One of my most anticipated games for a long time (outside of The Last Guardian) finally launched this week on Playstation 4 and PC in the form of No Man’s Sky, and like a lot of people I was hoping the hype around the game had not set it up to be a let down after this long wait. Anyway I got my hands a copy on Tuesday the 9th, and have spent around 5 hours with the game, and am ready to give my first thoughts/opinions on the game.
Firstly lets get the hype and my worries about the hype out of the way first, and then I can get straight on with my experiences with the game. One thing that struck me with the hype around No Man’s Sky is the developers held a lot to their chest about the game, and the hype surrounding the game was generated by the players who wanted to play the game. Although this was a refreshing in what people like to label ‘The Hype Train’, this also made me a bit more anxious whether this would make the game seem less than it has been out to be. However, this game has been everything I expected it to be so far.
At the beginning of No Man’s Sky you are found stranded on a planet at your ship’s crash site, and are tasked with the job or getting the materials needed to repair the ship so you can leave this planet. What I thought was a nice touch is the planet is randomly generated, meaning you are always on a planet noone has discovered meaning you are instantly given the chance to name a planet, and you should be the first one to discover the species on that planet and get to name them also (I will touch on the naming later).
As I have mentioned the starting planet will be randomly generated for you to start on. Unfortunately for me I was placed straight onto a hazardous planet, due to it being extremely cold; but at least it wasn’t like some people who got placed on baron planets of just rock. The first thing that hit me is how beautiful the planet I landed on looked visually, how vibrant it was for a snow covered planet. After the awe of the visual/artistic style of the game, it came to my attention hold on the snow is hazardous. Meaning with me getting a hazardous planet, as well as looking for the materials needed to repair my ship, I also had to monitor my exosuit and make sure that I kept my thermal equipment fully charged, or to get into shelter to stabilise my temperature. Luckily for me my starting planet also had a lot of caves I could take shelter in.
Repairing the first few parts of my ship was quite easy as my planet was well populated with materials needed, and all in close proximity of my ships crash site. Then I was given the job of collecting a material called Heridium. I scanned and located one on the map it was 8-9 minutes away. Finally I would have to move outside of the crash sites perimeter. At this point the next WOW hit me straight in the face. This timing was in real time for walking to the point; meaning the 8-9 minute timing was actually 8-9 minutes away. This lead to the start of the proper exploring of this beautiful snow covered planet I found myself on.
So I set off on this journey to collect the Heridium and what was meant to be the 8-9 minutes turned out to be a lot longer as I started to get lost in the beauty of this virtual planet and it’s wildlife. Coming across the species of the planet was really something, and at this point none were hostile creatures so I got to take in the beauty in the ugliness of some of the species. At this point the 8-9 minutes became about 30 minutes as I found myself wondering off in different directions to my goal, coming across many different materials and points where I was learning the language of the game. I did finally get to point, and decided I would take a different route back to try and discover more of the planet, as my next quest was to get in the ship and leave the planet.
On the way back I came across a satellite point that went into the air and highlighted a shelter. Having pointed my reticle over the shelter it was 27 minutes away. Now, please bare in mind that I avoided a lot about this game that was being released, as I wanted the experience to be something I have not even seen. This really did hinder me at this point. With my quest being get in ship and leave the planet, I thought if I get in the ship will it automatically leave the planet. This made me decide I would not risk it and I decided to walk to this point, at the time not thinking of the 27 minutes plus walk back to my ship.
With me streaming this at the time, I apologised to the viewers in case I could have flown there in my ship, and set off on the 27 minutes of exploring on the way. In this time I came across more of the species of the planet and some of them were huge in size, and found out at this point I could feed them. I also came across my first hostile species, and this made me look at crafting my first weapon in order to defend myself against the attacks. I carried out the walk to discover the shelter, but on the way also found another satellite which discovered an outpost. After getting to the shelter this outpost was a further 20 minutes away. It was at this point I decided to stop there and get back to my ship and if I left the planet, it would be a simple case of coming back.
Once back at the ship and discovering 6 out of the 8 species on the planet, I boarded the ship, then the realisation I didn’t leave the planet and could have flown to the shelter hit me. I set off to the outpost and was there in minutes in my ship, rather than the 46 minutes it would have been to walk there from my ship. So I flew over the planet scanning and laying down more markers. But I only stopped at the outpost, as I wanted to see what outside the planet looked like and how the flying worked.
