center of the galaxy, or follow the strange Atlas anomalies. Ultimately, it’s your adventure.
Progression is No Man’s Sky is very slow, not that that’s a bad thing. You’ll be aiming to get the best ship and multitool with the most slots which you can use for cargo or upgrades, and slowly level up your exosuit for the same reasons. These are usually pretty rare or expensive, so progression is bit-by-bit. Speaking of upgrades, that’s another form of progression, getting your multitool to be a powerful Sentinal killer (which may chase you if you upset the balance of a planet, which you’ll do a lot, like it or not), or a rugged mining tool, based on how you want to play. There are also a number of milestones that you can reach, and the game will alert you when you have. Learning each alien word is a bit of progression too. It’s slow, but in a good way. At a point you can look back on all the upgrades and stuff you’ve acquired and go, “I’ve come pretty far”.
Personally, I’m loving No Man’s Sky. It’s relaxed, it’s fun and it’s interesting. I’d love to hear what others think of it in the comments.