Community Review: No Man's Sky

Image: Hello Games

Okay so let's talk about No Man's Sky.

Boy, where do I start on this one.

Let me start with this: the No Man's Sky backlash was predictable. It's also understandable.

Particularly for PC players. If I was playing No Man's Sky on PC I'd probably be a little bit pissed off by now. It crashes, if it starts at all. The frame rate is shonky (although there are a few known fixes). According to Alex the PS4 version looks better even if you're playing on PC at 4k resolution. It's all a little bit weird. I have no doubt a large number of these issues will be fixed by patches but it's still borderline unacceptable.

Okay, with all that out of the way — I goddamn love No Man's Sky.

I mean I really love it. I love the universe. I love the mystery. I love scanning creatures and plants, I love trying to learn languages. I love wrestling with the weird (Destiny inspired) user-interface. I love the aesthetic. I love the way this game looks. I love seeing some sort of planet resting on the horizon. I love knowing it's not some skybox trick, but a place I could fly to and explore.

I love just landing on a planet and following a trail, finding monoliths, talking to Alien's. I love scanning for resources. I love managing my survival systems.

I don't even mind that the planets are pretty much all super similar so far.

I've visited around three systems and about 10 planets. I'm not tired of the whole gameplay loop yet.

It's funny. I understand and even empathise with the complaints people have about No Man's Sky, it just doesn't resonate with me. I didn't have ludicrous expectations for the game, so I'm not disappointed. I'm not playing on PC, so the game has been working flawlessly.

I am having an absolute blast.


Comments

    Loving the hell out of it.
    It's not perfect by any means - draw distance is a particular problem, outposts and such get samey and many crashes.
    But when you consider the credits roll is like 20 people, and nothing like this has been done before, I'd say they did a good job.
    And as for planet variety; how many planets have people visited and how close to the core have you got?
    Because I assure you there is interesting stuff to find out there. But if every planet had dinosaurs, there would be no need to explore.
    It's a game about exploration for exploration's sake. And if that doesn't appeal then it was never the game for you.

      It's a game about exploration for exploration's sake.

      Totally. And that's what really makes this for me. I've never played a game before that just let's me explore something so vast and seemingly endless and (so far) quite diverse.

      Not perfect, but it fits my mental groove remarkably well.

        Exactly. No other game has provided actual vast exploration with actually stuff to actually find.
        Not like Elite with billions of empty rocks. Not a limited amount of canned content that everyone "finds".
        The six legged zebra unicorn lizard the size of an elephant I found on the acid trip colour planet while braving constant extreme rad storms? No one else has or probably will see that.
        And that's awesome.

          Yes! The knowledge the while someone could in theory go there and see what you saw is there, but it's balanced by the fact that it's such a vast space that (usually) no one else will. But there's the possibility...

          I found a giant bunny. Like, the size of a house. Seriously weird.

            Haha nice!
            One of the weirder ones I've seen was basically the severed head of a hooded Cobra. No limbs, no real body, not a glitch, just this Cobra head about a metre tall that hops around on its stump and hisses at things.
            Quite amusing.

          Do you know if there's a screenshot button? I haven't yet seen anything that really compels me to capture it (other than maybe these tiny tiny baby horse things on my starter planet), but print screen + open paint shop + paste + save is too much hassle to bother with.

            Dunno, I'm on ps4 which has a dedicated screenshot button on the controller.

            I'm playing on PS4 so, don't know what it would be for PC.

            Given how large parts of the game feel unpolished, I would wager there is no easy way.

            Are you playing in Steam, or through another service? Steam has a screenshot button

      Does it get more varied the closer to the core you get? I've been following the path of Atlas, so while I've travelled about 2kLy, I'm fairly certain it's been sticking around the same distance from the Core...

      Also, I'm pretty sure I've seen the same rabbit-headed crustacean on every planet/and moon in the past five systems... It was so cute when I saw its head poking out above the grass on that first planet... then I flushed it out into the open, and it was all pincers and tentacles... O_o And now it's everywhere...

