No Man’s Sky
No Man’s Sky, to buy or not to buy? A question I’ve been asked so many times now and here’s my answer in detail…
On first glance
Hello Games announced No Man’s Sky at VGX 2013 along with a trailer for the game then on August 10th 2016 after much delay, the game was finally released. After a huge following of supporters behind them and much anticipation for the game, in its first day there were multiple bugs and errors that needed to be seen to according to the Hello games and Sean Murray’s Twitter but they assured fans it would be resolved as quickly as possible. I myself experienced multiple game crashes before I had even got to play it, once I started playing and tried warping (how you travel from each System) my PS4 closed the game completely. This issue appeared to have been fixed by the next day, so I didn’t think too much of it, after all it is a HUGE game.
Brought to life by a small group of developers, Hello Games promised a new gaming experience, a universe impossible to explore in full. Although no promise of multiplayer, there was always talk that you could in fact ‘bump’ into other players on the planet if you were lucky, but this has since been disproved when two Youtubers during live stream landed on the same planet but were not able to interact in any way and couldn’t see one another. I myself have been messaged via PSN from people who have visited my Solar system, which I thought was super awesome and really excited me for all of two minutes when I came to the understanding that all that it would ever be is just a “Hey, I visited your system” and nothing more would follow, nothing unique could be left or changed by this person to let me know they visited, which I feel would actually be a good asset to the game.
Sean Murray is constantly trying to reassure fans on Twitter about the updates and upcoming updates for the game, patches and bug fixes, but does not seem clear on what the future holds for No Man’s Sky and doesn’t answer a lot of the important questions fans are asking about what changes will be made to the game, or when the major updates are going to happen regarding online features and perhaps DLC with a story line, new weapons, flora and fauna to discover. Many fans have been left without answers and are wondering if this is it.
Performance & Expectations
When it comes to ‘inspiration’ and rivalry for this game, if you look at games like ‘Infinity’ by Inovae Studios although never going past Pre-Alpha as far as I’ve researched, with it being MMORPG it’s a very similar idea to No Man’s Sky and they are both procedurally generated to enable endless exploration without having to manually create each object/planet/life form, so they become repetitive after a short while which is where No Man’s Sky has lost much of its fan base. There is only so much of one planet you can see and I know there are very slight differences on each, I do believe I visited numerous planets that looked twinned with others and when travelling from system to system, you wouldn’t expect to find an exact replica of one planet 3-4 systems away, this took away a lot of the ‘realism’ people expected.
However, while nobody was expecting 18 quintillion planets to be made manually one by one, there was still an expectation of a lot more variants than there turned out to be. I myself have now travelled to 14 different systems and can’t say I’m seeing anything different as of now. The Fauna is also procedurally generarated but there are not a great amount of different ‘looking’ species, just the names of the species are different. There was a post by Reddit user Dark_Nexus causing a huge stir in the community over the fact discoveries you’d made in the game were wiped, leading people to believe that Hello Games were wiping discoveries after a certain amount of time. This post has since been removed after users finding out it was just an error in the game and not caused by Hello Games doing this themselves, a new thread has been made to alert users of the update.
Needless to say, it’s still a huge game!
At a glance, the graphics are as expected from such a game released on PS4, you wouldn’t expect a console to handle a game such as Star Citizen by Roberts Space Industries which is what No man’s Sky could of potentially been if it was purely PC focused. But when you aim to release a game with 18 quintillion ‘unique’ planets, you have to compromise something somewhere. In this case it would be the graphics and realism of the space flight/planetary landing. Comparing it to Star Citizen planetary landing, we are literally a universe away from achieving that on console in a game as big as No Man’s Sky and I feel it could’ve been much more than what it is now if they had just said no to console release as the creators of Star Citizen have done. You can visit Roberts Space Industries site which has regular updates on development.
It has been confirmed Steam and PS4 have given refunds to unhappy customers and I myself have requested one but it appeared to be in the first few days of release, so a Reddit debate claimed. Although Steam offer a 2 hour game play before refund, people who were persistent managed to get refunds after days of game play due to this debate and PS4 refunds are difficult to get, but it’s happened to a select few. As well as refunds happening, many people have already exchanged the game for cash/store credit at their local game stores too. Hello Games lost 90% of their PC players after two weeks of release according to IGN’s Lucy O’Brien although that not being a statistic for PS4, I’ve had many people say they no longer have an interest in the game.
All in all, this is not what we expected from the game or such a big downfall in support and backing from fans. There are plans of DLC to be released at some point, enabling new features on the game, but will people be sticking around long enough to give it a chance? It’ll always be on my console as I bought a digital download, but I can’t say I’m too fussed, which is an epic shame because I was so impatient waiting for this game!
The public opinion.
To grab some more information on how the public opinion was swaying other than the handfuls of people I spoke to about No Man’s Sky to get their views, I watched multiples of YouTube reviews. The first day from MassiveG went into the game on live stream to give everybody a vibe of the game who hadn’t got it already, I swear his high spirits and general happy personality sold the game to me more than the game itself. There was a tonne of excitement and positive vibes surrounding the game, which I feel was felt by many after waiting so long for this new, endless exploration game.
Jim Sterling has done multiple videos on No Man’s Sky and in his video ‘Jimpresisons: No Man’s Sky’, trying to make light of the game, despite it’s lack of quests, story and variety. Quoting Jim, “It’s all about the squirrel dinosaurs. Who cares about the expectations hey! We have squirrel that look like dinosaurs and dinosaurs that look like squirrels!” He also states that it’s “your bog standard survival game” and with this, I am on the same page as Jim here. It is bog standard and as it stands, there isn’t a lot on the horizon to offer for the money people who have paid for this game. Hello Games appear to have chosen quantity over quality, which is a widely agreed-on opinion among the No Man’s Sky community, posts on Reddit such as this one are full of the good the bad and the rather ugly opinions.
My overall opinion.
Overall, my views on this game aren’t what I expected to feel. I do feel let down. It never promised multiplayer so that isn’t what I’m hung up about, I didn’t expect realistic graphics, but what I did expect was a story much intriguing and gripping than the story (if you can even call it a story) it currently has. I thought there was going to be a much bigger aim than there was, but you are just warping from system to system to reach the ‘center’.
Landing on planets incredibly similar if not the same as the last flora and fauna in small varieties takes away the realism of the game. I expected there to be a lot more to do other than fixing your ship, warping, fixing your ship, finding resource, warping, logging discoveries that may disappear in time… you get the picture. What this games does bring to the table is being able to do this on console, something that is supposedly incredibly difficult to achieve so I give them there dues on that.
A lot of hard work and effort was put in the game by a very small team and the game is fun in its own right, it’s calm is relaxing and it’s a change from pure violence and all out warfare. I’m going to stick with my original opinion from the second day I played it, and that’s a 7/10 overall. It is what it is…but it’s not what was expected. But if the carnage and destruction of a game like GTA 5 is more your speed, then perhaps this isn’t the game for you!