No Man’s Sky has probably one of the most notorious launches for a new game of the last decade. Soaring on hype, the game failed to deliver on almost everything, leaving gamers crushed with buyer’s remorse.
Now, over four years after the initial release of the game (and several large, free updates), is it worth playing after all this time?
The core gameplay loop for No Man’s Sky is the same as many other survival/exploration-based games in the genre (such as Minecraft, Terraria, Starbound, etc). You’re a person, in a world, and you harvest resources to build a base, upgrade your character’s skills and gear to explore deeper and fight bigger, tougher enemies.
One of the biggest reasons why I could never truly get into Minecraft was exploration.
The different biomes were neat, but they didn’t make me inclined to stick around if I didn’t immediately find resources or points of interest. Especially in Minecraft’s sake, most of the game is spent underground anyway, so the change in biomes isn’t noticeable.
With No Man’s Sky, you’re instead greeted with the same key resources in almost all planets. Some planets will not have these resources in abundance, which means you may have to stock up and come prepared for some planets.
These planets are completely procedurally generated, while they may still fall under similar biomes to other games, they end up being completely unique every time.
Between zooming from planet to planet, harvesting resources, and building bases across the galaxy, you’ve still got to explore space as well.
Space Stations serve as trading hubs between you and the local system’s economy, with different prices being offered depending on where you are. Here you’ll meet the three prominent races of the galaxy, learning their language to communicate, trading resources, unlocking new technology, and even buying better starships.
Space, however, is where the game truly shines in the graphics department.
Seeing these vibrant, colorful worlds in different systems and configurations often leaves you breathless. Systems with multiple stars, ringed planets like Saturn, even the sheer size and closeness of planets offer awe-inspiring views that can’t be replicated in other games.
However, survival games such as these always fall into the same issue: Is the core gameplay loop enough to keep you entertained?
Just like Minecraft, the core of the game resides around harvesting resources, exploring new places, maybe building a base, and then going to another planet and repeating this cycle. No Man’s Sky offers some breaks to this via space travel, missions, managing your fleet of ships as you travel system to system.
For me, I’ve never been more hooked in a game of this genre. I’ve already dumped over 20 hours into the game, including a 3 hour stream. I don’t see myself losing interest anytime soon.
Would I recommend the game? Absolutely.