        Seems too yeah.
        I've noticed there's a bunch of common archetypes that you'll see slight variations of on most inhabited planets.
        Xeno goats, Xeno cows, little Xeno squirrels, basic birds ect. Slightly different shapes with different horns/scales/growths/spikes/patterns ect but filling the same kinda place in the ecosystem.
        The really strange stuff is rarer.

          I found these tiny little aquatic creatures... swam in schools, with each looking like a stone with four little elliptoid balloons (arranged like points of a tetrahedron) that swam by expanding and contracting those balloons... probably the most "alien" thing I've seen thus far. But then again, I don't really consider anything more familiar than a Shoggoth to be worthy of the term "alien", so maybe I've just got high standards... :P

    I haven't played it yet. It looks amazing, exactly what I want from a "flying a spaceship and looking at things" simulator. Not too much in way of combat challenges, I guess you can grind money for the sake of it and set yourself up as a kind of trader or whatever, with a loose goal of reaching the centre of the galaxy or something. But I feel like to really get the benefit of the game you have to *really* sink time into it. And with my wife and I sharing the PS4 which is hooked up to the main TV, I am cautious about doing that.

    If it comes out on Xbox One (which is apparently a possibility) I will jump in right away. For now I just feel like I'm missing out, because while there's 18 quintillion planets, I'm worried that if I were to jump in on PS4 in the future, I won't really be making "new" discoveries.

    I'm having a blast on PS4. Put in around 15 hours or so. My only issue is the crashes when coming out of warp. I've warped around 12 times and it's crashed at least 7 times. Once it crashed 3 times in a row.

    If they fix that, I won't have any problems with the game.

    Not sure what you mean by crashing all the time, I've played on PC since launch, booted up the game literally hundreds of times (due to checking starting worlds) and it has never crashed even once...graphics are fine. I've seen people complaining that the graphics look worse than PS4 but those same people are running on medium settings so what do you expect.

      PS4 but those same people are running on medium settings so what do you expect.

      Not my, and a lot of others experience's buddy.

      Last edited 15/08/16 1:06 pm

    Got really excited the day this was revealed, looked like the perfect game for me, laid back exploration, discovering new creatures and plants and the freedom to fly anywhere in the galaxy. That was what was shown in the game on day one, and that is what is in the finished game.

    The game I got so excited about back then is the game I'm continuously excited to boot up and play for a quick 30 minutes or a good couple of hours.

    I've repeated some things a few times, but have constantly made new discoveries and had the opportunity to buy new ships. A big plus for me is the small impact death has on your progression. Reload and search for the spot you died, everything there to be picked up so you can continue on without having to worry about spending hours collecting precious metals again. There's no need to make every game hard and punishing just for the sake of it. It's nice to have a game you can play through at your own speed.

    I'll be playing this for a long time.

    Oh, and lastly It's not "over-hyped", I am so over the haters coming out and saying how it just didn't live up to the hype. What? It's never pretended to be a game it's not. If you liked the look of the game when you first saw it, then you know what you're getting. If you didn't, then move along, it's not for you.

    From a technical perspective i love this game but from a practical perspective i think I'll be taking it back. It's not my type of game. Kind of wish it was but it's not...

    There's rumblings of it hitting the Xbox One, so I think I'll just wait for that version, since I don't think my laptop will be up to snuff and I don't have a PS4. And hopefully any and all kinks will be ironed out by then.

    Really looking forward to trying it out though, it looks like something I'd enjoy just to tune out with.

    Enjoying this on ps4 immensely, and so are the kids. If I was to nitpick, some more story and NPCs would be great (but this style of game that's hard); would also love modular builds for the ships. But I'm comparing to games like Freelancer, which has much better combat, and other, older games which isn't necessarily apples to apples.

    I think its a tech demo of a new procedural engine that should be free.

    They seem to have tried to put a user interface in and also the driver level graphics needs to be sorted
    On my titan X I get flickering at any res higher than 1080 on openGL.... its due to the windows 10 UI scaling and can be fixed with one change of the NVID CP but when you change it it buggers up all other games. Its exactly the same with Doom openGL

    Its sad this was made for PS4 as it would have been real good for PC, as it could be used as a platform for mods and other games as a procedural space engine.

