No Man’s Sky

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The long awaited and much hyped procedurally generated space exploration game from Hello Games.  A game that seems to have divided opinion and garnered no small amount of negative press.  There certainly seems to be some questions around whether Sean Murray and his team have over promised and under delivered on the experience, and how much gamers have over egged the hype surrounding this release.  To what level we were expecting a modern successor to Elite.For my part, once I got into it and understood the systems and mechanics, I found that I very much enjoyed what is on offer.  For me, it did scratch that Elite itch.  Where Elite comparisons fall down is this game has little to no real trading, and it is far far more focused on exploration.

Despite the promise of uniquely naming everything you come in to contact with, which got old very fast indeed, I found this is a game that refuses to sit still.  You could spend hours, days, weeks on a single planet.  But the variety isn’t really their to hold that kind of attention.  By the time you’ve seen your sixth or seventh planet you really just want to grab your resources and move on.

The question, the drive, for No Man’s Sky players is “what lies in the centre of the universe?”, and everything really drives towards that goal.  Upgrade your ship so you can travel further longer.  Replenish your supplies to make as many system jumps as possible.  Try to find the next worm hole to push you closer to the centre quicker.

The problem is the universe is so expansive that during a month of gaming I don’t think I got even a fraction of the way there.  Probably made about four, maybe five, worm hold jumps in total.  Each worm hole separated by a good half dozen or so solar system jumps.

And this is where criticism appears to be founded.  Every space station you meet is a carbon clone of the last.  Minor cosmetic differences.  It’s the same resources you need to collect.  They look the same.  Only a handful of carbon copy aliens and traders to meet.  Even the procedurally generated animals and plants on each planet became repetitive.

There’s less than a half dozen different planet types with seemingly minor differences between flora and fauna on each.  I swear I saw the same “unique” dinosaurs and spider-crabs on a dozen different planets solar systems apart.  Even the buildings and the mysteries in each solar system – the same.

So ultimately No Man’s Sky is about collecting resources and travelling a long a path to the centre of the galaxy.  And so long as you’re happy with that repetitive gameplay then actually it’s a very lethargic and enjoyable experience.

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