No Man’s Sky ($ 59.99) is a game with two faces. On the one hand there is an extensive science fiction game, beautiful and completely new. The other is a trivial, task-based experience that you might not hold back for long. Playing No Man’s Sky is like nothing, but you’ve played multiple times in individual gameplay. The release is a long story of anticipation and promise, both delivered and broken, and so is the game as it appears at the launch and will remain a source of division. However, the legitimate complaints about its subsystems and the perceived shortage of activities are overshadowed by the actual experience of playing the game, disappearing in the background as a minor nuisance while being immersed in new extraterrestrial worlds – the real thrust of the game: No Man’s Sky is a completely unique, engaging, beautiful and yes, imperfect experience that evokes the sensations of discovery and discovery as never before, and it is worth it to get lost among stars. I played the PC version of the game, but it is also available on PlayStation 4.
Perhaps more than any other game in recent memory, No Man’s Sky seems almost impossible to unravel the hype and anticipation around the release. Despite the relatively modest beginnings and the small development team, the excitement associated with this title puts it in a difficult position to meet very high expectations, and so the context of the release and exams must be addressed. Much of the confusion about what No Man’s Sky can be attributed precisely to Hello Games’ own statements, a studio that naturally promoted its passion project in the hope of a first interest, but had no specific explanation about mechanics. Some of the promised or teasing functions are not in the launch version of the game – although I do not assume malice here.
Another factor, which really crystallizes by looking at the launch of the previous version of PlayStation 4, is a large number of potential fans who project their own wishes and preferences on the ideal version of the game over the real project under development. This seems to be more than usual with No Man’s Sky because the basic concept of the pre-release – an amazingly large computer-controlled galaxy to explore – is so intrinsically attractive and grandiose that it appears to be a blank canvas to paint with the colors of your own gender preferences. But that simply can not be all for everyone.
Director Sean Murray and his team had their own vision in mind, ultimately a specific artwork that the studio wanted to create. Expectations vary enormously between potential players (think of the many people who have used little or no pre-launch report and therefore do not have a colorful view of what the game has or did not provide) that it could not have been evaluated in the context of the game. What should be, or that someones pre-order was justified. The best way to critically examine No Man’s Sky – the only honest way, I would say – is to take all this and evaluate our own experiences with the game we presented at launch.
A small step for humans
Your journey begins at the foot of a small hunter, and it quickly becomes clear that this spaceship is yours. Before you can board and shoot at the stars, you will be told that the ship needs several repairs, so you really have to go to the starting environment to consider your options. An immense landscape stretches in all directions, flooded with different colors and dotted with foreign flora. I can not describe what it sounds like for you, the genius of No Man’s Sky: there are 18 quintillions of planets to explore – a truly incredible number of places in the game – so each player’s starting point will be different. Mine was a sort of heavenly planet, with bright green grass blowing gently in the wind, rolling hills and flamboyant plants in the valleys.
This vertiginous number of planets means that they were not made by hand by the developers, but rather procedurally generated by an algorithm that the studio did, similar to the way the Minecraft site unfolds before you (more on the planets themselves and their crucial roles later). Unlike Minecraft, each game file is not a newly generated world: each No Man’s Sky player exists in a shared universe, which means that it is possible to stumble on a planet that has been discovered and named by another player. The probability of this is low (I did not find any place in the game in my 30 hours) and there is no real multiplayer that can disappoint some, but a fully cooperative game is not a function to which I expected, and I think I contradict the full sense of the desperate loneliness of No Man’s heaven. It is you and your ship against a desperately large galaxy that sometimes finds a company in NPCs that are more concerned with their own tasks than with their integration into their plans. The names left by other players are simply breaths in the universe, such as cryptic messages that have been hidden in ancient ruins that gradually tell you about the world around you.
From your ship to search for resources is tight, and is the first extension of the scope of the game No Man’s Sky imposes on you. Every facet of your environment is not known terrain to the atmosphere potentially dangerous, and what seems like the resources you need in the environment. The indigenous animals roam the landscape, and your multi-tool is your only method of defence, in more than one way. Digitization of wild animals, also generated by the mathematics of the game, as part of a set of rules that give you information about their diet and temperament while fulfilling your basic life forms of data. Regular laser flow multiple instrument serves both mine for minerals, which appear as natural formations of different texture and color in the landscape, and as a method of struggle. You can spend resources as you upgrade to the device, including a boltcaster mode that uses a more powerful gun and faster raw material extraction.
