No Man's Sky

By Matt Wright | 16 May 2018
At this point, I have only been exploring the vast expanse for around 110 Hours and to be honest, I still donít feel I have scratched the surface of what this game can provide. Here is what I can tell you so far. For the record, this review has been done on PC with using mouse & Keyboard and sometimes Xbox One controller.

No Manís sky originally came out 09/08/2016 to a lot of hype and promise. Sadly, upon launch, the game had a rocky start with a lot of fans feeling the game was oversold and under delivered. Since launch, Hello Games have been working non-stop to deliver the game they promised and so far they have been on the right track. To this date there have been three major patches:
V1.1 Foundation
V1.2 Path Finder
V1.3 Atlas Rising
With each patch, it has brought so many new exciting elements to the game. Foundation gave us base building. Path Finder added improved graphics settings, base sharing and vehicles. Atlas rising added a 30+ hour campaign among other extras. All these significant patches have been provided to players for free. Now, V1.5 looks to be just around the corner (it seems Hello Games have decided to skip V1.4, for what reason? We donít know.)

See you space cowboy...

When you start the game, you are greeted with four options depending on your taste; Normal, Survival, Permadeath, and Creative. I currently play on survival and the main difference between that and normal is resources and random attack encounters (Iíll touch on this later in the review).

Once you have made your selection, your screen turns white with just one option showing ďPress E to Initiate.Ē After carrying out this mysterious instruction, the game comes to life and you return to consciousness. Once you get your bearings, you find yourself alone and in need of finding your ship to get off-world. When you have acquired your ship, this is when the game opens up.

For the wise man looks into space and he knows there are no limited dimensions.

Now that you are off-world, you see the charm and technical marvel this game is. The main fact that the game has minimal to no load time is no small feat, which even AAA developers still havenít cracked. What does this mean for No Manís Sky? Well, it means you can go from space station to space to planet with no loading screens or bars. For me, this is such an amazing feeling as it holds your attention and keeps you immersed.

Another thing which I like and dislike about the game is there is little to no hand-holding. Modern games do too much of this and it is a real turn off for me. However, in saying this, I feel there are times a pointer might help -- have no fear as the Wiki is a massive help.

Now that you are space-bound, the universe is pretty much your oyster. You can either look for a place to create a settlement, continue with the gameís starter missions or just go for the main objective of the game which is to find the centre of the universe.
Another nice little element are the 3 races in the game, the Gek, Korvax, and Vy'keen. Upon meeting them you cannot understand a word they are saying, which means you need to explore to unlock their language either by finding relics or even just asking them to teach youÖ for a price.

What does space sound like?

Now, one of the things I adore about this game is the soundtrack. This was all written and performed by the band, 65 Days of Static, and with each patch, new tracks have been added. I love this soundtrack so much that I often listen to it while working or doing odd jobs. The synth and drum beats do so much to add tension and emotion to the game and I just donít think that I can sum it up in words. My advice? Just load it up on YouTube, stick on some good headphones and see what Iím talking about.

In space, no one can hear you scream!

At this point, youíre probably saying, ďbut his review seems too positive! What gives?Ē I will admit, I probably have been talking too much about the pros and not the cons. There are negatives to this game for example; graphics popping in as you fly over planets which can take you out of the emersion, but this is the price you pay for procedurally generated worlds and no load screens. Sometimes, trying to figure out what to do next can hinder progress and thus, make you resort to the wiki for guidance.

Another thing is that assets seem to be reused quite a lot and not used in an interesting way. This is most obvious when you find a Ruin or a Monolith, when you see it you think, ďwow!!! What even is this thing! What will it do! What secrets does it hold?Ē Then when you use it, it just unlocks a new word in a races vocabulary. What I would have loved to have seen is a Ruin or Monolith be the start of a treasure trail to some underground temple or something like that.

What is beyond the horizon?

So the great news is that No Mans Sky NEXT has been announced for Summer 2018. What will this include? We donít know. But it will be bringing the game to Xbox One. Considering the last patch they did, Atlas Rising included a 30+ hour campaign amongst other things, it just shows that there is going to be a lot of hype surrounding this at launch. Personally, I cannot wait to see what they bring to the table as Hello Games as shown they are dedicated to bringing more into one of the greatest space exploration games out there.

You can usually find this game around the £15 on PC or cheaper second-hand versions on PS4. With the newest patch coming, buy it now and get started exploring the deep black!

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The Good

Amazing sense of adventure.
Massively vast universe to get lost in.
Stunning worlds.
A soundtrack to immerse into.

The Bad

Graphical pop-ins.
Lack of any multiplayer.
Very few progression prompts.
Over reliance on players searching a wiki.


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