I step out from the cave, using my jetpack to blast me across the ravine to where my ship has been parked. Toxic rain falls on my exosuit, slowly melting away its Suppressors. I?m carrying a full inventory of Vortex Cubes, which fetch a pretty price at the space station floating above planet ?VotexCubesInCaves.? Not the most creative name?I know?but it fits, and I was the first person to land on this planet so I can name it whatever I want. This is No Man?s Sky.
The second property to come out of indie developer Hello Games, No Man?s Sky is an exploration game with near infinite planets to traverse. During their adventure, players will have to survive environmental hazards, predatory wildlife, and an intergalactic security force?the sentinels. While an end-goal of traveling to the center of the universe is placed in front of the player, there isn?t much pressure at arriving there. Truly, the game is in the journey.
No Man?s Sky is an ambitious game. Made by a team of approximately a dozen people, it delivers over 18-quintillion planets to explore, using a unique ?superformula? to craft them all. Everything from the planet?s size to atmosphere are shaped by the algorithm, leading to near infinite variation within the game. A mostly water planet filled with terrifying sea-creatures? I?ve seen it. A planet with broccolini-like monsters that happily hop through a massive underground cave system? I?ve seen that, too.
Despite there not being a ?traditional? sort of storyline, No Man?s Sky does a decent job of putting backstory throughout its universe. Scattered across planets are numerous locations that will present lore from one of the sentient alien factions in the game. No matter how you visit these, the legends are laid out in the correct order. This means you don?t have to stress finding early parts of lore on beginning planets or worry about spoiling parts of the story as you near the center of the galaxy.
My favorite part of the game, however, comes from two characters you encounter when exploring the cosmos. While I won?t spoil anything about them, I will say that theirs is the most engaging and intriguing aspect of the No Man?s Sky world. If someone made a narrative-based spin-off starring these two, they would have my money.
Yet, despite having a world where there are seemingly infinite possibilities, No Man?s Sky offers too much of the same. I found myself confused when I explored the first planet outside of my original star-system. Why does this plant on a radioactive planet look exactly the same as the one I had seen on a freezing planet light-years away? Why do they produce the same elements when mined?
The quick answer would be to allow for easier playability. By keeping things visually similar, players can identify them from a distance (who needs a scanner?). Still, this was disappointing. It was like being promised a variety of drink options, then being given an Aquafina, Fiji, and Arrowhead water. Could I at least get a Pellegrino?
And it?s not like No Man?s Sky is a game that is easy to understand. The game?s inventory is a complex system that offers next to no explanation as to how it works. A significant amount of trial and error went into figuring out which items granted bonuses when placed next to each other. All craftable items under ?Protection? were able to link up for bonuses, but only some of those under ?Stamina? do. Additionally, one of several glitches in the release kept me from seeing what Health Modules can pair with, if anything.
Unfortunately, the inability to craft Health Modules was only one of of the frustrations with the software I encountered when journeying through No Man?s Sky. Crashes were pretty frequent, occurring anywhere from two to five times a day during my review time. Several times I crashed when traveling through a black hole, which?while humorous the first time?is unacceptable for a game at launch when so easily replicated. An issue causing items to remain on the screen after they were already looted I found equally annoying.
Over the course of my review, I went through phases of loving and hating No Man?s Sky. At its best, I was flying from planet to planet at the end of a long day. The game is excellent when used to decompress. Sitting and taking in the beauty of a planet is incredibly enjoyable. When you try to advance in the game, however, is when it stops being as blissful.
I spent many hours grinding credits or finding crashed ships to attempt to achieve a slightly better inventory. I would get frustrated after a run of similar planets, and just warp multiple times to get as far away as I could as fast as I could. I would anger sentries just to feel alive.
Overall, No Man?s Sky is a game for the curious. It is best played by gamers not worried if they?ve optimized their ship, or maximized their loadout. There are beautiful worlds out there if you have the patience (and luck) to find them. However, you may want to wait until all the bugs are worked out to do that.
|Publisher: Hello Games ? Developer: Hello Games ? ESRB Date: T – Teen ? Release Date: 08.09.16|
An ambitious game, No Man?s Sky allows gamers to play space-captain across an entire universe of planets. Unfortunately, numerous glitches and monotonous gameplay options make the game frustrating for those desiring something more serious.
|The Good||Endless exploration awaits those with wanderlust.|
|The Bad||Numerous problems from crashes to bugs.|
|The Ugly||The creature I dubbed ?NightmareBear?.|
|No Man’s Sky is available on PS4 and PC. Primary version reviewed was for PS4. Review code was provided by Hello Games for the benefit of this review. EGM reviews games on a scale of 1 to 10, with a 5.0 being average.|