The highly hyped open world game, "No Man's Sky" where alien worlds are randomly generated by an algorithm so that every planet players visit will look different. There was even one research organisation that accused the developers of stealing their formula for doing this and the media giant Sky even tried to get rid of their name.
So now the game is finally released multi-platform. Does it live up to the hype?
You've crash landed on a planet with limited tools, your first objective is to explore and collect the resources you need to repair your ship. As you walk around the alien planet (which was a fiery hot planet for me), objects you can interact with are highlighted and once you go up to them you can see what resources they provide. Bringing up the menu shows you what you need to repair and craft the items you need to begin your exploration through space and your journey of discovery.
Most of the time you'll just be mining raw materials which can then be sold at space stations or, used to build parts for your ship, tools or trading just to buy new ones - you'll be amazed how many things one mineral be used be for. There are also very easy number pattern puzzles to solve and knowledge stones to find so you can interpret what the aliens are saying. You're pretty much free to do whatever or if you really want, follow the very thin storyline of an alien ball leading you through space.
It does get a bit repetitively boring after a while - especially when you have a tiny, tiny inventory so that you're doing a lot of item management. However as I mentioned earlier, NMS is a game of discovery. Occasionally you will find something amazing that you'll look at in awe and want to continue exploring different planets to see what else you can find.
You can't save any time but have to find discovery points scattered throughout the planet instead. At first this is quite tedious as you try to maintain your suit while exploring but after you've completed the first objective to repair your ship, you can fly between them quite easily. It's kind of like the Shiren games where you have to keep your character's hunger at bay while dungeon crawling.
For the most part, NMS is a very serene game. Alien creatures you meet run away like your average tame animal while other intelligent aliens you meet just sit around - there are hardly any threats. Well, until you start mining in the view of a sentinel, break into a locked remote factory or load up your ship with valuable cargo. Then it becomes a kind of FPS game but, don't expect the fights to be as challenging as your regular FPS or action game because even with my non-upgraded multi-tool I could easily defeat the enemies.
On first load, the alien planets you see might be beautifully er... alien. After you start traveling to other planets however, it's actually not that impressive to look at. Maybe it's because of all the advanced civilisations we expect to see from other sci-fi movies and shooters we're used to seeing.
One main annoyance is that despite being on the same planet, you can't see other players - granted NMS isn't an online game (it does let people upload the worlds the game generated for them for others to explore though). However, it would have been good to see entities coming out of space ships that land at the space ports.
Perhaps people who enjoyed games like Journey where you travel while taking in the sights might enjoy No Man's Sky - when you discover them. It's really a game of discovery like going on a trip to a foreign place and either being impressed or not. Otherwise for gamers who enjoy a adrenaline filled challenge, there is no challenge. Just lots of laborious collecting and inventory management.
- Huge universe to explore and places to discover.
- Raw material mining can get tedious.
- Inventory management can be a pain at the start.
- Most of the randomly generated planets aren't that great to look at.