Massive November update like whoa
- normal, survival, creative modes
- base building
- a freighter???
But what is it?
Game keeps finding new ways to disappoint me.
Nah it's a pile of horseshit. It's not even "it's not what they promised!", that isn't the issue. It's just not good. The fundamental design of the game doesn't work well.
OK, this is getting really, really boring.
No Man's Sky is a procedurally generated disappointment engine, featuring a very large number of stars to visit, each with some number of planets to explore, all populated by technically unique but suspiciously similar disappointments.
It was developed by Hello Games, a tiny indie studio co-founded by Sean Murray, aka Satan, the Devil, who sold everything you would have liked about it to Sony, also the Devil, for 60USD.
But for real:
There are a lot of people legitimately disappointed with the game and/or Hello Games' communication. The game definitely doesn't "feel" like a "full price AAA" game, and a lot of promised features are very cut down or removed entirely.
For a thorough catalogue I recommend One Man's Lie
, which lists everything ever said about the game. Some of it is reasonable, some of it is... less so.
Perhaps it is better to start with what No Man's Sky is not
- it is not Star Citizen With Colors: this ain't a space sim; the flight mechanics are extremely simplistic, the combat is light, you aren't even allowed to crash into things without mods. Oh and no, there is no multiplayer.
- it is not Minecraft In Space: while the (natural) environments are fully destructible down to a base layer, you won't be building anything or making permanent changes. There's no ecology or farming or stuff like that. UPDATE: the Foundation patch has added a base building blocks thing and some farming type stuff.
- it is not Ark Except Bigger: the survival aspect is not very challenging (nearly nonexistent, really), you will almost never be in a truly dangerous situation, your upgrades will make you more resilient but it's more of a convenience thing. UPDATE: the Foundation patch has added a Survival mode that is quite hard for the first couple of hours.
- it is not Skyrim But Also Spaceships: it is like Skyrim if you took out the quests, the equipment, most NPCs, much of the combat, the cities, and the story. You basically get to keep the plant collection.
What the game actually is
Here's what I put in my Steam review, which was rated highly unhelpful within minutes.
This game is a space walking simulator. It's a galactic berry picker. It is boring.
It's also amazing. If it happens to be the sort of thing you like.
If you like survival sims, or space sims, or building things, or complex combat, or varied NPC interactions, or sick loot... this doesn't have those things.
The game elements serve only as the lightest incentives to wander around collecting stuff, with the reward being the wandering, not the stuff. If you like cresting a ridge and seeing a valley spread out below you, the sunset tinting it vibrant colors; if your heart beats as you see a faint fluorescent glow emanating from a cave entrance that you almost missed; if you have to dive into a lake to see what's beneath its surface; if you long to point your ship at a distant star to see what worlds you find there: you might like this game.
I've put 36 72 hours into it and I've not even maybe gotten halfway through the things I want to do, and seen only a fraction of the things I hope to see.
More specific stuff:
The gameplay elements are extremely repetitive; you'll come across almost identical buildings, harvest the same minerals, see the same freighters, have the same conversations, do the same puzzles, etc. It is 100% about the journey from one place to the next, seeing the sights along the way. Your most important tool is the screenshot button.
There are no items to collect besides minerals and the occasional upgraded multitool, so there are no treasures the bottom of a lake or in the deepest recesses of a cave or on some distant moon. I cannot stress enough that this game is barely a game; there are things you do, yes, but really they're only there to get you to wander around a planet and see the sights. And they are some great sights.
The space controls are extremely arcadey; think Star Fox or Rogue Squadron. The combat is generally very simple, aside from recharging your shields mid fight, which is garbage. Combat is much like a minigame: enemy ships show up, and you can engage or try to run. But it's always just gonna be you versus a pack of 4 to 8 (maybe more) ships.