You can find what you need simply by moving: every planet has the same basic materials needed to survive (although they take different forms) and unique combinations of rare materials that do not occur elsewhere. This is a good system because it does not let you down, but gives an uncertainty about what will happen in the coming ridge on every planet. Each planet also shares a form of abandoned ruins, research facilities and other landmarks, representing different types of rewards and results.
The menu informs you about the amount of carbon, and other minerals héroïdium both real and fictitious is needed to repair your ship. It is a balancing act because you use the same materials to your life support bar that always break down, as you do for ammunition, fuel and upgrades to recharge. The user interface is similar to Destiny with a slider interface and press buttons and retention to make selections. That makes sense at times, but generally, the recording makes you wonder why they did not opt for a layout of the traditional box-to-box inventory. Juggle the stocks of your combination and the ship is often a problem, especially with the limited number of departure slots. There is less micromanagement if you buy more space, but this is a very complex system because you learn how it works.
Mining is quite common and your enjoyment may ultimately depend on your tolerance to pull a laser into the rocks and see how your material is going to increase. I argue, however, that this aspect is no less useless than crushing materials and looting in an RPG, or cutting cubes in Minecraft – two of the most common activities in all games. However, it must be said that these mechanics represent a lot of what annoys the players about No Man’s Sky, just as they rightly criticize other genres, because the mining occupies part of your time and is not not particularly exciting. Makko’s poorly received Makko collection in the original massive effect was the other experience that came to mind when I was looking for minerals in unexplored worlds, a comparison that this concept will not be the most expensive for most ( although this attractive, larger planets have a lot more for them).
But in the same way that you would not describe or praise the Bioware RPG first by its mechanics by heart, No Man’s Sky is more than the sum of its parts. Mid-cooked fights and unpleasant stock management become less of a pang when a whole new world is unfolding for you, small roadblocks for the sake of discovery. No Man’s Sky rewards a more patient and deliberate game: there is nowhere to rush, but there is a lot to see and the range becomes really obvious when your ship is ready to shoot in the stars.
Do not go to this good night
The feeling of shooting through the atmosphere never disappears. Once your ship makes a space flight again and you have your fuel at hand (Plutonium, a common resource in the field), you’re free to come on any planet and fly free as you wish. The engines roar and the excellent soundtrack of the 65daysofstatic British band, which ranges from moody piano to more rock-inspired riffs, changes the speeds you lift through the atmosphere and space. Depending on the galaxy, other large planets can rise near or far, on a vague background of an arbitrary number of colors and a large number of stars. The paths of your adventure are endless, whether you want to go to the centre of the Milky Way by Hyperdrive or give a helping hand to the planet right in front of you. Each galaxy on the vast map of the Milky Way contains different planets inside, and each one is as varied as the one you started on. You can see the systems the way they are connected to travel – with one or more branching breaks leading to another star – or observe the entire galaxy in a free flight camera mode, a feature that reminds you of the huge size of the universe of games as the width of the universe grows.
Each system has a space station that serves as a commercial center and shipping location, as well as a guaranteed interface for interaction with the alien faction that controls that area. An NPC is inside, just like some buildings on the planetside, offering short conversations and the chance to win a reward or improve your position if you choose the right option. There are usually three choices, and responding to certain interactions requires conjecture while responses to others are referred to subtle clues. Rarely, the result is clearly negative and you get a slight bonus, a good reward or nothing, depending on your selection. It’s another simple system, but a system that usually sends you something new to discover.
The three factions have their own attitude and their own worldview, which you can gradually infer from messages and directions. Pirates sometimes take part in your ship, so you can not jump and push them back is a tense but simple exchange. You can upgrade your ship’s shields and weapons, or buy a ship with superior firepower, although there is little to be gained from seeking air combat. If all the shots in the air or on the ground are lost, a grave will arise, where you have the chance to come back to recover your inventory. From space, you can go to one of these stations with your faster pulse engines, jump star systems with your Hyperdrive or hit a planetary surface. The darkness of space is your silent launching pad for different adventure paths.
Even after working to escape the chains of the earth for the first time, there is an immediate and hungry temptation to visit another planet. The thought that each planet will look different and feel differently – even with shared similarities – and offers enough ground to fly to a far-off destination on the other side of the planet, can take half an hour of real time , something what you need to see you. .
