No Man's Sky Review
Reviewing the game: No Man's Sky by Hello Games. Reviewed on August 11, 2016.
I am among those who didn't fully comprehend what No Man's Sky would be like when I play it. I wasn't even too much into survival and exploration games before. I learned to love investigating areas for loot when I played games like Final Fantasy XIV Real Reborn and Destiny for example. I've decided to buy No Man's Sky because I remembered how much I enjoyed that exploration experience and I really wanted to play something new. that will revive that excitement that I felt when playing those games. I also played a lot of FPS games, but I had enough of FPS games, I wanted something else - but what that 'else' means in No Man's Sky, I didn't know for certain.
Landed on my First Planet
Then it happens, I launched the game, and in that very first moment, I let myself loose and visit a new virtual unknown alien world. The game started and after a few seconds, I found myself on my first planet. I named it after my nickname, SpookyFairy. Luckily my first planet was full of life and plants, green and with passive sentinels. I couldn't ask for a better planet to start with.
Emotion-triggering Atmospheric Visuals
I love the fact that it was just me and the ship. From that moment in time, I fully understood why Sean wanted this game to be more of a single-player experience. It's just you and the universe, that amazing feeling of self-conscious of understanding how amazing our own universe is. It's a moment with no external distractions, no nonsense talking, no interferences, just absorbing the planet's gorgeous visuals and sounds. In that point in time, I felt amazingly ecstatic, I really felt that I am going on an amazing adventure. It was time to say goodbye to reality, put my headset on and be totally consumed by the planetary landscape and what lies ahead.
I've spent two hours just walking on the planet, discovering new species and plants while venturing through the planet's landscape. I know that it was probably easier for me to do it than others because I didn't need to think about surviving, just enjoy the view as I explore it. But that's the beauty of the game, I have my own stories to tell, other people going to have theirs.
Believe me, no words in the world could prepare me into realizing how emotional I would be playing No Man's Sky and the emotional impact that this virtual world would have on me. I never in my life could believe that math can create such gorgeous landscapes and atmosphere, I never ever felt so emotional playing a game in my life. The sense of scale is amazing, but yet you can easily move from one planet to the other or from one star system to the other.
I love the novel graphics style of the game. I know that having more realistic graphics would become a problem for this game, because of the processing power needed to run it, but I think that these visuals have their own look and feel, and I really enjoyed what I've seen.
I Found a Passionate Photographer in me
No Man's Sky features gorgeous photographic scenes, that sometimes I don't make sense that all of these is procedurally generated, but that algorithm was fine tuned to produce some of the best atmospheric visuals I've seen in any game before, and it has its own unique style.
When playing a game, I just had to take photos of the beautiful scenes that I've seen. I don't have a camera in No Man's Sky, but I can easily take screenshots on the PS4. When I stop playing the game, I enjoy looking back at my journey and watch the photos that I've taken. The remind me my daily venture through the star system I was in today, and I feel a sense of joy and satisfaction seeing where I've been and what I've achieved.
Most of us enjoy taking pictures of unique things that we see in our daily lives and we want to capture that specific moment in time so we can enjoy watching it later and sharing that memory with our friends. In No Man's Sky, you'll encounter an unlimited amount of these gorgeous lunar and planet landscape views that you'll definitely want to remember and share with friends. All of the screenshots that you see here in this review were taken by me. I enjoy watching them every time.
Every Planet is Different and Feels Different
The game has the most beautiful atmospheric visuals I've ever seen in a game, from gorgeous pinkish skies with three moons in the background, mountains with fog around a lake, magic green lush landscape with gorgeous green sky, land and sea creatures covering the landscape, doing their thing. Just keep in mind that not every planet have life or is beautiful as those that I described. I've seen some desert and deadly planets, but even those have their own vibe, even though they looked less impressive than my first planet, they still have an emotional effect on the player. Mars isn't as vivid and beautiful as Earth in my opinion, yet I can spend hours looking at photos of this planet and be amazed at it and get emotionally connected with its history. It's also a fun experience knowing that you have no idea what the next planet would be like, even when in space, you need to lands on it to find out. I had a chance to visit very hazardous planets, some of them are very toxic, hot or too cold to survive without appropriate protection.
