Now I was one of the optimistic, but ready to be let down crowd going into the release of No Man’s Sky. To me, Hello Games was offering literally the world(s) and I was not sure that I believed them. In the past every game that has ever offered us close to what they were saying, ended up crashing and burning. However, after several hours, and 2 planets partially explored, I am glad to say that they blew me away.
Now going in, if you are expecting a player vs player, or even a multiplayer experience, you are not going to be happy because this game could not be further from that, at least at the moment. This is a straight exploration and survival game, across a literal galaxy, 18 quintillion to be exact. Where your goal is to gather resources, explore and name every planet Bob while exploring the galaxy in your ship.
I seem to have gotten very lucky going in, I had a very lush planet that had plenty of resources as I was exploring. While it’s very easy to do the “quest” and get off planet. I spent the better part of 4 hours running around exploring, and I was extremely impressed. While I saw many complaints going in about how grindy No Man’s Sky is starting out, personally I find it extremely fun. I stood there for a good 10 minutes and mined nothing but gold, because everyone needs gold in space right? It paid off down the road as it gave me a boost.
Allow me to talk about mining for a second. You start out with a mining laser which you use to gather all the resources that you find. You shoot it, and the gun sucks it up like a futuristic vacuum cleaner. Now, you are able and encouraged to upgrade your laser so that you are able to scan resources, use it as a regular gun to fight hostile things, and much more I am assuming. Remember how I said I mined all that gold? Well I used that gold, and instead of spending it on buying a new ship, I bought a new mining laser. It upgraded to have to have 7 slots that I can add upgrades to, rather than the 5 that you start out with. It allows me to find faster, further and more efficient.
Now using items like your ship or your mining laser require resources that you must gather, use and then replenish. This causes some issues if you constantly are getting into combat, instead of just running. Whereas you must go into a menu to re-power your mining laser, is it an issue, yes, is it game breaking? Not really if you are smart, I always keep mine above 50%. Which to me was not very hard on the first two planets that I was on, though there are enough planets where it could become an issue. What became a problem, was inventory space. I am still fighting to determine if the gold I am hoarding is worth keeping, or dropping it and using the space for fuel or one of the other useful materials.
Along your journey you will run into various alien races, which you cannot communicate with….well that is. As you interact with them, and explore the worlds, you will learn various words from their language. So instead of just a jumble of letters, you sometimes get a word or two. I have words such as “warp” and “cable” which do not help very much when you are trying to learn their language.
One of the more unique features in No Man’s Sky is the ability to name things as long as you are the first to find it. You get to name your Galaxy, your planets, along with the plants and animals you find along the way. This is a gift and curse, because naming things is rough. But as hard as it is, I enjoy it, it gives each planet a unique feel to it as you run around trying to scan every plant on the planet. I’m horrible at coming up with names in video games, but I am the Dungeon Master for a game of D&D, so naturally I went to there and began naming planets, and everything else after characters, and towns in my game. So if you come across the Trassel Prime system, that’s me.
Now as I said before, I am only 4 or 5 hours in, and I was having as much fun as the first five minutes the entire time. Each new step was into unfamiliar territory, never knowing what is over the next hill. I am perhaps more excited to hop into this game after work, than when I first put this game in. All I can really say is that Hello Games promised us a unique game, and they certainly delivered just that in No Man’s Sky.