No Man's Sky divides opinion but is still a great exploring game that can only get better.
After countless delays and riding a huge hype wave, No Man's Sky was finally released this August and it is fair to say that, throughout time, not many games managed to divide opinion as much as this one.
In No Man's Sky, you explore a procedurally created universe full with 18 quintillion unique planets. Starting on a randomly allocated planet with your ship wrecked to bits, your first goal is gathering materials in order to repair it. After that, the universe is yours to freely do what you like among what seems like an infinite number of solar systems which you can "warp" between.
In the short aftermath of the game's release, players have criticised it and developer Hello Games for countless things including lying about features the game was supposed to offer and didn't. For the avid fan who had huge expectations from this title, No Man's Sky can become repetitive and boring after a few hours. But looking on the bright side of things, it still offers a unique experience that for some manages to hide its flaws.
The vastness of the world available to discover is astonishing. This fact alone contributes on both sides of the coin. You can very easily find a similar repeating pattern upon travelling from planet to planet and from one star system to another, mining and trading your way towards some random objective you set out to complete. But on the other hand, the vastness in itself can lead to some amazing discoveries, beautiful sights and adventurous gameplay moments.
Some people may find not having an end-goal that is set in stone demoralizing. Sure, there is the centre of the Universe there to discover, but you may find the game more fun when setting out to do your own stuff. For those of you who truly just want to explore new worlds and to live childhood dreams of travelling through the universe, this game may captivate you fully.
Exploring is the key word here. Sure, there are space fights, mining and searching for resources, learning alien languages, some sort of dialogue interaction with said aliens, fending off that pesky weird looking animal/monster that keeps attacking you, fighting sentinel drones, escaping storms and blizzards and hoarding money to buy that beautiful spaceship you desperately want to have.
But when the line is drawn, this game is all about exploring new worlds and living the experience of travelling through space with relative freedom and finding out what's out there. Although it can feel boring at times after a while, it can get better if one keeps playing because of certain features that one can only unlock after some good hours of playtime. That and the chance of meeting something new and rare add to the excitement.
The apparent lack of multiplayer options can cause a headache, especially since the developers stated that it will be available. This being said, if you want to buy the game for some cool playtime with your friends, this is not the title for you. No Man's Sky is best enjoyed alone - just you and the stars and planets above. The small chance of you stumbling upon a planet or system that was already discovered by another player can add to the "so I am not alone after all" feeling, but don't count on that.
One of the biggest positive aspects of the game must be the sounds that accompany you on your journey. The sound effects are very well done, starting with the robotic voice that constantly bugs your ear with information, going through the various spaceship sounds you hear while flying and ending with the overall atmosphere that animals, wind, rain, various technologies and all other elements create during the time spent on a planet.
The music is also magnificent. 65daysofstatic managed to create an imersive score that is generated as you play the game, and the actual soundtrack album is absolutely perfect - one of the best albums of the year if you ask me.
The game's graphics don't seem to be out of this world for 2016 standards, but somehow, No Man's Sky manages to procedurally generate some amazing sights that you can only try and screenshot every time you witness them. It is a title for casual gamers and romantics that love to take slow walks in nature, not for the hardcore achievement-hungry competitive players. Because of this, the 60€ price tag may scare off some people, and it can be understandable.
All in all, No Man's Sky is a glorious game that has the downside of having to deal with the fact that it can get a lot better in time, if certain features make it into the game. Hopefully, they will. Hello Games has stated that it will constantly improve the game with their small team, and although many people will say otherwise, their accomplishment in releasing a game this big and interesting is reason enough to buy it.
No Man's Sky could just be the start of a whole new game subgenre and it can only get better.
Rating: 7/10, 3.5*
PC version of No Man's Sky was tested for this review.