There was a ludicrous amount of hype behind No Man’s Sky before it’s release. It won best in show at E3 like 4 years in a row remember? Hello Games said that NMS would revolutionize gaming and claimed it would be the biggest game ever made. They weren’t wrong, but they weren’t right either.
Previously on LOST
No Man’s Sky opens with the player waking up next to a crashed ship on a random planet. You are prompted to repair your ship to leave the planet by gathering resources. The game is built around getting to the center of the galaxy. You are never explicitly told this however. After the game walks you through resource gathering to get off the starter planet, you are tossed out into the universe without any real guidance. I do actually like this, it reminds me a lot of Zelda 1. I enjoy games that tell you to just fucking figure it out. No Man’s Sky doesn’t have a very important component that’s needed to pull this off though. IT has no semblance of a story at all. In Zelda 1, you knew you needed to rescue Zelda and had to complete dungeons as a result. No Man’s Sky tells you to go to the center of the galaxy, but why? There’s no reason to, or at least no reason that’s known.
Where Am I?
The biggest gripe that I and everyone else has with NMS is the lack of real content. All the game boils down to is mining resources on planets to get closer to the center of the galaxy. It’s really interesting and fun for a couple hours, but that’s all the game is. That’s it. Keep in mind taking a straight path to the galactic core will take about 40-50 hours of gameplay. Yeesh. All the game’s planets are randomly generated which has some mixed results. Some planets are incredibly lush and diverse, others are just nothing. Overall most planets seem to be bland clones of each other. I don’t want to be unreasonable and demand that every planet be as lifelike as possible considering that there are essentially infinite worlds in the game, but in 40 hours of playing I didn’t find one world that made me say “wow”. Now kudos must be given where due, because NMS is unfathomably huge. Even if some stuff is bland, I have never seen a game on this scale. It’s truly very impressive.
The best part of No Man’s Sky is the art style. On a technical level it’s not the prettiest game ever made, but it is a very nice thing to look at. The semi-cartoon art style and bright color palate can create some beautiful worlds and creatures to look at. The art style is something that makes me wish the rest of the game was better. On top of all else, No Man’s Sky runs like balls. On both PC and PS4 it has been rife with framerate issues, freezes, crashes and a painfully small FOV. Sadly at the end of the day, it looks like No Man’s Sky shipped like most AAA games these days; unfinished. Some of these issues were patched in the first few days, but for fucks sake, finish your game!
Should You Care?
Yes and No. No Man’s Sky isn’t great. It doesn’t live up to half of what was promised. However, some of No Man’s Sky’s features are revolutionary in their own right. There hasn’t been a game this big. Ever. The randomly generated planets are a great idea, if executed poorly. No Man’s Sky makes me excited for the future of gaming. It paints a great picture of the heights this medium can go to. I see No Man’s Sky as a very big tech demo. Do I regret paying $66 for it? Yes. Do I regret playing it for 40 hours? I don’t really know. If you see it on sale for a good price then go for it. No Man’s Sky is a weird game, but it’s a weird game that makes me excited for weird games to come. Let me know what you thought of NMS in the comments.