All this week, PC gamers interested in No Man's Sky have had to patiently watch PS4 players explore the universe without them. Today, they can finally play the game for themselves. Too bad it's in such rough shape. I've played about an hour on PC, after playing somewhere around 40 hours on PS4. The PC version of the game looks decent enough, certainly sharper than the PS4 version, but I've had some noteworthy problems, as well. For reference, I'm running an Intel i7 at 4.2Ghz and a GTX 1080 GPU, with a 1440p, 144Hz G-Sync monitor.
The game loads with some alarming default settings: 1080p and a 30fps cap. Fortunately, you can change all that, though many of the graphics options require a reboot for changes to take effect (boo).
The graphics options screen looks like this:
I maxed everything out, turned off the frame-rate cap and v-sync. The most immediate thing that struck me was the hitching — the game was hitching and stuttering hard in the loading screen, and continued with some frame-rate dips and hitches during gameplay. I turned antialiasing down from SSAA to FXAA and capped the frame rate at 90 and that's smoothed things out somewhat, but the game definitely isn't what I'd call smooth.
I've encountered other issues as well. For starters, the mouse and keyboard interface isn't nearly as easy to use as I'd hoped. The cursor functions identically to the console version, meaning you have to hold down the mouse button on every menu item you want to select and watch the "wheel" on your cursor fill up. I also alt-tabbed out of the game to check on another application and found I couldn't get back in; it was still playing but the display was unable to show it. I had to exit the application and reload it, which meant I lost all of my progress since my last restore point save. Switching from fullscreen to borderless has removed the issue, though it'd be nice to be able to play in fullscreen, too.
I've seen some people reporting that the field of view (FOV) sliders don't do anything, which would be a shame since the FOV feels pretty limited on PS4. Turns out they actually do have an effect. Here's FOV 80:
And here's FOV 100:
Steam reviews are currently "mostly negative", with players reporting issues along the lines of the ones I'm seeing. A bunch of people have been reporting that the game crashes at startup or won't load at all — there's a well-populated thread at the No Man's Sky subreddit with loads of players reporting that issue and others.
Game director Sean Murray has been addressing some of the issues on Twitter, and the game has already gotten one patch.
Hopefully that patch helps some of the players who couldn't get the game to load. The speed with which it was deployed indicates there will be more patches to come, so that's good.
There's definitely a possibility that some combination of game updates and new drivers could get No Man's Sky running better, but for now, it's a far cry from the PC version many fans were hoping for. Bummer.