On foot (which is probably how you'll be spending most of your time), there's practically no combat. Sometimes you shoot things attacking you, but mostly you shoot rocks. The wildlife just wanders around, and there's very little interaction with anything. You can scan stuff and store it in a journal type thing, kind of like Metroid Prime.
The crafting is very limited: you have to find random blueprints, and cannot build anything otherwise. The fun comes from managing the layout of the upgrades you craft to link matching types, which makes them better.
Ship types may not affect much, if anything, so the only reasons to get different ships are 1) more cargo space, 2) looks, and 3) ship health can also vary, it turns out.
There are no maps or anything, so there's functionally no turning back. There's no storing things in a base or anything. You have your ship and your suit. Toss your junk, rip out the guts of your new stuff, always be crafting.
One of cooler gameplay things are the words: you collect words from the three alien languages, and they translate your interactions with NPCs. So you slowly understand more and more of each conversation, letting you choose your responses better. This also helps freshen up the interactions, because they are very repetitive.
In short, the game stuff is definitely lacking. But the environments and the sense of discovery are great. It's a game made for screenshots rather than streaming, I think.
Some info for when you're starting out (just one big spoiler (don't worry, it's marked) I think, but in case you want to figure stuff out on your own):
There are three "paths" you can choose to take: you can follow the call of the Atlas, you can help Nada and Polo in their research, or you can head towards the center. You can switch between the paths, and there's no urgent reason to do any of them.
Atlas path (very useful):
Worth following at least until you get the Atlas v1 pass, which lets you unlock the doors on one side of the space stations, which always have a suit inventory slot for sale.
You should hang on to the stones if you plan to complete this path (but it is possible to reacquire them if needed).
This will help you find black holes, which move you closer to the center.
Center path (spoiler for what is at the center):
If you're having a good time and don't really care about what is at the center, I recommend skipping this. This actual for real spoiler is included because many find it disappointing, so if you're interested in getting the game to find the big secret... maybe think twice about it?
You either get sent back to the edges or to a "new" galaxy that is pretty much the same.
When you break an upgrade down it'll sometimes create a stackable version of an item used to create it, which lets you store them way more conveniently. Keep these stacks in your suit, because they will explode into individual items if your ship blows up.
You'll find there are some elements that you always want to have on you, and some rarer ones that are often used in crafting. The rare single items are not worth saving unless you are going to use one soon. Nothing is so rare that you won't find more of it.
Buildings and stuff on planets:
- drop pods contain suit inventory slots
- ruins/plaques/monoliths give you words
- transmission signals will sometimes lead you to crashed ships
you can now build things! Press up on the D-pad or Z to open the build menu
The ships may not have any differences besides looks health; some combat looking ones may have a lead indicator but maybe that's an upgrade.
Moving inventories around is a pain, but planning ahead helps.
- link them
- try the plasma launcher
- birds are assholes, but if you just track them long enough while zoomed in they'll usually scan now they scan fine!
- animals out of sight will show up as grey dots while scanning; might be limited to land/water/caves, depending on which you're in
- scanner upgrades on your multitool let you "see" farther away dots
- the dots will turn red or green as you approach to indicate if the critter is something you've already scanned or not; there's a mod that adds colorblind-friendly indicators
- sometimes you'll get a floating gray dot that never materializes; this is just a bug
But enough of all that, on to the screenshots!
- Far off worlds!
- The wonders of nature!
Look at this cutie
JESUS! I mean..wow, nice to...meet you? Fuc...er, yes, lovely day we're having. Oh, yes, that's my Geiger counter.. I should, uh, be going now...Damn!
- The convenience of automatic ship parking!
- Regrettable purchasing decisions!
Alas, my heart was quickly tempted by another ship! A red ship! She was a real fixer-upper, but we made it:
Maybe I shouldn't have been so hasty:
- And more!
The galaxy awaits!
Oh and there are mods.
(If anyone would like to be removed from this frankenpost, or has corrections/additions/suggestions, just shoot me a PM.)