Simple yet Challenging Gameplay
I fully enjoyed learning the core basic gameplay of crafting, trading and surviving. No Man's Sky is also a very challenging game, and I did die three times in the two full days that I was playing the game. I enjoy flying around the orbit, just stopping to enjoy the marvelous planetary landscape, you just can't believe how amazing it looks, how magical and atmospheric that universe is. The color palette used in the game makes all the differences in the world. I've seen games that really forces me to lower the saturation of my screen, but No Man's Sky got it just right.
Regarding those who say the game is repetitive. I didn't even for a second felt that the game becomes repetitive on me, every visit to a new planet is a new experience with new anticipations and new tasks to do and hazards to keep out from. That being said, I need to give it more time obviously to see whether it becomes repetitive after some time or not. Right now, it isn't.
Playing the game on PS4 or PC?
The visuals are superb, and I'm playing on the PS4. On the PS4 I don't get an anti-aliasing as I would have gotten on the PC, the field of view is quite limited, but all that didn't prevent me from enjoying the game as it is. I forgot about it after the first minute, but I do believe that No Man's Sky will look better on the PC. With better anti-aliasing and a wider field of view, it can really create a smoother and nicer atmosphere, but as I mentioned, the game looks great on the PS4 nevertheless, but it would be even better to have faster frame rates, smoother visuals and a wider field of view. If that's important to you, you might want to check out the PC version, but as of the time of writing, the PC version hasn't come out yet.
The Sound in No Man's Sky is Outstanding
No Man's Sky also accompanied by procedurally generated sounds. The sounds in this game are out of this world. Starting from the superb background music that procedurally changes based on the situation and place. The animals sounds, the sound of the acid rain, all are very believable and have an emotional impact on the player and perfectly matches the atmospheric visuals.
I'm playing the game alone but never feel lonely
I never felt along in the game and never felt that it was empty as some people say. In fact, the way No Man's Sky was designed is to give me that sense of scale, eager to explore it and enjoy when I finally meet someone to interact with. I felt that it was MY adventure and MY destiny. I wasn't in competition with anyone, I play it my way without any distractions. Some people might think that it feels lonely playing alone in such a big universe, but although I played alone, I never felt lonely.
I really love the interactions with the NPC characters. I enjoy learning new languages and having to choose the right answer to answer the NPC even without knowing most of what he tells me. I also enjoy the space fighting in the game. It was fun and satisfying. I love the fact that the game is very easy to pick up and not too in-depth like many MMOs games that I've played before (I know, No Man's Sky isn't an MMO). The game is simple to grasp, yet still very challenging in its own beautiful way. It simple enough to let you enjoy its core mechanics and also enjoy its beauty.
Managing your Resources
I don't know how many times I've heard that I don't have enough space in the inventory, and although it was frustrating at times( still is), it is an important aspect of the game in which every player needs to learn to manage his resources. You don't have endless pockets, and you need to learn how to manage it well in order to progress. That mechanics helps control the progression speed, and give you a sense of achievement and feel that it is indeed a survival game, and you have something to lose. If you could have stored all your goods in a locker in a space station, the game was just too easy, because you can craft everything using all the available materials that you stored when you arrive at a space station. It feels frustrating at first, but then you enjoy finding places that give you an extra slot. Actually, I've landed on a planet that gave me five empty slots to my exosuit.
You are Free to Choose your own Path
In No Man's Sky, you are free to choose your own path. It's not just a cliché, it really works that way. I felt that I can choose my own path, manage things my own way. The game does give yo the option to follow a specific way, like the Atlas path, but it also allows you to not follow it and do your own thing. You can explore the galaxy by following the path to the center, but the game also allows you to freely roam and visit nearby star systems (some technologies are needed to be able to do this).
