No Man’s Sky

No Man’s Sky seems to have become the game that suddenly everyone hates. Perception vs reality can be a bitch. Being primarily an XBox gamer, No Man’s Sky flew under the radar until about 6 weeks before launch when I got asked if I was excited about it. So I only had six weeks of eager anticipation. But I think I can still see where the games apparent issues lie. Space exploration, so Hollywood tells us, is exciting business. The reality however, is that space is a huge amount of nothing. No Man’s Sky was never supposed to be a first person shooter, or an action title. It was always supposed to be an exploration and crafting game. In other words, a slow burner. Not that the game was marketed as such. But then that’s marketing.

No Man’s Sky is undoubtedly a huge game. And a slow burner. And as such, I just don’t have the time to put into the game to write a proper review. As no matter how many mad nights of gaming I put into it, I’m only going to scratch the surface. Slow burner, long haul. One thing is for sure, if you really get into No Man’s Sky, It’ll keep you going for some considerable time.

So if I can’t write a proper review, what am I going to do? I’m going to tell you about my first week.

The game begins with you on a strange planet, with a crashed and badly damaged space ship. What better way to introduce you to hunting and gathering then to have you stranded on an alien planet. So I spent a couple of hours exploring, gathering, fixing my space ship. All the time making mistakes and learning from them before I eventually and very accidentally pissed off the local flying orbs of death.

I died. I quit back to the main menu to start a new game. There is no option to start a new game. Shit. What the fuck. Okay, lets think this through. I’ll un-install the game and re-install it. It’ll take a while, but it will also test the theory that we don’t all start on the same planet. Right, re-installed and ready to go. What the fuck. I’m in the same spot on the same planet. The game remembered my progress. Shit. Fuck it, I’m off to bed.

Right, lets just do this. Forget that I have to live with my mistakes. That’s just life. Grow a pair and get on with it. Let’s just explore this planet for a while and see what we can find. Quite a lot, as it goes, from small bases with Aliens who you can talk to and help out, to ruins, and other cool stuff. Places to sell stuff you’ve collected and get cash. There is an awful lot you can do just by walking and exploring. Shit, it’s 1.30am. Better got to bed.

Ok, enough with this planet, time to go explore space. Blasting through the atmosphere. Ok, I’ve been told there’s a space station over here and I have to build a warp drive, oh wait, a distress signal from that planet. I guess I’ll go there first, it probably has the resources I need to build the warp drive. Oh shit. It’s a frozen planet so I have to gather more resources keep both my life support running and my climate control running. Ok, found enough resources to do the first part of the warp drive but I have to craft something for the other part and this stupid game isn’t being very helpful. And I keep having to use up rarer resources to keep my arse from freezing. This is a dumb planet.

How the fuck am I supposed to craft this stupid component to build my warp drive. I can’t find what I need. Fuck it, I’m off to bed. Stupid game.

Ok, lets get this No Man’s Sky rocking again. Gotta get my space exploration mojo back. Lets blast off this cold bitch of a planet and go see what the space station is like. Hopefully I don’t crash into it a die like I did when I first played Elite Dangerous. Of course, you’re supposed to go to the space station to by the second component for the warp drive. Doh! Right, let’s test this baby out and warp to the next solar system or what ever.

Cool, five new planets to discover and after reading up a bit at work today, I now know I can name planets, and upload the details for cash baby. I also have this scanner thing that lets me scan just about anything on the planet and all new discoveries and be named (if I want to) and uploaded to the mainframe and I get cash. Whoop whoop. Not a lot of cash to be sure, but grinding my way up to a better ship starts right here. Ok, if anyone lands on a planet and finds a location named “Aimme’s Arse Crack” I’m sorry. That was me. I was trying to be funny, and maybe a bit tired at the time.

I’ve explored and named a few planets and the last one in my current system seems quite barren, but has a lot of little bases, and Aliens to converse with and find out secrets of the universe with. Just been told about a new planet that I might want to explore, but this barren planet is turning out to be a treasure trove of information. Just one more base then I’ll blast off. What, a distress beacon for a crashed ship. Oh hell yes. It has to be better that the piece of shit I’m flying. Oh, 24 hours walk to get to it. Screw that, I’ll just fly there. Oh, 20 minutes away. No problem. 19 minutes, 18 minutes…. 12 minutes, 11 minutes, 12 minutes, 11 minutes, 12 minutes…. hold on the fuck is wrong with this game. Ok, time to blast off this planet and make sure I’m not flying blindly for a ship that’s on another planet. Nope, there it is right below me. Diving back down, leveling out, 4 minutes away, 3 minutes away, 4 minutes away…. WHAT THE FUCK.

Ok, this is not going to beat me. Up into space again, flying right above it, drive straight down, hurtling towards the planets surface in a vertical dive. Right. On. Top. Of. It. Got you, you sonofabitch. Cool. This is a nice looking ship. Ok, has better shields than my current ship, and, oh, only one more cargo slot. Oh well, it’s a bit better so lets fix it up. Oh, you’re kidding me. That’s a shit load of crap I’m gonna have to source, and on a barren planet and all. Yeah, nah. Back to the space station to see what’s available.

Oh wait, what the hell, you want to attack my space ship? Oh hell no. Oh wait, where the fuck are you. Dammit, this is space, I’m turning all over the place. Shit, shields are down what the hell, oh wait, there you are you little punk. Take that… yeah baby, I got you now. Oh yeah, whose the boss now? Holy shit, 2am, really? Where does the time go?

Warped to a new system. Oh hey, those ships are quite big. I wonder if I can dock on them, lets get in close. Nope, nothing there, what about over here, nope, better climb before I, oh shit. Oh that’s not good, now I’m stuck glitching inside this ship. Fuck, shields are down. I can’t get out of this fucking thing. OH FUCK IT I’M DEAD. FUCK THIS GAME, I’M OFF TO BED.

So, No Man’s Sky has some issues. Some of them are my own inability to come to grips with the game, others are weird glitches, but any game that has me playing until 2am without realising it, has to be something worth investing time in. And if I hadn’t received two new games for review, I’d still be playing No Man’s Sky. I love the fact that you can get down on the planets surface and explore, and I want to grind my way up to better ships and equipment, and I really should get on with the games main thrust of finding a way to the center of the universe or some such thing. No Man’s Sky is a game with so much scope and possibilities. But it’s also a game that demands that you have no other distractions. A game that wants you to explore, to stop and smell the roses.

It’s by no means perfect, but I can honestly say it’s one of the best games I’ve played on the PS4.

Rating: PG



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