No Man’s Sky was originally one of the most anticipated games set to release in 2016. Offering players the chance to fulfill their dreams of exploring the universe and actually being able to go to various planets and systems to explore and set up bases, the levels of hype for the game were soon out of control. Expectations were increasing as the release date closed in, and when that day finally came, many were disappointed.
The game’s original version felt like a mere husk of what players were expecting and promised by Hello Games. Space and planet exploration was delivered, but there was very little in the way of playing online, and the game was soon very repetitive as well. While I had not been there for the original launch, I was for the release to Xbox, and from both reviews and watching gameplay; the tutorial was nasty for beginning players. The game had a lot to teach, but the tutorial didn’t cover enough to really help get a player going. It definitely didn’t help that the player almost always started on a somewhat hostile planet too.
To say that players were not happy was an understatement. So much had been promised, and the expectations were so high… As a result, there was serious backlash against Hello Games and, in particular, Sean Murray. Having been one of the primary reasons the game was so hyped up, Sean faced the brunt of the backlash. We all know how sinister the people on the internet can get when they don’t get their way, and this was no exception. However: rather than just disappear off the face of the earth and let No Man’s Sky die, Hello Games instead went to work on fixing their game dramatically.
Since the seemingly catastrophic launch of No Man’s Sky, the game has seen several massive updates and a multitude of patches. Players now could actually play online with others and could even randomly stumble across others in the galaxy. There was the addition of the Anomaly, which was a hub for players seeking to play together, community events, more customizations, a better tutorial, new planets and planet types, more creatures and pets, and so much more. Having played during the waning stages of the rough beginnings, all these updates vastly improved my experience in the game. Not everything was perfect, obviously, but it was a massive improvement. Many gamers appreciated Hello Games’ efforts to fix their mistakes.
With that mini-rant out of the way, I’ll give my opinion on the game. I love it! This is a game that I, and many others, have wanted since watching movies and TV shows like Star Wars and Star Trek. Being able to explore space, build bases on various worlds, interact with aliens and animals, and playing with friends and randoms that you can randomly stumble across in the galaxy filled a void many of us were desperately looking to fill. No Man’s Sky is by no means perfect, however. There are a few flaws as well.
The Pros: The sheer size of the game is a big pro. You could never visit every single system in a single galaxy, much less all the galaxies. That allows you to have entire systems to yourself if you wanted. The variety is also a big plus, with multiple planet types, designs, and layouts, and multiple animal species, ships, and freighters as well; the variety is pretty amazing for a game that runs on older consoles. The atmosphere (pun not intended) of the game is also perfect. You have this lonely, isolated, and insignificant feeling in this massive game. Even when you’re with others, you still feel like a very small part of the galaxy. Community members are very helpful, and it’s common to find mining equipment set up around the galaxy by other players for your benefit and bases for you to enjoy while taking shelter. Being able to build your own base, customizing your freighter, space battles with your fighter, and the general exploration gameplay are all pros as well.
The Cons: Yes, the game is still kinda complicated. I’ve helped a few of my friends learn the game, and I had to suffer through the tutorial in the dark days by myself. The game can also be repetitive as well, as you’re constantly going from planet to planet, space station to space station, and from base to base. The missions and side-missions aren’t really all that compelling, though the main story can prod at your more sensitive side at certain parts. The customizations are nice, but there are some things you cant customize that you really wish you could, such as your fighter’s paint job. At least we can repaint our freighters finally. Also, you can only play with four others in your group, though you can come across many more people in the galaxy that aren’t in your group.
In my ever-so-humble opinion, No Man’s Sky and Hello Games recovered well from the fiasco at launch. The game is tons of fun for hours on end, though it can get repetitive. There is plenty of challenge for those who love to struggle and a sandbox mode for those who just want to enjoy the game without difficulties. The community is very kind and supportive, which is almost unheard of in most online games. Possibly due to the lack of PvP. I won’t do a number rating system for my reviews, so I’ll simply say I would definitely buy this game if you’re into space exploration and are a sci-fi nerd like me. There are also occasional free-to-play events occasionally to try before you buy. My advice is to maybe start in Sandbox to get a general understanding of the game, then move on to the standard game modes.