As I’ve continued my journey through No Man’s Sky it’s only gotten impressively weirder. Not only do I want to continue playing it at all times, I want to consume myself in it. Hello Games said the game was big, but seriously now that I’m playing it, its big, insanely big. Which for me, works perfectly. No Man’s Sky has lived up to the expectations I had for it, while delivering things I hadn’t expected, being a Sci-fi nerds dream. This is raw, this is old school, and No Man’s Sky is the unexpected that redefines.
When first playing No Man’s Sky one might think, “OK, there’s not much going on here. Yeah, it has space flight and things look crazy, but other than that it’s pretty bland.” It’s the exact opposite of this though! No Man’s Sky has an advantage by taking a step back, this game oozes games from the past. Keeping it simple, while bringing modern day tech to the mix is the best thing that could have happened for retrofitting a style of gaming. In this case, space adventure games.
No Man’s Sky relishes in being old school, while giving the one thing that makes it unique: It’s an insanely large, procedurally generated universe (but you already knew that). Because it is combing these two things, I’m relishing in my childhood, while also being impressed by the fact previously stated. It reminds me of games like Freelancer, nailing space flight perfectly. I do wish I was playing on computer but my computer can’t handle it, which is why my main system is PS4. Already there are features on the PC version that I’m jealous of. Obviously mouse/keyboard, but also key bindings, menu navigation and the nuances that make PC gaming. While I did find the menu navigation on the PS4 cumbersome at first, now that I’ve played the game a bit, I find myself navigating the menus with ease.
At this point in my weird journey, I’ve ended up I don’t know how far from my starting destination. At first I was following the path of the Atlas; after having gotten through what I’m guessing is all of the tutorial, I decided to veer off. Now I’m exactly where I wanted to be (lost in space), and I couldn’t be happier. Having such a large universe, allows for something no game has ever offered, a universe so large that it doesn’t matter how much you want to see it all, you never will. Now I know this sounds like I’m just talking to completionist, but even I’m guilty of trying to see everything in games. Knowing that I’ll never see it all frees me up to go where I want, and do as I please. Yes, there are two direct paths to something in the game, but who cares? Those will be there and I’ll get to them eventually. For now, I’m free to learn every bit of alien language I encounter, which is just dandy (space dandy).
Speaking of learning alien languages, that’s seriously all I’ve focused on. There are a number of things to do in this game. Here I am having played all week as much as I can, and the one thing that stuck out to me in the game, is how badly I wanted to learn exactly what four different species of alien are saying. After having learned well over 100 words, which is nothing, it’s becoming painfully obvious just how slow this process will be. I applaud myself when I learn a new word, then I go and talk to one of the aliens, and I don’t understand a single thing. This is fantastic, this is what makes the game worth it. Not only is this slow drip present in learning alien language, but its present in everything else you do as well. While I have yet get to other facets of the game with the intensity with which I’m devouring all the monoliths (one thing that teaches language), I’m excited to explore these other avenues eventually. As play time increases it seems the things you do in No Man’s Sky will start intersecting more and more.
The other thing I’m enjoying with elation is space flight. It was great making it off the first planet; that’s just the tip of the iceberg though. This is where the scale of the game comes in to play. Space if full of nothing, and No Man’s Sky made sure to keep this in mind. While I began to understand the distance within my first few hours, it wasn’t until pirates got thrown in the mix that things became interesting. Pirates in No Man’s Sky will chase you to the far reaches of the universe and back, happily. It is kind of weird that they don’t take your loot, which is why they attack in the first place. Hopefully this will be fixed in a later patch. For now, you can roll Dark Souls style and pick up your cold dead corpse, retrieving whatever was left behind. This isn’t the biggest complaint, but you’d think the pirates would want that loot.
It’s fighting the pirates which impresses me, again adding that old school flavor of gaming to a new age game. Most of the time I’ve tried avoiding these fights, resorting to warping as fast as possible before they can get a lock on me. Yeah, warp is possible, but if the pirates have you in their sights, they’ll catch up quick and pull you right out of warp. When they do, that’s when the vastness of space hits (thirty seconds can be a long time to get to a planet), especially with pirates hot on your tail. It feels good flying in my ship (still using the starting ship), and I’m excited to begin trying new ships, to see how the maneuver. My little fighter seems to be doing just fine, and flies appropriately. It would be nice if there were more weapon types besides beam laser/ pulse laser; again one can only hope in a patch maybe this will be fixed.
Like I said, this game is a Sci-fi nerd’s dream. The vista’s in this game can be absolutely breathtaking at times, hell most of the time. Staring off into space and seeing a massive ball of fire that is a star rising, with a planet or two by its side is exactly the kind of Sci-fi I grew up with. As a kid whether reading a book or watching a movie I would try and picture more of whatever particular universe than my brain could handle. With No Man’s Sky it’s like they’ve brought my imagination to life. Sean Murray said that the games art direction was inspired by artist such as Chris Foss, and this rings true. Just one more way this game does old school Sci-fi justice. The great thing is, as you progress further into the game, the planets/moons you encounter only get progressively weirder. Yes, most of them might seem pretty bland at first, but hey, the universe is only made of so much matter. So even this is correct in a sense. I’ve definitely encountered more barren rocky worlds than anything, but this is to be expected, not every planet is going to be this crazy biome that we are familiar with.
As it stands, I’m enjoying my time with No Man’s Sky, and I have a feeling, I will keep enjoying my time with it. No this is not the game people expected, but I think that’s partly the audiences fault for latching on to things and running with it. This is a simple space game and that’s it. As I continue my journey, I’m excited to see just what secrets the rest of the game holds. It’s a big game after all. While I’ve stated a few things that have let me down, I will continue to play it. It’s the slow burn I wanted and that’s fine by me.
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