And so, you launch your ship at full speed, quickly to the surface, burning while you tear the air. The type of terrain that is only suggested from space is concentrated when you approach the ground, which may contradict your assumptions about what lies below. For example, what seemed like an ocean from afar seemed to be light bluegrass when I approached me. This moment No Man’s Sky is at its best. Hitting and getting out of your cockpit evokes a sense of wonder when you see what kind of terrain, weather and native life the game has given you.
The landing on a second celestial body further widens this reach of the game; it is a scale that is almost difficult to consider. Landing on another planet is more revealing, more revealing of the size of the game than seeing the map of the galaxy, because it is only then that you realize the meaning of each galaxy that awaits you. As mentioned, there are a lot of questions about what the players do in No Man’s Sky – and of course, some features and pleats were explicitly or implicitly suggested by Murray and the previous trailers did not make the version, but the answer is simple: exactly what you see. Arriving, exploring and observing hundreds of new worlds is the meat of the game. It’s also what Murray has tried to do several times during the interviews and erase it by asking “what else? lacks the experience point and vision of the manufacturer. This may not be enough for those looking for prescribed activities and complex and deep systems, but it’s rewarding, exciting and valuable in itself. Money, minerals and upgrades are the means to reach a goal: the real currency in which No Man’s Sky negotiates is a moment of beauty and unique fear, the ability to move forward and see more.
Planets, programming and past
Exploring the game would not work without the power of the algorithm and the work of Hello Games in this area is an unequivocal technical success. Planets do not feel reunited with random parts, but built in a coherent way, although the code did the work, and on previously invisible numbers. Arid, rocky surfaces are often combined with irradiated climates, a sickly purple landscape that physically and visually repels you. The snow falls gently on the frozen planets, while some are dominated by large bodies of water and suitably endowed with fauna with fins. Still others do not fit into a standard archetype, but feel completely alien through strange clusters of plant life, sudden heat storms, and rare minerals. All the while, appropriate music, often serene, flickers in the background as you absorb the landscape. The sound design as a whole adds significantly to the immersion, from the roar of your boat’s engine to the roaring wind, the resonant footsteps of the cave walls and the deafening silence.
Radiation slowly loses the levels of protection in your suit, as does extreme heat, cold and toxicity, giving you a little more threats and not getting too far away from your ship or shelter. Survival mechanisms are somewhat edentulous – it will not take long to always have sufficient resources to maintain your resistance – but you never leave the feeling of an oppressive atmosphere. Like many mechanics of the game, it is simple in itself, but has a greater purpose in building the world and stimulating the imagination.
A separate story that is largely based on a story about the environment, connects the game with each other and offers just enough early advice and mystery during the rest of the game. It starts early, related to instructions for building your first Hyperdrive and continues into space as you search the mysterious Atlas. Every possible result of this trip is unknown to me, but it is an alternative way to follow the track to the center of the galaxy. It is also related to the only real characters in the game, the fun and well-written Nada and Polo explorers, as well as the artefacts and messages you find on the surface. If you pay attention to the dialogue of this couple, you will find a nod to the nature of the No Man’s Sky universe.
You can learn different word text-fact samples from old stones and ruins on the surfaces of the planet, as well as NPCs that help you read messages and make conversations. In the course of time, recurring themes and reflections about the Sentinels (the robot guards who roam around every planet) come together to weave vague but consistent traditions. This way of telling creates the feeling that you are present in an inhabited universe formed by the events of the past, even if other intelligent lives are rare and your role is unclear. Although I have not achieved it myself, there is a final goal on this path, but even if you are not looking for the conclusion, the hidden information is another reason to explore, and another facet intriguing of the universe. Your insignificance as a lonely traveller is made overwhelming by the physical space around you, but also by an intangible feeling of not belonging to this world, constantly searching for answers, looking for a place.
“I did not feel like a giant, I felt very, very small.” – Neil Armstrong
The journey of No Man’s Sky ensures that every player continues in this way, goes from planet to planet, from system to system through the galaxy, picks up resources to buy a bigger ship, a better multi-tool, a better exosuit . powerful. more efficient exploration. For the many claims about what this game could or should be, it is clear and specially built around the exact sensation of discovery that it has always promised, and encourages you to enjoy every new environment and find a flow of infinite borders. The magic of putting a foot in a new world persists with every landing, even though your new routines and actions are similar when you learn to recognize mineral formations and types of buildings – little comfort against the insurmountable chasms of space.