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No Man’s Sky – PlayStation 4

No Man’s Sky – PlayStation 4

nmsPlatformPlayStation 4

Developer: Hello Games

Publisher: Hello Games

Release Date: August 9, 2016

Genre: Action-Adventure  

Nerd Rating:  7 / 10

Reviewed by Rhutsczar

Alright, it is about time to take a crack at what is widely considered one of the biggest flops of 2016…No Man’s Sky. Now that the game has been out for better than half a year and the user base for the title has dropped by massive numbers, how is the experience? Has Hello Games, the studio behind No Man’s Sky, even tried to save the bomb that the game was? Let’s take a deep dive into the Euclid Galaxy of No Man’s Sky.


We are the almighty.

Now when it comes to a game where one of the main foundations is exploration, you can almost assume that the story is going to be hidden in the shadows. For this game in particular, there isn’t much lore that you can explore about yourself and why you are traveling throughout the cosmos, but you take control as an astronaut simply known as “The Traveler.” I know, pretty underwhelming, right? Anyway, your job is to try and reach the center of the galaxy in two ways: 1.) you can follow the “Path of Atlas” (A mystical race from the edges of time on a pre-destined path) or 2,) via black holes for shortcuts. If you don’t have any interest in reaching said core of the galaxy, you don’t have to. Feel free to explore at your leisure.

When I first picked up No Man’s Sky, I actually had no idea what I was in for in regards to a story. When I first woke up on my first planet, I was asked if I would follow this mystical path. Since I had absolutely no background on where this “Path” would lead me, I opted out. I wandered around through my first couple of star systems with just my wits and zero structure. Where did I end up? I ended up shelving No Man’s Sky for a couple of days until the next update.

As with the most recent update, there are four separate game modes/difficulties that are ready for you to pummel at your convenience. There is actually quite a bit of difference between each mode and each offers their own set of challenges:

  • Normal: Average spawn rates for creatures, enemies, and resources.
  • Creative: Bountiful amounts of resources with very little danger. Allows you to play and experience No Man’s Sky without the consequences.
  • Survival: Resources are scarce with increased danger.
  • Permadeath: Similar to survival mode, except you have only a single life. Feel free to tackle this particular mode and reach the center of the galaxy for a whole silver trophy. I will not be attempting this trophy anytime soon, as it should be at least a gold for time invested.

While I initially thought that the controls were rather basic and clunky, once you actually play the game and manage to have a feel for it then you realize how much access to data that you have. The primary controls are identical to the standard conventions seen in nearly all first person shooters, actually feeling closest to Metroid Prime. However, once all of your equipment is fixed, you can manage your oxygen flow, environmental shields, and ammunition with just a simple click. No need to access your full inventory, with one button you can distribute resources into your equipment as needed.Just make sure that you either are nearby your ship when you are organize or have a ship with decent signal range, you don’t know how many times I was stranded with a full inventory and destroying necessary resources…not more plutonium, anything but that.

No Man's Sky, horde with ease!

No Man’s Sky, horde with ease!

You know how I mentioned that exploration is a key foundation to No Man’s Sky? It is just one of the pillars that make this space epic possible. No Man’s Sky heavily relies on four ideas: exploration, combat, trading, and just pure survival. The game allows you to explore the culture of multiple alien races and interact with them in whatever way fits you best. Since your survival depends on gathering resources across multiple universes, the more you explore the more fulfilling experience you will have out of No Man’s Sky. Through this exploration, you can even learn the individual languages of separate race word by word. The more you learn and discover, the easier it is to interpret just what the hell this Gek creature is trying to sell you.

When you are involved on the larger scale of the cosmos, you would expect to see some amazing sights. This is definitely where No Man’s Sky excels, as just when simply flying between planets I have seen some amazing

Plenty of visual ecstasy.

Plenty of visual ecstasies.

visuals. This doesn’t stop once you land on a planet either, as each planet has their own atmosphere and selections of flora and fauna. There isn’t a better feeling than when you are on a completely barren rock of a planet, entirely alone, and seeing a beautiful horizon set across the wasteland. This was only elevated by the release of the PlayStation 4 Pro, as these visuals are pushed even more over the top when in 4K resolution.

One of the biggest features of No Man’s Sky is their random procedural generator. This generator causes each universe and planet to be completely unique, so you actually have no idea what to expect once you touch down. While this is an interesting idea and an entertaining one for the first dozen of planets you discover, the generator can only do so much. You will begin to see both fauna and flora that are either identical or at least 90% similar to something that you have already found. This draws back from the experience, especially if you are aiming for that platinum. Due to this generator, when you are aiming for the Galapagos trophy (discovery of all species on a single planet) you can often find yourself like me, aimlessly looking for those last two species that only exist in that one cave three hours away. I can’t count how many planets I have discovered in my journey for platinum that are resting at a flat 85%-90%.

Everyone knows about the clash and disappointing features that Hello Games promised with No Man’s Sky. What fans received is a glitchy mess, with plenty of game-breaking moments. The biggest one I have found is upon spawning on a specific planet, my character actually fell through the world and was stuck in a void. While I tried to escape, it was registered that I was in my ship controlling it with ease. Upon finally dying due to lack of oxygen, I spawned back and my ship was completely off the planet with no way of calling it back. I was finally able to continue after I traveled two hours in game time to find a ship for sale. Not worth it. To make matters worse, if you choose to purchase an alien’s ship, make sure you transfer all of your items over. I couldn’t and I lost everything…at least I still had plenty of credits!

Now you too can suffer in the comfort of your own home.

Now you too can suffer in the comfort of your own home.

But has Hello Games done anything to help No Man’s Sky improve and be a better game? Well isn’t that the million dollar question? As we reach to almost 8 months since the initial release, Hello Games as released two significant updates. The first, the “Foundation Update”, allows players to completely build their own bases on a single planet with habitable weather conditions in a single universe. This gives players an entirely new quest line via specialists in the creation of their base. For an example, you can find my home base in the Philosphius star system on the planet Ra. Yes, I named most of the planetary being after mythical gods (Go ahead, judge me).  But the average temperature on Ra is a nice 97C, along with almost constant weather fire storms. This takes it up to about 320C on average…so it’s a great place to live. For some reason, I discovered Ra in my first-star system and loved it, just never changed. The most recent, the “Pathfinder Update”, expands mobility in the Traveler’s exploration via vehicles. It is so much fun to jump off the largest cliffs in my rover.

Alright, so that wraps things up on our conquest of No Man’s Sky‘s shared universe. If you are looking for a calming yet entrancing space epic, No Man’s Sky might just be perfect for you. While the gameplay is minimalist in design, it is fairly easy to pick up and play. As long as you have no expectations regarding multiplayer, then the single player modes will easily satisfy your gamer needs. Just remember:

“To make this journey, we’ll need imagination, but imagination alone is not enough because the reality of nature is far more wondrous than anything we can imagine.” – Neil DeGrasse Tyson

Written by Rhutsczar

Hello everybody! Thanks for reaching the end of whatever my newest/current addiction is above me. I’m pretty sure it’s an RPG, since it’s my favorite genre I try to find the most underrated and niche games possible. Anyway if you like what you read and would like to check out more, follow the links below. Also be sure to check out the RBG over on Beyond Bacon!.

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