No Man’s Sky – Review
Publisher: Hello Games
Platforms: PS4 –PC
Release: PS4 9th-August
No Man’s Sky
No man’s sky is a massively ambitious game that aims to literally create its own universe, in which players will explore an immense virtual world so large that it would be impossible to see everything in a single lifetime, countless systems, planets and even inhabitants who in populate these worlds.
This would be a colossal under taking for any Triple A game studio with hundreds of employees,
However No Man’s Sky has been created by Hello Games an English game studio based in Guildford with 15 staff members. Can such a small team deliver on such a mammoth promise and create a living breathing universe?
Beginnings – A strange new world
The game opens as you awaken on a strange planet with a ship in front of yo
u. You quickly learn that your ship needs to be repaired, near your ship you can find a curious red orb which offers you a choice. Either “Accept atlas’ guidance” or “Spurn direction and explore freely” after choosing an option you can venture forth in search of adventure and materials to repair your ship.
You venture forth from your ship and begin to explore your first discovered world, which will never have been touched by another player, and due to the size of the game may never be seen by another player or yourself ever again.
As you explore and gather resources you will discover numerous different things; you’ll stumble across all manners of different creatures and strange flora populating your planet, or perhaps you find a base with a friendly alien trader who you can’t understand, but you offer him some resources only to find him overjoyed and rewarding you with a strange alien artefact. Perhaps you’ll happen across an ancient alien monolith stoically standing underneath the night’s sky.
Perhaps your planet will be barren with no signs of life and plagued with storms of acid rain and you’ll have to find cover in a cave whilst you search for elements to repair your suit from the damage caused by the rain.
Crafting & Surviving
Soon after starting your adventure you learn that crafting is a huge part of the game, (as with most games these days). However unlike most games these days the crafting is so intuitive because you can tell that the game is built around this system. The game is about exploration and in order to explore more you’ll need to upgrade, repair and refuel your ship and your life support, however intimidating and complex that may sound, Hello Games have managed to build a system that makes the game feel very streamlined, so it never becomes too much of a hassle or too confusing.
Everything you come across in the worlds is made up on elements much like in the real world, however they have been simplified and grouped together, for example plant life and wild life are made up of carbon, which can be used as a common fuel and crafting component, there are similar elements that are rarer and more potent that have similar uses such as plutonium, these elements are grouped together as isotopes and are easily identifiable by their red colour. There are five main types of elements which all tend to have their own specialised uses and after a few hours with the game you will become familiar with the common elements and will remember which elements you’ll need to refuel your life support and repair damage.
In the world of No Man’s Sky you’ll come across a plethora of welcoming beings, however this galaxy is not entirely free of hostility. There are occasions where you’ll have to defend yourself whether it is from wild life or more advance life forms in space ship dog fights, combat is inevitable, and when you engage in it you’ll be surprisingly robust with numerous different upgrades you craft for you Omni-tool device, or your different lasers for you ship.
The Story – The centre of it all
So while most will be content to purchase this game on the promise of exploring a universe of procedurally generated planets alone, I have know a few people who have asked “What is the point? Is there even any story to the game?” Yes there is a story to the game but it’s not one that is entirely obvious, the goal of the story is to reach the centre of the universe, however if that’s all you focus on, you’re missing out on what I believe is the true point the game, to explore and make your own stories whilst you do.
Whilst Playing No Man’s Sky I couldn’t help but be overcome by a feeling of wonder, being able to explore a Universe of undiscovered planets with unique creatures populating it. I’d spend hours wondering the surface of a planet searching for different things strange cave formations, alien structures that help you to decipher alien languages, colonial bases with alien inhabitants.
It may sound cliché but No Man’s Sky feels like more than a game, it’s an experience! You’ll find yourself fully immersed in another universe exploring strangely beautiful planets whilst listening to an absolutely fantastic soundtrack composed by 65 Days of Static which drips with pure atmosphere and character.
The Game is absolutely fantastic and even though we have poured around 20 hours into the game already we will definitely be playing for countless more.
Written by Dan McCluskey