I had just landed on my second planet and was immediately warned about possible radiation. This felt exciting as I had just moved from a somewhat safer planet. Under the presumption of something fascinating, I started wandering. But, I was met with just more scenery and no mission. Then I thought that maybe I had to go on a few other planets to actually advance through the game. Two systems later, I still had learnt absolutely nothing. This was my sad beginning to No Man’s Sky. So, without further ado, let’s begin with our No Man’s Sky Review.
No Man’s Sky has an interesting premise, to begin with. With the promise of a space game with quintillion galaxies, all procedurally generated was something of a dream come true for space games fans, including me. The various interviews given by the developer about the inclusion of various amazing features into the game was also one of the other factors that raised the hype that was already present. But, what the end product turned out to be is more of a shame as the final release copy of the game is all but a shell of the promised version.
Lets take a look at this step by step. First off, the story. There is basically no story. Though I had not expected much on this front, I did although expect a small storyline or side missions to help pass the time while we try to reach the galaxy. But, sadly that isn’t in the game. All the game offers is a vague lore that is spread on the planets throughout the galaxy and you basically use these stones to learn more of the other species language.
So, the next question would be whether or not there is a good ending to the game. Sadly, without spoiling much I can say that there is nothing of the sort. If you want to know what is at the “center of the galaxy” I recommend watching a youtube video to help you out there. Next up is the sound. This is one of the very few areas where the game excels.
The game has stunning music and hearing to it is an absolute delight. The only other prominent voice is that of the virtual AI, that thankfully doesn’t too humane and instead has a nice robotic feel to it.
The gameplay, what I thought would be the meat of the game manages to fall short by a long shot. The gameplay is repetitive and manages to get boring after a few planets as there is nothing to look forward to or no reward system to reward you for all the “farming” you do. The only thing pushing you forward would be to get a bigger ship inventory size and despite promising lots of ships for the player to purchase, in my journey of 4 systems, I just found 4-5 variants only. There is no way to meet your friends or such as there is no multiplayer, again which was promised.
The space battle is satisfactory at best, seeing as this is a space game, it is a huge letdown. The only people you could technically fight are the pirates, who are really overpowered at the early stages of the game. There is no tutorial of any sorts to let you into the game and make you understand what and how are you supposed to do stuff, only small prompts on the bottom of the screen offering hints which often are vague.
The small inventory size is a pain as you have to frequently go to a hub to sell the stuff and then travel back again to the planet you were on. Speaking of travelling, this game offers no auto-travel to a previously discovered planet or hub or solar system making it quite difficult to get back to a planet where you know you can find a specifc mineral in bunch. Also, the game feels more of a chore and ends up being frustating when it is supposed to do the opposite and make you relaxed. The UI too is boorish, where you have to long click a mouse button to select an item or do anything really. The map is also confusing and almost as idiotic as the UI. There is no fighting of any sorts, and if you are expecting gameplay similar to the trailers, there is simply none.
The graphics of the game is pretty good. Though not the most realistic looking, its use of vibrant colours to depict a planet makes it really stand out at times. The use of different types of colours for each mineral is also a good thing as it allows you to easily distinguish between them. The randomly generated wildlife is also underwhelming at best as it isn’t awestruck as you would expect it to be.
For the PC version, I found a lot of stuttering and sometimes even random crashes on a PC that qualifies the minimum specification. Also, just to be on a safer side I tested it on a machine running a higher specification system, the stuttering was still prevalent. The game has a pretty basic settings menu and the FOV are too small which need to be adjusted besides the 30fps lock which can be removed by changing it into the settings.
This game as it is right now is not worth the $60 price tag it demands. I would instead recommend waiting for a price drop. A price range of under 15$ is what I think is right for the game at this stage. At the state the game is right now, it seems more like an early access game to me.
Final Thoughts on No Man's Sky
No Man's Sky feels more like an Early Access or an Alpha title rather than a game that is worth the 60$ price tag it has launched with.