Now, this is what really shocked me, and made me realise how great the system and coding was behind this game. I flew up to exit the planet’s atmosphere and I was in space with no loading the transaction from planet to galaxy. I flew a little bit and came across my first Space Station and decided I would check it out and see what was available. Shortly after landing in the space station, I was joined by a pretty impressive ship. On it leaving I decided to see what was in this station, it was basically vendors and a NPC to talk to. Upon initiating the conversation with the NPC I was impressed to see the subtitles in their language apart from the words I learnt from the information rocks found around my starting planet.
Upon leaving I could see another undiscovered planet in the distance and thought I would go and discover this planet. So off I headed for this planet and again from leaving space into the planet atmosphere no loading for the transaction; this really does blow me away even thinking about it now. Anyway I got into and landed on this planet, and this information popped up empty planet. All I had discovered was one of these rock planets. I activate the outpost I landed next to and thought I would just leave at this point get back to my first planet and continue exploring that. I got back in my ship and had no fuel to take off, meaning I would now need to explore this barren planet for Plutonium to refuel. This pointed out to me the crucial aspect of making sure you stock your material as much as possible. After a good 30-40 minutes I finally came across the entrance to a cave full of Plutonium that I was picking up with my scanner and could leave the planet.
From here I decided to it would be a great to discover everything on my first planet before going to others, so I headed back to my original planet and discovered more materials, more points and an additional species. On my first planet I am still missing one species and there is plenty of points my scanner has picked I have yet to visit, so it is likely I will find this missing species on the way.
This is how I have spent my first five hours with No Man’s Sky, it seems like I have hardly touched the game. But this just points out the vastness of the game and how easy it is to get lost in the world Hello Games has built. Taking into the account the vastness, the exploration, the survival aspect, the generation of the planets and species, and the look of the game; this is why the hype around the game has been lived up to for me with the time I have had with the game.
For me the whole naming planets and species was something I couldn’t wait for. With Hello Games starting every player on a new randomly generated planet this is something you get chance to do straight away, which I think was a nice touch. You do this by going into options and looking at what has been discovered, and pressing square to discover it, or triangle to re-name and discover it. However, believe me naming something is not as easy as you would think. It was so hard I used the third party companion app on my phone to name my starting planet, giving it the name Simulanoto SIS. The app also includes an animal naming tool, but I went with the Bill Bailey naming technique from the advert. Meaning I’ve ended up with species named things like Mossy Footed Zebra Newt and Rhino Rock Bear.
A big part of your survival is the exosuit. This includes your life support and core for hazardous and toxic environments which will need either shelter, as mentioned before, materials or power cores to get the power back to them if they get depleted. Otherwise you start to take damage every 5-10 seconds. You also have inventory slots you can assign things like weapons to, but this takes it up a slot permanently unless you discard the item, or send it to your ship; meaning less storage space for your materials. At the moment I have added two extra slots from suit upgrade stations located on my starting planet.
The ship you start with can be upgraded to have better weapons, attachments (of which some are forced for space travel). It also has slots you can transfer items to directly from your exosuit to if your suit slots are full. This is just done through the user interface you access by pressing the touch pad. Again elements of your ship get depleted. For instance, on taking off it reduces your fuel by 25% each time. All the parts will need material, power cores, and crafted or brought items to restore them.
Now I would like to talk about the crafting system. Like many crafting games you have to have a slot in your inventory in order to craft as you need to store the item your are crafting. In order to get to your inventory it is the simple press of your touch pad on the Playstation 4 controller. This will instantly bring up your inventory.. Then all it takes is going over the empty slot and pressing Square. This will bring up the crafting menu and going over the items in this menu will tell you what you need to craft that item. This is demoed early in the game as you need to craft items to repair your ship.
Lastly, I would like to pick up on the user interface in the inventory menu. For me this is based loosely on the Destiny user interface for your character. Now I think that is a great thing, because for me the Destiny user interface was very easy to use and ran smoothly. As mentioned above find the empty slot you want to craft and item to, and upon pressing Square a little box pops up with the crafting options in, sort of like when selecting a gear slot on Destiny, but it requires the button press.
So, would I recommend on getting No Man’s Sky from my first experiences with it (even though I have not touched on much in game in this time)? Personally I would say yes. For me it has lived up to the gamer made hype and has delivered on everything I expected it to before I have even got out and moved on with the quest and explored properly.
However taking it away from the personal side, it all depends what you want in a game. If you are not into the exploring, survival, and crafting games; say like Minecraft and 7 Days to Die to give some examples, maybe this game would be something you would need to consider before buying. But, if these games are the type of games you like and you haven’t purchased No Man’s Sky yet, I say what are waiting for? Get out there and buy it now.