    Mark said it first.... huge backlash.. and huge sellout price to pay/deadline madness for what is really a good engine.

    It needed another 2 years of development. AND not to be a port with all bugs fixed.

    Also, is there a short cut for uploading discoveries? I'm a bit over having to do it for each animal/plant/rock formation and planet individually.

    Also, I thought of a plausible explanation for the scattering of same buildings on all the planets. - They are mass produced, standardised structures built on the stations flat packed, sent down and assembled by drones in readiness for science teams ect.
    The shipping container ones are just that - initial container dwellings used by surveyors while the proper outposts are built.
    This is the frontier after all. Cheap, mass produced stuff would be the only way to go in that kinda numbers.

    Enjoying it thus far... I think. Have had maybe 5-6 crashes over the weekend, but my main issues are due to odd design choices, I think. Flight controls in-atmosphere seem to be more of a suggestion than actual controls - seems it's impossible to crash into the surface (so no idea how all those crashed ships I keep finding managed it). The language they use to describe "discovering a planet" seems pretty dismissive of the friendly Gek at the trading outpost I 'discovered' it from. The ability to discover technology blueprints that you already know - particularly underwhelming to find basic thruster blueprints... in my 15th system.

    But despite all that, it's relaxing, and there's always an interesting view. *continues hunting for nickel and aluminium to upgrade warp drive*

      Titanium! My god that stuff is rare.

      And I agree with your assessment of the flight controls. The first time I went up against pirates was dismal. On planet, it's wonky at best. So many times I've desperately wanted to skim the surface to see more details, only to have my ship weirdly drift skyward.

      And the blueprints. Hopefully they add more, because it seems odd in a universe this big, I've learnt them all...

        I've landed on planets where titanium is quite common in the form of blue crystals. Same with Chrysa... whatever that is.

        ALso, titanium can be gotten from destroying round supply containers and by killing sentinels.

        Seems like planets were alternating between being rich in Gold, Emeril and Aluminium... right up until I found the blueprint for the warp reactor tau, that needs 800 Al... every planet since has been gold and emeril. Ditto for asteroids - used to be nickel and copper everywhere... now that I need to find 400 nickel for the reactor, it's all iridium and iron. Curse you random number generator! *shakes fist at sky*

        Oh, yea - first time I tried to fight I got wrecked pretty quickly. Second time I fared a bit better, but mostly because I found my ship's lases were far more effective than the plasma cannons. I mean, in E:D you could escape pirates by outrunning them, jumping away before they reached you. Here, there's no way to run away, aside from dodging fire and hoping they leave you alone.

          Yeah spent like 3-5 hours getting the 800 aluminium. Best option is to keep travelling to different planets until you find it in the big clumps. appears in the same form as gold etc. Generally theyre green looking rectangles. Slightly smaller in volume than heridium. However be warned you can only mine like 30-40 per big xlump socbe prepared to travel.

            Yea, I've seen them around in various forms - the big hill-sized blobs, the sharp-angled hill 'caps', the heridium-esque pillars, and the small green crystals - just never bothered to take note because it's not worth anything. Now that I actually need it, I just seem to be getting system after system with semi-valuable yet completely useless materials. Only been making small jumps, so there should be an old system with the materials I'm after within jump-range. Hardest part will be remembering where I saw Aluminium last... the alternative being to keep moving forward and hoping for the best.

              Find a planet with large 'mounds' of said resources. Then just walk/fly around looking for it and mine it all in one go. It's painful but if you know said planet has the resources, don't risk leaving.

        You want titanium? Sentinels are your friend then. Shoot at once, let it raise the wanted level to 2 or 3 (whatever you're comfortable dealing with). Then shoot the fuckers. Theyre the most reliable source of titanium.

    I've played quite a bit. I took release day off work, played it as soon as I came home from work everyday, and the weekend was spend in 16 hour play sessions each day.

    I have a 48 slot exosuit, the max 24 multitool and a 36 slot ship.

