No Man’s Sky has been getting a lot of stick lately, and while I agree with some elements of these complaints I think people are forgetting that the game is still a pretty incredible one – simply for its boldness and concept alone.
Here’s what I’m still loving about the game…
Some planets are empty, barren wastelands or filled with creatures that are out to peel the flesh right off your face as soon as you get out of your ship – looking at you giant creepy spider things – but sometimes you land somewhere that is just right. Sure, your suit’s toxin levels deplete rapidly and that disembodied female voice barks at you every five minutes but ignore this and you’ve discovered somewhere truly beautiful.
My first planet was one of these perfect places. Beautiful, tropical and featuring an abundance of flora and fauna it was the perfect place to begin my exploration. The grass was a fun shade of pink, the plants reaching up towards the sun were reminiscent of palm trees but with bigger fronds and rotund trunks and there was a lake nearby filled with strange squid creatures with no faces that I enjoyed swimming after and feeding.
I read the Kotaku review a week or so ago, which I really wish I’d seen before loading up the disc. The writer, Kirk Hamilton, notes all the elements that he wishes were improved or realised before realising there are better ways of playing the game than blasting off to a new system every five minutes and landing somewhere that feels familiar, but isn’t quite the same.
He started the game again and stayed on his first planet for a lengthy amount of time. Making an effort to comb it’s surface for all its treasures, appreciate the landscapes, change the names of the creatures and the planet itself before uploading them.
He made the planet his home and a base, then once he was happy he set out to see what else was around before spending plenty of time on each, giving them all names and discovering the waypoints. It’s a type of gameplay I’ve started adopting and I’m actually really enjoying, there is so much to discover just on one planet. I can’t get back to that first incredible planet, I’ve gone too far.
I’m still enjoying the random creature generation element of the game, because some of those combinations are just a little crazy. I like trying to give them fun names and cross my fingers that in the future other people will come across them and giggle. Although, did you know the word ‘spiky’ doesn’t agree with the game’s allowed words? (I was trying to call a little creature the other day Spiky Toxic Lizard Queen.)
I like the creature above, which I discovered somewhere I aptly named ‘Bug Planet’ due to its inhabitants all bearing resemblances to insects (there was a crazy one with a praying mantis face and an enormous horn *snigger* emerging from its head that I particularly liked).
While I’ve admitted to not being a huge fan of open world games in past *scowls at the Skyrim box on the shelf* this feature isn’t as daunting in this game. There’s ultimately no mission if you choose to simply spend time exploring and mining the planets, you can follow the guidance from Atlas – a presence I’m still unsure about and don’t particularly like taking orders from because it feels a little like I’m being lured somewhere I don’t want to go – or just go about your business without any pointers.
Strangely, I’ve also enjoyed the discovery element of the game and having to work out how to play. The controls aren’t explained so you have to take some time to work out how to use everything and when it comes to creating upgrades you need to really delve deep into your inventory and find the ‘recipes’ before going off and sourcing the materials required. Sometimes, you can get so engrossed finding said materials you completely forget what you’re even making.
I’m yet to do anything with my ship yet, in fact I quite like my little shuttle, and I found myself in the middle of a space battle once, panicked and died so will try to avoid those in the future.
If you have the game don’t give up yet, just try a new tactic and if you haven’t yet played I highly recommend giving it a go.