No Man’s Sky Review


Noah Conley, Broadcast Editor

  No Man’s Sky was hyped as a game to change a generation back when it was announced in 2013 and was continuously promoted as such up until it’s release in 2016. But once it came out, it lacked a lot of features promoted in marketing. A lot of people were disappointed, and some were furious with the game’s creator, Sean Murray, and his company Hello Games. The studio was the recipient of bomb and death threats, and so they did what seemed like the only smart move and went radio silent. But then, free updates slowly started to roll out for the game. Soon, No Man’s Sky had base-building, planetary vehicles, an overhauled storyline, and then, in July 2018, we got the ‘NEXT’ update. This added a smorgasbord of new features, including, but not limited to; third-person mode, four-person multiplayer, sending fleets on missions, a graphical overhaul, and more. This update caused the attitude around the game to do a complete 180: now, people were praising the game to high heaven. I recently bought a copy of the game, so I figured it would be worth looking at before the next big update coming this summer.

  No Man’s Sky is an open universe sci-fi game with over 18 quintillion unique planets to explore. For a sense of scale, there are an estimated 100 billion planets in the real-life Milky Way. The game is built on four pillars; exploration, combat, survival, and trading. The player can pursue whatever one of these pillars they want, meaning you can spend the whole game jumping from planet to planet, being a space pirate, making a living as a space miner, or becoming ultra-wealthy by sending your space fleet on expeditions. This freedom really makes each player’s journey through the galaxy unique, and even starting a new save will probably lead you down a different path.  This sense of openness is unlike any game I’ve played before, and the freedom to explore a whole galaxy is a bit staggering.

  But eventually, you’ll find that perfect planet, with wide green skies, orange grass, and crystal clear water. So you decide to set some roots and build a base. The base building side of gameplay is surprisingly robust, with plenty of technology and structures to build, and with little to no limits on what can be built. You can build anywhere on a planet, and upload your base so that other players may come across it and interact with it. You can also build exocraft of varying sizes, from the massive and slow Colossus to the small and nimble Nomad. These vehicles make exploring the surfaces of planets much faster and easier. And since building a base in No Man’s Sky can cost a lot of resources, it can feel a bit more satisfying than building in similar games like Minecraft and Terraria.

  However, this leads to my main gripe with the game. The inventory space in your exosuit and starship can be restrictive, especially later on. When first starting out, the problem doesn’t seem noticeable, but once you have to start managing and collecting the games many different materials in order to build or craft what you want, the problem quickly becomes apparent. Now you can upgrade your exosuit inventory space, but the amount of stuff you can store in your starship is fixed, so the only way to increase it is to buy a better starship.

  But you might want to buy a starship just because it looks cool, and I don’t blame you. The art style of the starships, guns, aliens, planets, and space stations make you feel like you are living in a world designed by great sci-fi artists like Chris Foss and Frank R. Paul with a Designer’s Republic aesthetic.  The starships don’t feel like high-tech airplanes, they feel like starships. Vehicles meant to go further and faster, to carry explorers to distant worlds, to help traders dodge the ruthless pirates who are after their exotic goods from the Outer Edge, to be able to warp away just before the system authorities catch up.

  Overall, I would give No Man’s Sky as it is now 8 Howls out of 10. It’s sense of freedom and art style create an amazing universe to explore, with plenty of professions and activities to pursue. Plus, with a team dedicated to improving and adding upon the game for the foreseeable future, whatever content is coming should outweigh the flaws in the game like the small inventory space.