    The repetitive points of interest now don't concern me, as I have most of the stuff I want, and I feel if I need anything they give me I can go to one on any planet. Now I can just to any star within an 900 light year radius and I feel like it's a game of pure exploration.

    It's really compulsive. It's like hitting the randoseed generator in minecraft any time you go to a new planet. Whenever you get a few dud planets in a row it's frustrating. Then you land on a planet with something you've never ever seen before and it's all amazing again and completely redeems itself.

    Also, those landscapes...! So incredible.

    I love it. For me it's a 7/10, but it has its issues. Amend that to an 8 if you love rando-seed minecraft. Also, wait for what the future brings, as it seems they can make wide ranging changes fairly easily.

    I've probably played about 30-40 hours on PS4, discovered about 6 solar systems and 13 planets so I feel I have enough experience to pass my judgement on NMS. For me, the unescapable decision is that it's an indie version of Elite:Dangerous (with hints of Galaxy on Fire 2 on iOS) with a few extra bits chucked in for good measure .

    Pros:
    - If you like exploring, harvesting, grinding for credits and aspiring to have the best ship and gun in the game, this is for you.
    - It's enjoyable to scan for life forms and be amused at their various shapes and sizes (although there's a lot of similarity here too)
    - Space used to be black, now it's multi coloured!
    - Not much in the way of loading screens if you are expecting screen-blocking "Loading..." placards. That said, there's obviously loading going on asynchronously as you play such as when warping to a new system.
    - When you die, you can - if you like - go back to your place of death and get back your supplies.
    - Initially your suit and ship storage space is severely limited, but in the case of the suits at least they're easy and inexpensive to expand (drop pods, locked Atlas doors on space stations). My suit now has about 30 slots available, which is extra useful when harvesting rare items.
    - One can surely expect a lot of updates over time to make the game better. It feels like this is an MVP to get the ball rolling.

    Cons:
    - It crashes - a lot. In the first day it crashed twice, second day three times, and lately it crashes every first load of the day, and then randomly at some other point. So always always make sure you save progress, either at undiscovered locations or simply by hoping out of your ship (which creates a restore point)
    - as someone else has mentioned, previously mined minerals or previously collected rare items (such as Korvax cubes or Graviton Orbs) often will still be visible if you wander away and then return, only to disappear as soon as you get within harvesting range.
    - redrawing of the landscape is fairly obvious with a dithered effect when terrain is being shown as you fly by
    - some of the textures are really poor when you're up close
    - after you've scanned a half dozen planets you'll soon realise there's an awful lot of similarity. There's a lot of cross-over in the flora and fauna, such as with those annoying crabs that attack you on sight and that appear to be spread throughout the universe.
    - the galaxy map is somewhat difficult to navigate
    - ship controls are difficult to get used to at first, and still grates when flying over the landscape as the game will ensure you always fly over terrain, not under or in to. It's like part of the freedom to do what you want has been removed.
    - Draw bugs. I've seen outposts seemingly hanging off the edge of cliffs, with everything inside the building visible from underneath. Ships that fly through terrain and other such nonsense.
    - Grind. Yes, there's no two-ways about it. This game is pure grind. That said most games that require resources to do stuff are a grind in one way or another so at least in that respect it's not unique.
    - Expensive. As I said at the start it's my unescapable belief that this is an Elite:Dangerous clone, but where E:D was justifiably expensive to get in to (thanks in no small part to Braben's history with the genre) I can't help feeling NMS is overpriced. This may well change with updates.
    - No multiplayer, which is a real shame (although never promised).

    My verdict is that it's a game that is not without its flaws, released before it was really ready, but for someone like myself who grew up with and absolutely loves the original Elite and now E:D, it's still a lot of fun to play and as yet I don't see that changing.

    Last edited 15/08/16 2:54 pm

    Many hours in on the PS4.
    The game is good, not GREAT, but good. Even very good. I really am enjoying my time with it and think the overall package is a great experience.
    I would be happy to give it an 8/10 aside from three problems that make me feel more like a 7/10 is more accurate.

    1) Launch ship from planet = instant spit into space. Happens far to often, just a little R2 and take off becomes a "I can't be stuffed exploring that anymore".

