No Man's Sky's Story Overhaul Gives The Game Focus

As No Man's Sky has developed, it's struggled to balance the appeal of its mystery with the utility that makes it playable. With yesterday's update, Atlas Rising, it feels like the game has finally struck that balance.

The 1.3 update for No Man's Sky comes with a lot of changes, small and large. Most exciting among them are a new mission board with randomly generated missions, changes to dog fighting, and — finally — "joint exploration". It isn't quite multiplayer — you're only able to interact with up to 16 players, who are represented by balls of light — but it's a step closer to it. But what I've found most interesting so far is the way the game has refined its story and how it shows what's possible in No Man's Sky to players.

When I played No Man's Sky at launch, it was easy to get lost and confused. This was a part of the game's appeal, in a way: To be able to get so deeply lost in a vast universe. I'd go from planet to planet, just looking for the best sunsets or strangest creatures. Now the game has actual opening missions, as well as ones that span more than one planet and galaxy. I was a little afraid that a more structured game would take away from the joy of exploration, but instead it's made the game easier to parse. Instead of making goals for myself 100 per cent of the time, I now I have a neat thing to check out in each new galaxy. Many of these introduced me to new gameplay elements. On one planet, I learned how to make antimatter. On the next, I found my first outpost. This guiding hand is sparse enough that I don't feel pigeonholed towards one way of playing the game, but direct enough that I now have a much clearer sense of what to do if I get bored of sunsets. For the even more mysterious additions, like portals, there's now a in-game guide that will tell you what to do with them when you find them.

Don't know where to find a mission board? Guess what! The game will tell you.

On a sillier note, the terraforming add-on for the multi tool is very amusing. No Man's Sky has been adding more ways for players to make permanent marks on the world via updates such as base sharing and leaving messages for each other, but now you can make a literal mark. If you have the terraforming add-on, you can shoot at the ground using your multi tool and add or destroy terrain. You can use a couple of different textures and adjust the size as well. I'm sure this will have some use for base building, but I just liked getting to indulge in the sci-fi fun of making a huge tower of rock sprout from the ground.

I didn't have a chance to try out joint exploration or dogfighting, but the manoeuvrability of the ships has changed a lot. You have way finer control over how ships move, especially on planets, to the degree that I felt like I had to relearn how to fly a ship. I was constantly over turning and flying into rocks, but overall it's a welcome change. At launch, I'd often ditch my ship in favour of walking; now, using my ship to go to far away landmarks is much more feasible.

When No Man's Sky first released, I wasn't really sure what it was, or what it was trying to be, but I found a way to have fun with it. Now I have a better sense of the game's goals: It's a survival game with base building and a heavy emphasis on exploration. It isn't revolutionary, but now it's focused enough that it does all those things very well. This doesn't mean it has lost its sense of wonder — there are still views that take my breath away. No Man's Sky is just easier to play now, and I'm very excited to get lost in it again.

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Comments

    It's nice to see it coming along. I hope there's a big update to space combat. I'd like to personally see some sort of missiles introduced, torpedoes for heavier damage against capital ships maybe from heavier ships you can buy? Something more than we currently have. It's taking its time, but I'm starting to feel less ripped off now. Starting.

      Didn’t they include missiles in the new update and do a few tweaks? Haven’t sat down with it yet but thought I saw it in the patch notes.

        Did they??? :O

        I'll check it out in a few minutes and tell you.

          It's been a few minutes now. Tell me!

            Well. Apparently you can get rockets. I haven't gotten any yet. The overall update feels a little more solid. Draw in distance still sucks ass. Space feels a little more solid. Saw a few more ship types. Asteroids still look like floating poop. Lasers look like theyve been remodelled? Could be wrong. Overall, seems to be a decent update. Here's hoping they do a few more and speed the releases up a little. A big space centered update for the combat would be nice though. Homing missiles, torpedoes, mines etc.

    if they keep supporting the game and updating it like this, in a couple years were might end up with the game that Sean Murray and Sony misled people into buying.

      You nms fans are pretty much the same as Trump supporters. Defend this dumpster fire as much as you can. Its still a shit game that didnt deliver what it promised and the devs made off with all your dollars.

    Maybe at some point they can fix the horrible pop-in when exploring...

      I think that on consoles at least, that's going to be the one thing they won't be able to update. Hardware limitations, I'm guessing.

    So I held off buying this given the reactions at launch but was always still intrigued. Is it worth buying now especially with the cheaper price?

      I think it's only $24 on GOG right now and definitely worth that. I would say the base game would be worth $24 but with all the updates they've done that will be a very well spent $24

      For the price it is, yes. The Devs clearly want to correct the major screw up that was their launch. Not worth the $60 yet so you're better off getting for half price.

    Nah game's complete crap; they literally promised me the world and delivered NOTHING. My expectations were totally grounded and they've done nothing since. Worst game ever.

    As No Man's Sky has developed, it's struggled to balance the appeal of its mystery with the utility that makes it playable. With yesterday's update, Atlas Rising, it feels like the game has finally struck that balance.

    I'm so happy this game is finally ready to be released.

    Is gathering resources still shooting things with a magic pistol?

      They've added automatic mining machines, farming, ground vehicles with bigger magic pistols, gas harvesters, and I believe you can now even mine ground deposits with your ship's laser too.

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