To infinity and beyond.
Ever dreamt of exploring new and uncharted planets? How about being a space pirate looting anything in sight? Or maybe just building your dream home on a planet covered in water? If so, No Man’s Sky awaits. Officially released on the Xbox One (with a brand new NEXT update), will No Man’s Sky be a dream come true or a nightmare?
Released in 2016 on PC and PlayStation 4, No Man’s Sky was originally a shallow and empty game, though with recent updates (and the addition of multiplayer), the universe has changed for the better. When starting the game, players have the option of playing a variety of game modes: normal difficulty with standard technology and building costs, permadeath mode with permanent character death and increased hazards, and creative mode which indulges your creativity and constructions skills with unlimited resources.
Booting up for the first time, your character wakes up on a strange planet (different every time you start a new game) and you need to find and repair your spaceship. The game quickly teaches you how to scan the area for resources, manage your suit’s life support systems, and craft materials (for repairing/upgrading your equipment and spaceship). Once your ship has been repaired and refuelled, you’re ready to leave the planet and explore.
Activating your ship’s engines and breaking through the planet’s atmosphere for the first time is breathtaking. The sound design captures the feeling of the planet’s atmosphere, booming and rattling your ship upon entering and leaving planets. From here you can follow distress signals (The Campaign), become a space pirate, learn alien languages, or go explore new planets. The possibilities are endless.
No Man’s Sky is a visual masterpiece, with beautiful planet and spaceship design that look like they’ve been pulled straight out of Star Wars, Star Trek, and even Firefly. Micromanaging your supplies has never been so entertaining. You’ll also have to manage your suit’s life support systems, energy for your mining equipment, and fuel for your spaceship. Stuck in the middle of nowhere and a snow storm is coming? You can summon your ship to your location, but it’ll use the last of your launch thruster fuel, causing you to source more fuel – it’s all about how you manage your resources.
While No Man’s Sky reaches for the stars, there are some issues which keep it grounded. The opening tutorial of the game is rushed, throwing players right in the deep end. Upon starting the game, your character instantly starts taking environmental damage (thanks to radiation, extreme high/low temperature. or the atmosphere is toxic). Most planets also have drones called Sentinels which will attack if they catch you mining resources, but the game doesn’t warn of this. The inventory management system is like that of Destiny, and the tutorial quickly brushes over how to navigate it.
Though there is a learning curve at the start of No Man’s Sky, once you grasp the core mechanics the possibilities are endless. Stunning visuals, in-depth space exploration, and entertaining resource management are what makes No Man’s Sky not just a sci-fi game set in another galaxy, but a sci-fi game set in your galaxy.