A Fresh Player Perspective of No Man’s Sky

Firing up No Man’s Sky for the First Time

It’s fair to say I had more than a passing interest in No Man’s Sky when it was first announced. How could you not be? The promise of never-ending planets to explore, each unique in their landscapes and animal life, a mystery at the centre of the universe to uncover, more resource gathering than you can shake a stick at and well, space, meant that British developer Hello Games painted a very enticing picture indeed. Even before the game released my expectations were kept in check though by industry experts confused about the actual point of the game and my understanding of the small size of the studio. I knew in my mind that not everyone would think this way but I did not expect the vitriol that followed with the game’s release.

Bad reviews, demands for refunds and disgustingly, death threats towards studio head Sean Murray were all part of a whirlwind of media coverage, disappointed gamers and poor PR on the part of Sony and Hello Games and with that my interest in the game evaporated and I moved onto thinking about other things. As someone who keeps track of a lot of gaming news I know that the studio had been mostly silent as had Sony regarding the disastrous reception. It was as if the uproar had shell-shocked the developer and publisher alike making them unsure of how to proceed. I also knew that Hello Games had been updating and improving the game gradually with two large updates adding base building and planetary vehicles to the game.

No Man's Sky

A little green Wolverine-like creature I discovered on my first planet.

After recently coming across the game’s AR meta-narrative that had fans uncover mysteries from various obscure clues, my interest was piqued and I picked up the game for a ridiculously cheap price on PlayStation 4. I jumped in for an hour or two of playing time before the 1.3 Atlas Rises update hit and was pleasantly surprised. Gathering resources to repair my ship, discovering animals and locations as well as words for alien languages was a fun loop to take part in without requiring too much thought from the player. The game to me was essentially an early version of Minecraft in space at this point with basic functionality and you get from it what you put into it. Then news of the 1.3 update landed and I was excited to experience a wealth of new features with a new save game.

No Man's Sky

Base building is one of the features added by the developer since release.

The best part about the new update is that it makes the experience of No Man’s Sky more accessible with the introduction to the game better at giving you some direction as to what to do next. A log makes it easier to see missions and information on the three main races while a host of story content means the game has a main quest-line pushing you onwards. I’ve not even delved into missions or exploring with other players yet and there’s no denying this is a massive update to the game. Although the game’s release and the development studio’s subsequent silence was disappointing, praise is also due for the game’s significant free updates. If No Man’s Sky at launch was a Minecraft-lite then it is now attempting to be like other space simulators such as Elite Dangerous which feature more extensive trade and missions. In some ways it surpasses such games by being much more accessible with ease-of-use features now like fast travel via portals and advice for new players.

Overall, I’m enjoying my time in No Man’s Sky and I should have a full review up once I’m further into the game. There’s no denying the marketing of this game was blown out of proportion and raised people’s expectations to a level that could never be matched. This wasn’t aided by exaggeration and in some cases lies from the team behind the game or by the silence from Sony and Hello Games after release. Nevertheless, No Man’s Sky is a different game now and I’m eager to see what updates are added in the future to further enhance the quality on offer.

What do you think of the new 1.3 update for No Man’s Sky? Is it convincing you to pick up the game or giving it another shot?

Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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