By Baron Harris
Let me preface this by saying that personally, I rode the hype train for this game for it’s full route. I eagerly awaited any news or videos for what was, to me, the “perfect” game. After a few delays and the troubling secretive development, I finally had the game in my hands and was ready to figure out what this game was made of, and boy did I ever.
This game, at first glance, is gorgeous on the PS4, but your mileage may vary. Lush, active planets seem to be few and far between, so starting on one is a real blessing. Chances are that you’ll start on some barren rock with barely enough materials to get your ship fixed and a temperature that’s trying to kill you, along with nasty space critters that want to eat you. This is fine. You are fine.
After getting your ship fixed and jumping out of your first system, you are presented with a vague choice to pick one of three paths. These essentially boil down to following the “storyline”, free roam, or heading straight for the center of the universe. The funny thing is, it doesn’t really matter which you choose since you can freely switch between the three in the galaxy map.
Speaking of maps, it can be a little difficult to navigate in No Man's Sky at first. The huge galaxy map, filled with ~14 quintillion stars, is really the only map you have. Everything else relies on a thin little compass on the top of your screen with waypoint markers. This is fine. You are fine.
So, you’ve repaired your ship, fueled it up with the abundant resources and now you’re on your own, with just a compass and a tooltip in the corner to guide you. You jump out of a system, into another one and find five planets with 3 moons, tons of traders, and a big space station full of awesome and funky-looking ships. This is where the game becomes a little polarizing.
See, there’s not a whole lot of depth to NMS. Sure you can land on those planets and moons and explore. If you’re lucky, you’ll find one that’s gorgeous, with underwater caves and lots of little nooks and crannies to hide neat stuff that’ll net you a tidy profit if you choose to sell. You could also attack the trading frigates to pirate their booty, and once you make it out of the dogfight alive, run off to make a tidy profit. You could also buy low and sell high in the station to… make a tidy profit. When it boils down to it, this game is about making money to upgrade your ship, multi-tool (your gun), and your space-suit. Sure, some great mystery may lie at the center of the universe, and these mysterious Atlas Stations are trying to make you do their bidding, but it’s all the same, really. But this is fine. You are fine.
The fun I have in this game is a bit different than most other games I enjoy. This isn’t a hardcore game for hardcore gamers. At the moment, it’s much too shallow for that. What it is, is a very relaxing, chill-out with a beer game. It’s almost akin to The Sims, or Game Dev Tycoon. In it’s current iteration, it’s definitely a casual game. I’m a bit disappointed, but I’m still honestly having fun with NMS. It’s nice to just turn off my brain for a bit and hang out in space.
Now, this was supposed to be a multiplayer game. Hello Games said it would be unlikely that you ran into another player, but two streamers already have. Day one. And they didn’t see each other. The dev’s response was “Server Issues”, so we’ll see how this pans out in the coming weeks.
NMS has it’s wrinkles, let’s see if Hello Games can iron them out.