No Man’s Sky is finally here. The game that will replace all games forever and now we can all stop buying or making new games. At least, that is what most of reddit would have us believe. Before this game even came out people made it out to be more than it was. I am good at not getting my hopes up too much for games that I have little or no knowledge of prior to release. This might be the best way to go about things. Just become a jaded idiot and ignore all hype for games. I wish people would do that instead of buying the game and posting a stupid meme about how you should not pre-order anything. Listen, I bought Witcher 3 early and I do not regret it at all. I waited for Destiny and I bought it and I still hated it. So, good experiences and bad experiences can ultimately cancel one another.
Let’s talk turkey. No Man’s Sky is boring; sort of, a good kind of boring, though. It certainly created an interesting gameplay loop. Land on planet, blink for waypoints, shoot rocks, and then leave. Entering the atmosphere of planets is probably the best thing in the game. Pushing through that layer of air and gas surrounding the planets is a lot of fun, sometimes I even convince myself that the atmospheres of the planets differ. However, unless you want to point a shiny line at a rock for about forty hours the rest of the game falls quite flat. The space combat leaves a lot to be desired. Most of these things feel like half-baked features. The combat plays as if they made a decision on what they wanted it to be like then got half way and ran out of time or money or both. The ground combat is mostly non-existent. Running into aliens and creatures on new planets is neat but all you can do is feed them stuff and name them. The only enemies on the planets are sentinels; which consist of flying guilty spark’s and walking robot dogs. Not exactly the most exciting enemies to shoot with the one type of gun for a long time.
When I first loaded the game up it looked like absolute butt. I’m talking slower than slow frame rate and weird chunky poop textures. I though a bad Playstation 2 game made its way to steam. With a little tweaking and turning those sliders all the way up, son, I made it bearable. Not pretty, but bearable. The game has style, I’ll give it that. Once again, though, it feels nearly unfinished. The textures pop in and out wildly when I’m flying towards planets or leaving them. If you warp to a nearby planet it just looks like ass until you get right up on it. Then it looks like butt. Ass and butt are different, one is worse and one is better. Not by much, but the difference is there.
What really brings the amazing failure to this game is that they found out how to make the interesting hook on this game so repetitive that it becomes lackluster. I almost want a more concentrated game with a coherent world building experience. Each world has massive amounts of things to see and minerals to mine, but doing that at one small part of a planet is almost equivalent to doing that on another part of a different planet. I wind up finding a lot of the same minerals and buildings on different planets. I wish there were a better map for the interior solar systems so I could manage what planets I have been to and where the most interesting stuff on the planets will do. Same for the galactic map, it seems a little wonky to use and hard to find a new way to move around the map.
The crafting and inventory systems in the game leave a lot to be desired. The crafting system is hardly explained and as someone who knows nothing about chemistry it took me two hours to figure out that the elements are sorted into different categories of isotope, silicon and the other one. I forget. Fitting everything onto the shipboard inventory is almost impossible and the easiest thing to do is expand the exosuit to carry more around in person. Crafting blueprints come fast and furious. A lot of them I don’t even look at because I don’t understand what they do, my ship, suit or gun don’t have enough room for them so I just file them away as something I’m going to need to look at some other time. Probably never, this game is super boring. I like it, but it’s boring.
If someone forced me to give a rating to this game it would hover somewhere around six out of ten. I do not think it’s awful or broken. Maybe, just maybe, it could have been more exciting than a Minecraft in space without proper crafting. This game nails one thing and nails it well, exploration. Nothing beats descending down on a planet where you never know what you are going to discover, except at some point you do because it is always the same.