Step into the cover of a beautifully crafted science fiction novel from the 60’s and lose ourselves to the limitations of our attention span. Arguably an ambitious game, but not quite the only one out there that has ambitious greatness in its sights. Greatness in a game is always decide by the consumer of the product. Coming from a fan who has spent countless hours with science fiction games like X3 Reunion or newer titles like Elite Dangerous. They all have scratched an itch of sorts, but nothing to the scale of No Man’s Sky. The simple fact that I can physically put myself into these formerly nonexistent entities. Though a planet is as only as marvelous as that of the NPC’s or the local fauna/flora; or even the ship’s/weaponry that is available for use. It is utterly ambitious and I want to say it pulls it off, but at the same time it has become a game that has left many excited fans disappointed.
The path less traveled: No Man’s Sky is a game unlike anything else before it in the sense that you are not pushed or pressured to ‘beat’ the game. It is a game that allows you to decide what route you wish to take first and foremost. This is a great tool in that it presents players with a choice and how they follow and interact with the game is purely left up to them to decide. Do they push on the path to the center, do they follow Atlus’s guidance or do they simply wander among the stars. The choice in what path you are able to take is a high selling point for both the community and myself. Nothing is better than coming up for a reason or for a story as to why your player character is on the adventure that he or she is on in this epic tale of galactic proportions.
Presenting the players with an option to experience a story is just so excellent in the approach that I find it hard to not enjoy that aspect of this title. Granted others expecting a story that spans countless systems will be utterly depressed to find that the ending is less than they could have possibly hoped for; granted I strongly believe that the community understood the type of game they were getting. However do not go into this title expecting something spectacularly amazing for the end game.
Mechanics that work, decently: Now controls are always a concern and the controls to No Man’s Sky are as solid as they can get. They are easy to remember and they make great use of multiple button combos. What the game doesn’t do quite well is adapting these for better use on the PC version. Yes the key bindings can be altered to the players desire so that way they make more sense, it is just the default control scheme that the game ships with for PC players that makes it an interesting interface. Beyond the slight annoyance it is a solid controlling game. What the game does also do wrong is the fact that it hits you with a low flight wall. One thing that I will gripe about when compared to other trailers is the fact that they went much, much lower to the ground and were able to navigate as they pleased. While you can get low, the game does have a low floor setting that prevents your ship from crashing into obstacles. While this may very well be a design choice, it is frustrating to a fan of flight simulators and those who are used to having free control on the altitude of their crafts.
The combat is sluggish feeling on foot and makes sense in space. Having to fight sentinels and aggressive wildlife on foot is both taxing and like trying fight someone, but your are extremely stiff jointed. Hopefully in future updates we can see an alteration or change in this actual mechanic. Now in terms of actual gameplay the game shines. Having the freedom (once your multitool has the plasma launcher ability) to dig around and interact with the sparse alien locals is just fun. Nothing beats having a full inventory as you desperately try to search for a planet side trade station. Granted the biggest complaint with the gameplay has been the stiff NPC interaction as they are stationary and unmoving. If you ever played a game like X3 Reunion then you are used to the lack of NPC interaction and more or less dealing with NPC’s that are stagnant and just present you with a menu choice. If you can get over the NPC and the odd creature generation, you have a gameplay experience that is pretty open and non-restrictive.
Now, in terms of replay value No Man’s Sky does deliver this in a sense. While I am not here to help with spoilers, I am here to let you know that if you are looking to beat the game it does allow you to simply replay from the very beginning. For some this is an awesome feature and for others it may seem like a wasted value as they will have to work back to what they originally had. While I am not playing the game to beat it this sense of replay value doesn’t ring any bells as I will be that player who just plays the game without any sense of direction or trying to progress with a certain goal in mind.
Is the value worth it & What version to buy: The question that many will often find themselves having to ask when they purchase a new game. This game in particular has a vast galaxy to work with, but for the readily available content this game does come up short. It feels as if the technologies and items that you can find bottom out fairly quickly. Granted this is just my general impression, but it is an impression that you need to be aware of when buying this game and attaching a value to that said item. The value that you are getting for 59.99USD is a good amount, but it is not a fantastic amount. The amount of exploratory and gameplay value however is well worth the cost point; Granted I am again speaking from purely our own perspective and it is a slightly biased one when it comes to the amount of gameplay that you can pull from it’s value. Bear in mind that this title will hopefully have a grand potential for post release content from patches or possibly paid DLC.
When it comes to the choice of what version to buy it will depend on whether or not you own a PS4. PC or Both. Granted, as of this current writing, the PC version of the title is having some issues in regards to stutter and supported driver issues. The version did receive an updated patch and we have yet to verify if this had any effect or change on performance of the game. The PS4 version on the other hand has had great day one success, barring issues of players suffering from crashes. While I did experience a few server side crash issues the game was still playable and had little to no frame rate issues. If you have the option to purchase one I would say to purchase the PS4 version based on performance. If you are willing to weather the storm that is performance issues on PC side then you will have a version of the game that will be open to user modifications.
Final thoughts: The game is a phenomenal piece of RNG. The games ability to throw you in a randomly generated galaxy filled with planets and varied life. While the game’s combat is lackluster on foot it is more than able to make up for it in terms of actual space based combat. While the 59.99USD price is a bit steep for what the game brings to the table it is the hope of future content that keeps me from giving the game a pass on the 59.99USD price. If you still think it is much then give it some time until the game goes on sale for a bit off. If you are here for the story I will say you will be thoroughly disappointed. If you are a fan of large galaxies and numerous planets to explore then this is the title for you.
While not a perfect game it still impresses us with the amount of content to explore and with the hope of future content. (We reviewed this title based on our impressions of the PS4 Version of the game.)
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