Edward Love begins his journey in No Man’s Sky; can this title deliver on all of its promises? Read part one of our review!
Cool name, isn’t it? No Man’s Sky. Say it out loud. Chew it over.
For a game that sends you soaring into space with a quintillion planets to explore, it’s apt too: a vast blanket of space filled with twinkling stars that house planets you can explore. It’s all generated on-the-fly by very clever mathematics and has been masterminded by a small development team, Hello Games, who badly need sleep, I expect.
In three years Hello Games have taken a tech demo and turned it into a finished product. Yes, it’s a physical disc. With its own box (and an awesome cover, too, by the way). A disc that you can slide into your PS4 and break out into goosebumps over.
No Man’s Sky is cool: not nerdy cool – cool. Adidas Neo cool, Nike Roshe cool, Neymar cool, Jordan cool. It’s the reason Sean Murray of Hello Games has been paraded in front of groomed Hollywood chat show hosts. You see, even the most po-faced suit can get excited over the idea of being their own space explorer.
This small team from Guildford, England then is in possession of the hottest IP on the planet – and that’s very good for gaming. But what’s it actually like to play?
Bear in mind I’ve clocked in a meager 20 hours (hence, part one of two-part review), but you know what? I can’t wait to go back. My eyes are still reeling.
This is a game about spectacle, not substance. It’s a visual tour-de-force that assaults your eyes and your senses. There’s so much to feast your eyes on.
It’s an inherently subjective experience, mind – perhaps the most subjective in gaming. After all, every single experience is unique: none of us are even going to be exploring the same planets (except in very rare circumstances). As such, some of these planets are awesome: teeming with fauna and flora and a joy to explore. Some, on the other, are as dry as dishwater, and no fun at all. I’ve find myself becoming more and more of a diva as time wears on, turning my nose up immediately at the sight of desert and charting a course back to the stars. Truly, we’re all spoilt with this game.
The bulk of the actual gameplay involves mining planets for resources and then acquiring cooler tech as you chart a course to the centre of the galaxy. Of course, you can just explore planets and take pictures of them, as I’ve spent a lot of time doing. Or you can follow a quest known mysteriously as Atlas. There’s a waypoint showing you where to go when you’re lost, but never an emphasis on you toeing the line. Hello Games get the balance perfect: better than any other title I can think. You can do as you please, but there’s a little nudge in the right direction if you’re stuck.
“I’ve find myself becoming more and more of a diva as time wears on, turning my nose up immediately at the sight of desert and charting a course back to the stars. Truly, we’re all spoilt with this game.”
Really, this is a game about you – and what you need to do. No Man’s Sky never interferes at all and pleasingly I can report that I haven’t encountered a single glitch in my entire time with the game.
It can be difficult to deliver an objective verdict in the process. There’s the temptation to be overly enthused – or the opposite. Inevitably there’s no pleasing everyone, and a lot of reviewers have been spouting boring phrases like, “there’s lacklustre inventory management.” Who cares? This is a game that makes you feel like a kid again, and at the time of writing, Hello Games have largely addressed the issue anyway (you now have 25 slots for your stuff, naysayers).
Let’s be frank: you’ve probably already made your mind up about buying it or not. And if you’re in the latter category, it’s likely because you own an Xbox One, not a PS4. If you do somehow find yourself on the fence, let me issue this stirring plea: take the plunge.
I’ll be back soon with my final review, which will strive for objectivity as much as possible. So long as I can clamber out of my PS4 and rejoin society to issue the verdict, of course.