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No Man’s Sky – Game Review (PC Version)

No Man’s Sky – Game Review (PC Version)
No Man’s Sky (PC [Reviewed], PS4)
Developer: Hello Games
Publisher: Hello Games

No Man’s Sky is a procedurally generated first person sci-fi game that is almost entirely focused on exploration and discovery.

You fly around in your ship, exploring planets, and the vastness of space. Land on the planets to discover new technologies, meet new aliens, learn their languages, and analyze and catalog a wide variety of plants and animals across the universe. The amount of content to explore is completely mindblowing, and if you love exploring just for the sake of it, there is a lot to do. However, there is also a lot of repetition, and potential monotony that will likely turn a lot of people off of the game.

Pros:
  • excellent exploration game with tons of planets for those who simply love to explore without needing a reason to, or those who enjoy collecting everything
  • survival aspects are usually fairly easy to manage, and don’t feel like a burden; on some planets with extreme conditions, upgrades to your suit are extremely beneficial
  • a good amount of technology upgrades for your tool, ship, and suit to discover
  • decent crafting system because it’s easy to follow, and very clear about what materials are still needed
  • ground combat is alright; it isn’t difficult, and it can keep you on your toes on some planets
  • the game looks beautiful; it’s absolutely gorgeous with the many vibrant colours on the environments both on land and in space – many of the visuals feel fresh and exciting
  • there’s a wide variety of ship designs and colours, and it’s great that you can buy any ship that you encounter if you can afford it
  • many of the creature designs are unique, and some are very strange looking
  • the audio is decent; the music and ambience are enjoyable
  • the voice dialog in the alien languages is a neat feature, and it’s interesting that you can learn words to understand different alien languages
Cons:
  • doesn’t seem to have a persistent story, or any missions to give the player objectives – I’m trying to get to the centre of the universe, but I don’t really know why (I generally enjoy exploration, but I need to have purpose, or incentive to explore)
  • for those who get tired of exploring, and want to get to the centre, progress feels much too slow and underwhelming
  • could use better tutorials because there isn’t much that explains how things work, or what you should do, and you have to figure things out as you go
  • no option to start a new game
  • major lack of save slots (there are only two slots for your most recent auto-saves); the option to manually save would be a great addition as well
  • technology upgrades take up inventory space, and items that are not resources don’t stack
  • after a while of playing, most of the technology items found are duplicates of things already known, and it’s very discouraging to be rewarded with basically nothing after searching many new locations; duplicate technology should be removed, or at least give a decent amount of currency reward instead
  • crafting certain items can become very tedious, and inconvenient (for example: to make one warp fuel, you have to craft each of the previous items individually before making the final product even if you have all the mats)
  • there is no way to buy the technology patterns you actually want, and you need to be lucky to get it by random chance discovery (I’m mainly referring to the warp drive technology upgrades because you need specific types of warp drive upgrades in order to jump to certain types of solar systems that are supposedly more rich in resources)
  • targeting reticule is small and sometimes hard to see, so I often was using the building directional icon as my reticule by mistake when trying to target things (I’d like to see the building icons moved further away from the reticule, or other reticule options)
  • air combat is very annoying especially close to the planet surface; it feels awkward trying to dogfight, and the ship movement and controls feel sluggish (dogfighting in Planetside 2 is much, much more fun than the air combat in No Man’s Sky)
  • bug where three separate anomalies that were supposed to be black holes, but they never showed up on my galactic map at all
  • galactic map is a nuisance to use: selecting the jump route is a huge pain, and the map view changes on you every time you look at a new location, so it’s easy to get disoriented (I wish there was a way to just jump max distance possible more easily)
  • some assets that heavily overused: the space stations are all practically identical on the inside, most of the enemies you encounter are the same, many of the plants and resource structures are the same from one planet to the next, and building designs are repetitive, and it’s not very satisfying to discover the exact same buildings over and over on every single planet
  • I didn’t experience any graphical bugs, but I did encounter some periodic frame drops, a few crashes to desktop, and a couple other times where I started lagging so badly that I had to restart the game for it to be playable again
  • some other annoyances that the game has: 1. when you save at an outpost, there is basically the same animation every single time, 2. when you encounter aliens (without even talking to them yet) the change to letterbox is completely unnecessary, 3. targeting reticule is small and sometimes hard to see, so I often was using the building directional icon as my reticule by mistake when trying to target things (I’d like to see the building icons moved further away from the reticule, or other reticule options), and 4. the most annoying of all is when the journey milestone achievements popup, you have to wait for all the spammy popups to go away before you can start playing again
Conclusion:

No Man’s Sky is most certainly a game about the journey and not the end. It is not a game that will appeal to everyone. I enjoyed the game for about 10 hours or so, and after that I decided to head towards the centre. In total, I wound up playing for over 27 hours, but the last 12 hours felt so painful, and incredibly tedious. Progress to the centre feels too slow and underwhelming, and I am not even close to getting there. The game has a lot of content, but lacks purpose, and gets repetitive. For people who enjoy collectibles, and exploring just for the sake of exploring, they’ll likely get a lot of enjoyment out of the game, even at full price. On the other hand, if you aren’t keen on exploring endlessly, then this is probably not the game for you, especially at its hefty price tag. No Man’s Sky has a ton of potential, but there is definitely room for improvement.

Rating:

50
  • Bob Dobblena

    Fuck this game! Sooo repetitive, I wanted to finish but I lost the will.