I'm really feeling it!

Hot Take: No Man's Sky (PS4)

Be prepared: I’ve only a small amount of what the game has to offer, and this is the hottest of takes I’ve ever written. No Man’s Sky is such a huge game and I’ve barely scratched the surface content-wise, so excuse what may or not be spoilers, or things I might be missing or haven’t come across; It’s hard to tell with this kind of game.

I’m a little torn. I love what this game does right, and it does a lot right. I also am baffled by what it does wrong, and it does a LOT wrong. I can’t decide whether or not I am allowed to suggest a game because I think it’ll get better over time, when it’s fallen short in it’s delivery.

  • No Man’s Sky is as big as developers hyped it to be. Yes, everything is procedurally generated and feels like this mix of generic-but-unique. I’ve been having fun exploring and seeing what each planet has to offer. Visually, they look unique. But mechanically they are generally the same. The way you interact with creatures and the environments don’t vary too much.. And the terrain If you want to see new worlds and to discover spectacular creatures, yes this game is for you. If you want an exploration of creative game mechanics, maybe No Man’s Sky isn’t.
  • Exploration is the highlight of the game, and Hello Games has it nailed. You’ll find yourself trekking towards ruins or a monolith only to be distracted by a cave, wondering how far it goes or what lies in it’s depths. That said, I feel like I’m a parasite, hopping from planet to planet, mining resources to use and sell. The endgame hasn’t been made clear to me, so right now I feel lost with no direction other than “Well, might as well sell this shit”. I love the exploration, but I’m hoping patches add content to a game that so far feels very thematically destructive.
  • When I happen upon an outpost operated by a single alien it creates this weird lonely feeling. I know it’s supposed to be a lonely game, but it doesn’t make sense that a lone alien will be operating some three room mining operation on a distant planet. I’m not looking for a huge colony, but maybe two or three aliens operating in the same place? Again, I’m only in the first few hours of the game so it’s possible this changes as you progress.
  • You quickly find yourself dealing with the same issues, namely inventory management and mining for materials. The tedium of these two things set in fast. Even with upgrades the inventory still feels small. I wish ship and suit upgrades didn’t take an inventory slot, or had their own space for that.
  • The sprint speed is too damn slow! And it doesn’t let you sprint for nearly as long as you’d like. While the controls on planets, moons, and space station feels fluid and natural, the movement feels unnecessarily weighty. And speaking of controls, this was not a game made for combat. Shooting can be unruly, and space combat is difficult (Speaking as someone who’s favorite shooter is Splatoon). Also landing your ship is imprecise as hell.
  • I wish I could have some HUD controls and filters. I know locations I’ve visited get greyed out once I’ve travelled to them, but I still find the mass of monuments and outposts littering the sides of my screen confusing. This is especially true when you’ve been exploring an area for a while and have a lot of little floating icons on your screen when you are trying to focus on a single one.
  • I love learning the alien language one word at a time. It makes interacting with the aliens inhabiting planets across this universe exciting. Every time you learn a word you imagine “Maybe this is the word that will help me really understand what they want” Even if it doesn’t, having that piece still feels good.

Despite quite a few minor grievances with the game, I’ve found myself mostly enjoying it. I know I’m being extremely generous to the developers as the game has had a very rough release. But the day-one patch shows us that Hello Games means business in turning No Man’s Sky into the best version of itself, even if it means patching in better content and ironing out the issues that crop up. I might have only played a few hours, but I’ll be exploring the universe for a long time to come. (But hopefully not because it takes so goddam long to sprint somewhere.)

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JpSr388 is a casual(ish) gaymer, hardcore Nintendo fan, designer & writer. He writes about what he cares about, and is always good for some opinions. Find his sexy ass on Twitter here. Or keep on the lookout for more editorial, QuickDraws, Hot Takes and reviews here.

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