Speaking of which, I love discovering new technologies, and there are plenty of them in No Man's Sky. I didn't even have a chance to use most of them. I am currently in a state where I try to save units to buy a better ship, I am an explorer, so I need a large ship that can store more loot.
Endless Ways to Expand on the Core Game
I really enjoy spending every second in the game. I also aware of the fact that there are endless ways to expand on it and add even more cool features. Hello Games have revealed some of them, but I'm sure that there are many cool new features to come.
Would you enjoy playing it?
You know, before buying the game, I've read so many comments and opinions, some are good others are not. I can just think myself from being smart listening to my inner voice that told me that it's going to be a different game, something else that I haven't played before. In the worst case scenario, I just paid to support an innovative game developer, but oh boy I've made the best gaming buying decision of my life.
No one, and I mean, no one could have prepared me for what I was about to experience. Sean Murray talked so much about the game, but only when I played it, I really understood its vision. No article, gameplay videos, comments, opinion, and even Sean Murray's own words could transfer that sense of what it is like and what I would feel when I play the game.
Cooperative Gameplay would be great, But..
I do believe that at some point in time, adding cooperative gameplay or even competitive can be a nice addition, but not now. This is not the time to do it. I know it's sounds weird, but this is the time for players to experience No Man's Sky universe in their own paste, do their own thing, without any jealousy of what other players achieve, without that feel that you need to progress fast and not stay behind others A feeling that you feel fine choosing your own path and do your own thing in the game, no pressure, no rush.
Remember, not everyone has all the time in the world to play. That's why I think that No Man's Sky will appeal to a very large audience because of the reasons I stated above about simplicity and being virtually a noncooperative and competitive from the get go.
Hard Work Pays Off
One of the amazing parts of the game that I only discovered lately is how the survival mechanics works when things get really intensive. I landed on a planet full of precious loot. There were Platino Balls everywhere, but the sentinels guard this planet like crazy. The funny thing was that I was so excited getting as much loot as possible, that I forgot to get Plutonium to charge my launch thrusters. There was no Plutonium nearby, so I thought that this is it, it's over.
The weather is very hot during the day and very cold at night. I was equipped right, but my thermal protection needed zinc to recharge, and I the hell I get zinc in that place. I can't even walk 1 minutes without the sentinels not detecting me. I was brave, and I got out of the ship, ran up the mountain, down the hill and found some Plutonium. The sentinels were on me all the time, I zigzag them and finally arrived at my ship. I launched my ship and went to a shelter for protection and having a minute to breath and think what to do.
This was so intensive, yet so much enjoyable and rewarding. I felt so good being able to survive and get a lot of loot from that planet. No Man's Sky takes a different shape when you land on very hostile planets, but some of them reward you for your efforts.
This is when quickly managing your resource in real-time becomes super important. It's a part of the game that I didn't knew exists until I've landed on a planet full of precious resources, but one that is heavily guarded. I can't tell you how satisfying it felt achieving my goals and being able to loot the planet and get enough money to buy a new ship. You really have to play it yourself to comprehend what those intensive moments of managing your resources while sentinels are after you feels like. None of the things that I've mentioned above can get you ready to feel what I felt when I wanted to get something but needed to work hard to get it. This is part of the game that you have to experience yourself to fully appreciate it.
Each planet is different, but no just because it looks different, but because you play it differently, and this is one of the things that No Man's Sky is all about, and what I think that players who didn't play the game, just find it hard to understand - This is a survival game in its best form!
It's the most enjoyable game that I was always wanted to play, but didn't actually knew if No Man's Sky is that one. It has a few bugs, and my game crashed a few times when I was traveling to other star systems (didn't happen a lot though), but that I believe will be fixed in future updates (I've sent some reports myself via the PS4 console).
