18 quintillion planets to explore but how fun is No Man's Sky? Is it fun at all?
There have been more hyped games in recent memory but Hello Games' No Man's Sky is different. It comes from a relatively smaller studio, firstly. Secondly, the sheer scale of the universe thanks to procedural generation seemed poised to cater to a number of different fantasies. Endless exploration, the opportunity to meet other races, huge ship battles and so on was promised. How much does No Man's Sky end up delivering on though?
From the outset, No Man's Sky is a beautiful game. Its visuals are bright and vivid from the deep-seated caves, exotic water bodies and sky boxes to the phenomena like black holes and star maps. The music is equally entrancing thanks to 65daysofstatic and its alt rock tunes that enhance the atmosphere while blending into it. If there's one thing to motivate you while exploring No Man's Sky, it's the curiosity of a planet's composition and what kind of beautiful sights and sounds you'll experience next. Story-wise, the game is extremely non-linear but you can pursue the path of Atlas for some measure of guidance.
No Man's Sky is heavily survival and resource oriented. You'll spend time on the surface of planets simply mining materials to feed to your ship, hazard protection, Multi-Tool and whatnot. Some artifacts can be traded to aliens along with other resources. Learning words from Knowledge Stones allows you to communicate with said aliens better. However, if we're being fair, it all boils down to collect resources while surviving the planet's conditions, jumping to the next planet and repeating the process again till you reach the centre of the universe.
Such a repetitious cycle of resource gathering and consumption can wear on players. Even those interested in combat will have to deal with less than ideal controls. Exploration-minded players will find their progress slowed by the constant need for resources. No Man's Sky is at its best when you're out there discovering the universe and experiencing all that it has to offer. Even the ship combat can be fun though you'll be severely outgunned in the beginning. All in all, this is really a game that asks you to gut out the first few hours to make any significant progress (especially when it comes to inventory space).
No Man's Sky won't be for everyone. Minecraft fans won't have a lot of building options and those expecting a 3D Starbound will find it fairly repetitious. However, when you put aside the cycle of resource gathering, the clunky combat and the stop-gaps in progression, No Man's Sky can be a fun deep space adventure title. Don't expect perfection or an epic story and you won't be disappointed.
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