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‘No Man’s Sky’ Review

No Mans Sky Screen 4

Platform PlayStation 4 Genre Action-Adventure, Survival

Developers Hello Games Publisher Hello Games

No Man’s Sky makes good on its promise to let us explore the vast and infinite reaches of space. The various planet surfaces, animals, and plant life are fascinating and exciting to name and discover. The main issues begin to arise after trudging through your 30th planet as the game gets repetitive and boring. But even after the game becomes a little dull, No Man’s Sky is a great game to play while relaxing, and provides a nice alternative to the first person shooters like Battlefield and/or Call of Duty.

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You can retrieve your items if you die in space

As I said in my First Impressions, I hated the first several hours with No Man’s Sky. But only because I didn’t know what I was doing. After spending a lot of time with it, NMS is boiled down into a few key areas. Scavenging, Survival, Trade and Travel. 

Scavenging is the trick to learning your way around the world. Most plants give you the element Carbon, which is used to keep you alive. Certain plants and boulders will give you Plutonium or Platinum, which will help keep you in the air. And other things in the universe will derive all sorts of different elements that can be combined and resold for very high yield at multiple trading depots, or lifeforms you meet along the way.

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I have to pay you to sell to you? Can I just shoot you instead?

Survival is dependent on your constant scavenging. You’ve got to use your found items to constantly increase the capacity and abilities of your gear and ship. The main tool you use is called your “muliti-tool.” It essentially fires laser beams at anything in the world to allow you to mine the element. Upgrades to the multi-tool allow grenades, bolts, and different items better suited to help you attack the pretty terrible sentinel defenses that live on each and every planet. I will tell you that I only upgraded my mining functions and scanner because the Sentinels are pretty terrible at their job. Even the most hostile planet that will flip out if you grab anything, will lose interest the second you take orbit and get some distance away from them. And while some combat tools help you raise your accuracy with the mining tool, the combat system is weak enough to where I’d rather take the time running and landing again, as opposed to wasting my time fighting.

The dog fighting mechanic in the ship is slightly better than the multi-tool system. It servers its purpose in letting you attack other ships and take their resources. However, the combat is little more than you rotating your ship 360 degrees and trying to shoot them down, while using your resources to recharge your shield or blasters. Upgraded blaster cannons make you more successful, but the ship is built more for travel than for combat. Which is disappointing because I really wanted to spend a lot of time in awesome space battles.

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Trading Console

Trade is where you’ll make must of your money in NMS. There are certain elements you cannot find, and even more that you’ll find too much of. Trading depots are an excellent way to find some extra coin, hard to find gear, and free up some storage spaces as well. One of my favorite parts of the game is finding the “Galatic Average” of an item, and making sure I sold it when it was valuable, and bought or kept it when it was low. Sort of like a miniature stock-market within the game.

Travel is the last thing we’ll touch on since it is the meat and potatoes of NMS. There are no load times what-so-ever- between planet and space travel. Which is a magnificent feat unto itself. When you use your warp to other plants, it puts you in a bit of a loading tunnel you’ll be familiar with, but for the most part, travel is excellent and some of the best parts of the game. Every planet has their own species and lifeforms to discover. And my favorite part is exploring all of the ancient obelisk’s on each planet to discover more about that life-forms history, and to learn their language.

Because when you start NMS, you understand very little. Finding knowledge stones and meeting life-forms will teach you new languages, and for some reason those are my favorite parts of this game. If nothing else kept me wanting to play this game, it would be the constant pursuit of learning every language.

The Verdict

No Man’s Sky was as massive an undertaking for the team at Hello Games, as it is for the people that will play it. With an endless amount of planets to explore, every gamer will have their own experiences. NMS could definitely benefit from tweaks to its combat system, planet defenses, and integrating multiplayer elements into the game. While we are in the first year of NMS and Hello Games is sure to spend a lot of time patching bugs and adding updates, the game stands as a space explorers dream. If grinding for elements, space travel, learning languages, and surviving is your particular brand of vodka, you’ll want to buy this bottle.

The Good

  • Excellent Space Travel
  • Perfect Soundtrack
  • Various life forms to name
  • Great trading system
  • Grand Scale
  • Entire Languages to learn
  • Few Load Times

The Bad

  • Terrible Tutorial System
  • Ground Combat is lacking
  • Dog fighting is lacking
  • No real punishment for death

The Score: 7


Devon McCarty looks forward to relaxing via space travel. Have questions for Devon?   You can hit him up on the Watch. Chat. Play! Facebook page , chat to Devon @DesignatedDevon, but don’t for one second think I don’t want you to drop some sweet love in the comment section below. And note that Analog Addiction doesn’t always reflect the views/humor of the Watch. Chat. Play! staff. No matter how funny they think they are.

 

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