    2) Crashes. I have never had a game crash this much on the PS4 before. Warp jumps? 2 x crashes... bought a new ship and left space station? 1 x crash (the ship I lost due to that was sweet, never did find its like again). A real killer? I have a very expanded inventory on my suit and was doing a jet pack pakor run on a planet dodging the sentinels as I grabbed orbs... had a full inventory and was on my way back to the ship when....CRASH/LOCK UP. There have also been just a few (3-4) random lockups.
    Each crash costs me about 30 minutes.

    3) Navigating the galaxy. Sure, following your atlas path (or other objective) is easy, but the way it all spins around when you are trying to do a bit of free exploration? Or try and find a way back to that system three stops back where the resource you have now found in abundance is worth +99.9%? I like the trade aspect and think making it easier for players to leap back to previously explored planets would be a big bonus.

    The good news? All of these things can be fixed. This game is an exciting new entry in my library, but as I have been saying for a while now it is what will come next as people expand on the concept and refine its good points that makes me optimistic for the future of space exploration games.

    Bring on VR.

    I'm a big fan of space exploration games. I've played around 15 hours of NMS on the PS4 version so far, and I have to say the whole experience so far has been totally awesome- I'm not at all disappointed, but then I didn't pay much attention to the hype so I didn't have any expectations.

    If you are looking for a space exploration game that doesn't involve tons of WORK and just lets you do your thing, then this is for you. I loved the X series of games but always gave up on them when I reached a certain level and was spending more time in menus than looking at my surroundings. A lot of people are complaining about the lack of /simplicity of real gameplay elements, but I believe this is a design feature of the game as it allows you to focus more on the exploration side of things. I think Journey was a great game, though it is more of an experience than a game, and No Mans Sky definitely falls into this category. I am a visual designer and I can tell you the game is gorgeous to look at, I have sat for hours at the top of one mountain or another just watching the sunsets and sunrises, or simply watched other craft landing in stations. For me this is a true work of art firstly, and a game secondly. I can appreciate that will turn off some people, but as Sean Murray said, it's a niche game, and it fills that niche perfectly.

    I can understand why some gamers will not like it for the very reasons they state, and if you relate to them then it's probably not for you. If you're like me however you need to get it at once, take a day off, roll a fat one and get lost in space, you won't be disappointed.

    I'm loving it atm, have been playing in ps4 with no problems. I'm about 30 hours in, 5 galaxies and about 20 planets deep and can't see myself not playing another 100 hours at least. I think if this game came out of nowhere and had no build up everyone would be loving it more and wouldn't be complaining about the price. any game that can be played for over 30 hours and is attempting something new has every right to be full priced imo. it's up to the individual but if you don't think it's worth the money don't buy it (pc cases excluded if it doesn't work).
    I've just been enjoying discovering weird animals and landscapes. I've had a great mix of planets and lifeforms so far and get a rush everytime I go into a new galaxy/planet. I only watched the first trailer and avoided the rest of the build up but it's everything I hoped it would be

      5 galaxies!?!? wow. I need to get my antimatter on and get moving.

        haha yeah I've been running on minimal sleep, having a nms free night tonight just to do my body some good. I haven't found it too hard getting the warp fuel and only move onto the next one once i have explored all the planets. just found my first Atlas stone last night too. I've now done 3 planets though where I've found all but 1 lifeform, I can never find that last 1!

    My son's playing on PS4 and played about 6 hours. He's not really the wander around picking things up type so is now waiting for me to figure some stuff out. I watched him play for a while and decided to pick it up on pc from GOG (since I am the explorer type). Our planets look very different.

    I've put in 14 hours so far and haven't left the starting planet. Have flown around a bit (definitely need some practice) and salvaged crashed ship for an upgrade. Learnt about 50 Gek words, met a few aliens, fed some wildlife. Clocking up the steps (doing better than on my pedometer - pity it doesn't count). Getting better on jet pack.

    Yes, PS4 version looks better at the moment but pc is ok and not unplayable. A couple of crashes but after saving so no lost time. Could be better but am optimistic things will improve.

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