No other survival and space exploration game me such a satisfying feeling and I've played a lot of them. I was more into FPS games, and now I am sold to that survival exploration game. In fact, it reminds me one of my beloved game series of all time called "Roger Wilco Space Quest" from 1986-1995. It revived my enthusiasm to play space exploration games and I can only thank Hello Games and Sean Murray's vision for making this adventure possible.
This game is a true gem, a game that many other developers will try to copy, but the beauty of the game lies within the right mix of simplicity and complexity in different aspects of the game, it's mind blowing visuals yet its own unique art-style and the emotional impact that the game has on the player. There are so many space games out there that try to do it all, have tons of features, mods, upgrades... but here that's where the beauty beauty of No Man's Sky lies. I enjoyed playing it more than all those triple-A titles out there that just try to convince you with their endless features. Yeh, some people do like it, but No Man's Sky has shown me that it isn't necessary, and when a game is done right, it can have even a better impact on the player.
No Man's Sky is the only game that I can recall in the past 10 years that affected me deep emotionally when I play it. Forget about the algorithms and all the complex words that people use to describe the game, what's important is that that formula works. No Man's Sky is the perfect game that I never knew I wanted to play. It gives me total pleasure to play it and hence the score I gave it. But again, the score isn't what's important here, but the experience that I tried so hard to explain in words and screenshots. I hope that some of that was able to penetrate and you can get a feel why No Man's Sky is such a special game.
I give No Man's Sky 10 out of 10 - it truly deserves it. If you don't like the score, just ignore it an give more attention to the words in this review, they are more important than the score that just reflect my own opinion based on a number from 1 to 10. There are some bugs and crashes that should be fixed (playing on the PS4) but they don't occur too often, not to me at least. A larger field of view would be nice, especially considering the very nature of the game that surrounds around its beautiful visuals. Other than that - a masterpiece. A game that reminds me how fun it was playing games when I was a child. It revived those memories back and I felt an enjoyment of a game that I haven't felt for a long time. I enjoy playing this game more than any other game as far as a I remember. The game isn't for everyone, but even if you don't like these type of survival/exploration games, I do recommend checking it out.
English is not my native language, so I might express things maybe in a strange way for English speakers, sorry for that. I do hope that you get the overall picture and understand why I found this game to be so amazingly good. This is yet another opinion, but it's still an opinion based on my experience with the game so far. Hope you enjoyed reading it, and I hope it does provide other people with another perspective of what this game is about and help them with their buying decision.
I will update the review as I play along to reflect my opinion about it to be as accurate as possible. It's hard to summarize the game in a single article because it evolves so much the more you play it. It's not a game that you just finish in a few days and you can summarize it in one article, No Man's Sky is different in that aspect. If I should have written the review after I finished the game, maybe I couldn't have written the review at all, or maybe in a few weeks or months, I just don't know. I think it's important for players to understand what No Man's Sky is all about, and that's why I've decided to write it now, and don't wait for a specific point in time where it is "right" to summarize my experience,because I don't know when that time will come, and you might never hear my true opinion about the game. That's why I've decided to share it now and not later, whatever this later time is.
Sorry guys, but I have to go back to the game, I just can't wait to see what I'm going to find next. If you feel emotionally attached to what I've written here, buy the game, you will enjoy it so much.
Disclaimer: I am the developer of NMS Tracker. Maybe I should have written the review on Reddit or somewhere else, but I wanted to have full control on how the page looks and feel and put the screenshots how I see fit. I wanted the page to reflect how I feel about the game, and just writing the review black on white just wouldn't do it. I wanted to transfer my emotions through that review, and I could only do it if I have full control over the design of the page. Using the review to promote the site wasn't my intention at all. I have an already site up and running with a good canvas that I can use to transfer my message in the way I wanted to, and I used it. What I've written is truly what I feel about the game, and people who read it I think can understand what it might feel like playing No Man's Sky.