There is something about “Space” themed games that has always peaked the interest of Gamers – Games that promise to stimulate our needless urge to explore the heavens and beyond from the comfort of our couches. But so many games have tried and failed to capture the true essence of the big unknown.
Enter No Man’s Sky (NMS) , a game developed by Sean Murray and his team of developers at Hello Games. NMS promises to deliver just that type of experience. A Space simulator where the possibilities are endless , where you can explore countless planets in a procedurally generated universe. A game where you as the player have to survive dangerous uninhabitable planets , fight off unfriendly aliens and mine resources in order to craft better equipment.
But did No Man’s Sky deliver on it’s promises? Well Yes and No. The biggest selling point for NMS is it’s procedurally generated universe. Featuring 18 quintillion ( 18,446,744,037,709,551,616 ) playable planets , you get the sense that you will never run out of planets to explore , and this is the main focus of the game : To Explore – While this is technically correct , NMS reuses a limited set of game assets. Creating a scenario where you will see the same planets , but they vary slightly in color , plant life , animals and buildings.
Sure the possibility is there that out of the 18 quintillion planets , 17 quintillion are totally different and they use totally different assets , but you will never get the chance to explore all these planets to truly know if this is the case. In fact if you had to explore each planet in the game for only one second , it will take you 5 billion years to see it all. The problem with NMS’s procedurally generated universe is that it gets boring really fast. It takes away that sense of exploration that is suppose to be the foundation of this game.
Ok so the universe and exploring is not that great , but what about the crafting , combat , and the survival aspect of the game? Well in short , NMS’s does feature these activities but they are all extremely watered down. Crafting revolves around you mining resources in the quest to upgrade your multi tool (resource zapper as I call it) and space ship only to realize that all this does is enable you to travel to another planet to mine resources again , this cycle is extremely repetitive and boring. Combat comes into play when the sentinels (Floating Robot police drones) see you mining resources and they then start attacking you (for some unknown reason as the game does not explain this action) – But defeating them is extremely easy even with the standard weapons that you are given at the beginning of the game.
Yes the game does feature Space Ship combat but it is as dull as shooting a single sentinel on the ground. The survival aspect of the game revolves around the extreme cold, heat or poisonous gasses that you might encounter on a certain planet. You are kitted with a life support system that has its own health bar , which gradually drains as you walk around in the extreme conditions. In order to survive you have to mine resources again and again and again in order to refill the life support system’s health bar. Yes this process is also extremely repetitive and boring.
Ok so the gameplay is boring and repetitive , but what about the story line? NMS’s story line is unfortunately an afterthought as well – You begin the game on foot after you crashed your space ship on a random generated planet , and your first goal is to repair your ship by gathering (yes you guessed it) resources. You are then greeted by a mysterious sphere called Atlas – which gives you instructions to seek other Atlas spheres (which are located on other planets and in space) in an ultimate goal to reach the center of the universe. Without giving away spoilers, this is basically all I can say about the actual story line in this game. Although it sounds mysterious , the story line quickly becomes uninteresting and gets lost in the background while you mine resources over and over again.
The game does feature four intelligent alien races that you can talk to but in order to understand them (they speak alien) you have to find objects scattered all over the universe that decodes one word at a time – but unfortunately all of this is meaningless since the NPC’s don’t actually do anything. Each conversation revolves around them asking you for either money or resources , and if you hand over something they didn’t want, nothing happens. Which is mind boggling and leaves me with the question of why did the developers even considered putting them into the game at all if they serve no purpose whatsoever.
Except for the extremely dull gameplay , No Man’s Sky also suffers from some controversy. During the development stage of the game , founder Sean Murray pointed out in various interviews that the game will feature multiplayer as well – which enables you and your friends to explore the universe together – only to backtrack one day before the release of the game and state that this is a single player game only.
Tie that in with the usual gameplay trailers that feature more detailed planets and scenarios than what you actually get in the game – No Man’s Sky has left a lot of Gamers angry with the feeling that they have been lied to by the developers. Not even to mention that the price tag of this game is the same as other AAA games but features way less.
To sum up No Man’s Sky : This is not the space game you were looking for , the gameplay and story line is meaningless and boring and you will quickly find yourself either getting a refund or simply just playing something else , and it is a shame since this game promised a lot to the gaming community, but at the end of the day it only contributed to the distrust Gamers have developed towards Gaming Studios like Hello Games.
Would I recommend this game? Hell NO. Ok to be fair , some people might enjoy it but the majority (99.9%) of the gaming community wont. Rating : 3.0/10
Watch this space for regular updates in the Gaming category on Running Wolf’s Rant.