Have you ever wanted to explore the stars, with nothing but you and your ship to rely upon?
Announced back in 2014, Hello Games’ No Man’s Sky is a release that delivers just that. It is no exaggeration to say that many eager fans have been waiting for this entry with bated breath. Now that it’s finally available on both PC and PS4, players are able to live out their fantasy of exploring No Man’s Sky’s enormous procedurally generated universe, complete with their own ecosystems, resources, fauna and flora.
However, it is important to understand that NMS does not deliver everything that contemporary, open-world games typically do. Expecting the same experience with this game compared to say, Starbound or Minecraft will surely leave you disappointed.
So without further ado, read on if you want to know if No Man’s Sky is worth buying.
Do you like building and constructing things in a sandbox environment?
The biggest issue in regards to No Man’s Sky is that it does not allow you to build or construct any kind of permanent landmark on any planets you visit. While the sandbox, procedural generated worlds and even the mining may be similar to other games, within an hour of playing you will see that No Man’s Sky lacks standard building options, whether it be outposts on a planet, a space station or even custom ships and tools.
On that note however, I can understand the reasoning behind this design choice. You play the role of a star-bound traveler, always on the move with no place to call home. The idea of planting your roots and settling down somewhere likely contradicts that idea. Instead resources you gather are spent to fuel your journey or to upgrade your exo-suit and ship modules.
It is important to realize that the central theme lying at the core of No Man’s Sky is exploration, not building.
Are you looking for a focused, single player experience?
Another common misconception around the release of No Man’s Sky was the implementation of multiplayer, and whether or not it existed in the game. The definitive answer is no: there is no standard form of multiplayer that allows you to directly interact with another player, even if they happen to be on the same planet as you.
However, NMS does have some form of online component that lets you upload your statistics, planets, outposts and wildlife that you have seen and documented. Other players will then see what you’ve named those specific discoveries, and you can also see if there are other players who have visited the same planets or seen the same lifeforms you have.
Perhaps reinforcing the idea that the universe is enormously large (with a claimed 18 quintillion planets in the game), No Man’s Sky is strictly a singleplayer experience that at times can feel lonely when you are exploring planets, with nothing but the robotic voice of your exo-suit as solace.
Do you prefer breadth over depth?
Since No Man’s Sky attempts to recreate the enormous size of our universe, it becomes apparent that there is no shortage of new things to see, whether it’s finding more resources to improve your ship, documenting a new species or finding an ancient alien monolith, there are lots of little things to keep you occupied as you explore the world.
However, the activities I mentioned above are basically the only things to do in No Man’s Sky. The game is relatively simple and doesn’t allow for any kind of in-depth gameplay mechanics. While it is true that there is no limit to the new things you can see, in the end the things you can do in this world are woefully limited. That said, some players prefer to explore to their hearts content, without having to worry about any kind of complicated end-game goal.
Do you just want to relax and explore an essentially limitless universe?
Despite No Man’s Sky obvious and more subtle flaws, there is one experience that it delivers flawlessly: The feeling of piloting in an unknown world with nothing but your trusted spaceship to guide you. Simply exploring the multitude of planets, discovering new life and plants, or even stumbling upon an abandoned production factory tickle the inner explorer within me. It’s a feeling that hasn’t quite been replicated with other modern games, and is amplified by the fact that there are a wide variety of environments to explore in NMS. One of my more memorable moments in the game was accidently discovering and exploring a network of underwater tunnels in pursuit of rare resources.
And that is perhaps NMS’s biggest strength. It doesn’t ask much of you; if you can simply sit back and enjoy the sights, explore to your heart’s content, you may find this game to be quite relaxing and entertaining.
Is No Man’s Sky worth buying?
Exploring space like seen in No Man’s Sky is a one of a kind. Gamers who just want to relax and explore something new should definitely pick this one up. If you are more the type of gamer that wants to have a specific goal to complete, or doesn’t feel like wandering around without a clear path then this game is not something for you to pick up.
No Man’s Sky is available for both PS4 and PC. However, it should be noted that the PC version requires a fairly powerful computer, as there are a lot of graphics processing involved while exploring the surface of a planet.