For as long as I can remember, I’ve always wanted to drift through space on my own ship with no laws and complete freedom. No Man’s Sky allowed me to spend a few weeks living out a watered-down version of that fantasy. Admittedly, the game contained a lot more mining than I envisioned in the space adventures in my own head. Despite the harsh criticisms that immediately followed the release of No Man’s Sky, as well as all the mining, I thoroughly enjoyed the game from start to finish.
Players are Immediately Thrust into the Action
At the beginning of the game, you’re immediately thrust into an unforgiving universe where you face endless threats to your survival. You’ll trek across vast distances collecting resources and chasing after some loosely defined story points. You’re given the option of choosing several “paths” to the center of the universe. Personally, I chose to unlock the secrets of the enigmatic Atlas Interfaces. These behemoth structures are scattered throughout countless galaxies with no clear purpose, and I felt inexplicably drawn to their dark mystery. You can also choose to find a shortcut to the center of the universe.
Is the Lack of Multiplayer a Deal-breaker?
One of the major complaints from critics was that there was no multiplayer feature on No Man’s Sky. People ranted endlessly about how wandering a vast, limitless universe with no other players felt like a soulless experience. This criticism made me smile to myself. As someone who always fantasized about space travel and longed to wander the stars, the isolation of No Man’s Sky seemed ultra realistic. It truly felt like a space simulator that gave me a taste of wandering the void. People were complaining about too much “pointless wandering” in a game that’s literally about wandering through space.
To throw a bunch of players into an allegedly infinite universe and expect them to encounter each other by chance is incredibly unrealistic. Therefore, I couldn’t empathize with the complaints about lack of multiplayer and I got a lot of enjoyment out of exploring space all alone. In 2017 there’s an intense emphasis on multiplayer across all consoles. It’s all about team battles and leaderboards and other forms of social interaction. As a natural born hermit, I miss the old days where the only time you could play “multiplayer” was when your friend came over with an extra controller and plugged it into your PS2 console.
The NPCs are Soulless, Exactly as they Should Be
Social interaction is sparse in No Man’s Sky, but this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Throughout the game you stumble across aliens such as the robotic Korvax. Alien interaction can feel very “cookie cutter” at times, and if you travel around enough you’ll notice that the NPCs start saying similar things over and over.
Opportunities for in-depth conversation with NPCs are limited, but I thought this aspect of the game was realistic and made me feel like I was truly encountering aliens from a faraway galaxy. Realistically, if I met an alien from across vast distances of space, I wouldn’t expect to speak their language. Therefore, I felt like the lack of meaningful NPC interaction added to the “space simulator” feel and didn’t mind it. I also enjoyed collecting the mysterious Knowledge Stones and learning to communicate with the aliens one word at a time.
The Graphics Surpassed Expectations
Overall, I really enjoyed the graphics of No Man’s Sky and thought the developers did an excellent job. The galaxies had enough variation to keep them from looking like the same place over and over, and they all had the feel of being a dark, forgotten corner of space a billion light years from Earth. I thought this game did a good job showcasing how far modern consoles have come with graphics. While playing No Man’s Sky, I often got the sense that if I saw this game 10 years ago I would have been in awe.
A Space Travel Simulator that Doesn’t Disappoint
Piloting the spaceship and traveling between worlds was one of my favorite parts of the game, and I felt like a true pioneer in a galaxy that no one had ever explored before. I also enjoyed trading ore and other resources on the space stations, and saving up to buy gigantic cargo ships to fly around. Honestly my favorite thing about No Man’s Sky was the mood. It was fun to explore alien worlds and collect resources (even if I ended up mining ore until my thumbs felt like they were going to fall off), but my favorite thing of all about No Man’s Sky was that it made me feel like I was truly exploring the stars.
A Space Pirate’s Dream Come True
Overall I would recommend No Man’s Sky to anyone who likes the idea of exploring unknown galaxies, shooting down some pirate ships and collecting resources on alien worlds. I’d say it’s best to go into this game with the outlook of an aimless wanderer. You’ll enjoy this game most if you approach it like a true space explorer with no clear goals, no need for friendship, and a true spirit of adventure.
What did you think of No Man’s Sky? Did you think it was a boring waste of time because of the lack of multiplayer, or did it satisfy an urge to wander the stars that you didn’t know you had? Leave your thoughts in the comments.