The highly-anticipated No Man’s Sky has been on the market for less than a week and it has already had problems. It’s easy to see why those problems exist. The game’s independent developer, Hello Games, is a very small team working on a project that is literally the size of a galaxy. It would be nearly impossible for have worked out everything prior to launch. On top of that, this game has easily been one of the most long-awaited and ambitious releases of the year. Talk about pressure!
I grew up watching all of the different iterations of Star Trek with my family. As a result of being a lifelong “Trekkie,” I have always had this curiosity about space, science, and technology. The interest also spread to my interest in different video games. I have always thought it would be cool if there were a video game that allowed the player to explore the universe on their own. A built-in story would be even better! Furthermore, why doesn’t such a game exist yet? Star Trek Online is fantastic for what it is, but it’s ultimately just another MMORPG without many differences. The same could also be said for EVE Online. I’ve already written about my love for Stellaris, but that’s a 4X game and not exactly the same type of space explorer that I’ve been searching for. And I’m not going to lie: I couldn’t even figure out how to play Elite: Dangerous. I really wanted the game of my dreams to exist like I knew it could. Open-world games have become all the rage. Minecraft pioneered the procedurally generated environment that plops the player down in an open world where they could do anything their heart desires. Why couldn’t there be one set in space?
When I finally discovered No Man’s Sky on Steam, I was excited. It promised to fulfill all the space exploration my heart desired. Hello Games even bills it as “A Science Fiction Game Set In An Infinite Procedurally Generated Galaxy.” That tagline alone was enough to get me salivating. By the time I saw the initial gameplay footage and game trailers, I was already sold. It was a game that, like Minecraft before it, was open and procedurally generated and it was set in space where you could explore, trade, and fight. It was everything that I wanted and maybe even more. Dreams do come true, friends. No Man’s Sky is clear evidence of that!
All of the harsh user reviews on Steam admittedly gave me pause before pulling the trigger on my purchase this past Friday. From what most have said, the game has not been optimized very well for the PC. Framerates are absurd, connection issues aren’t great. Some can’t even load the game beyond the title screen. But like most, I had been waiting for months to finally get my hands on this game. I even stuck with the hype after that extremely disappointing delay earlier this summer. I won’t lie: I was eager to sink my teeth into this one. User reviews be damned! I’m doing it! Fortunately, by the time I finally got the game downloaded and running on my computer, I didn’t seem to be having any of the same system errors most everyone else was experiencing. I have a pretty decent system and the game seems to run just fine on it. And for that, I am thankful!
My Steam data indicates that I’ve only been in No Man’s Sky for about six hours. That may not seem like a lot of time by most hardcore gamer standards, but it was enough to get my ship repaired, off the ground, and into my second system. I’m already considered some kind of ally to the Vy’keen race of aliens and I’ve made thousands of units just by discovering different types of alien wildlife. The next item on my agenda is to either purchase or craft more Antimatter for my warp engine — a task I’m hoping will not be nearly as difficult as it sounds. My only true complaint is that I wish the game featured a slightly better tutorial system. The game does provide helpful hints and guides you towards necessary clues and resources (especially if you choose the Atlas Path in the beginning), but No Man’s Sky is definitely not a title for people that are new to gaming. Confession: It took me nearly all of those six hours to discover how to use my Analysis Visor in order to make official discoveries in the universe! Part of the charm of No Man’s Sky is getting the opportunity to discover systems, planets, creatures, and outposts before anyone else and the Analysis Visor is a necessary tool in doing so. I also made the mistake of trying to fly to a nearby space station in my origin system before I had any reason to do so, which prevented me from even being able to enter it. Whoops!
Unlike the aimlessness of Minecraft, I’m also excited that No Man’s Sky actually features something of an endgame. While the developers strongly encourage taking your time and exploring the unlimited universe, stating they hope that it’ll be a “relaxing” game that players can join whenever they just have a few free moments, the ultimate goal of the game and what the so-called Atlas Path will guide you towards is discovering the secrets that lie in the center of the universe. Those who like to skip ahead (or those who may not be gamers) can already read all about it, but I know that while I’ve already read what lies in wait, I’m still anxious to get there and see it for myself.
No Man’s Sky currently has its issues and many users are reportedly disappointed. They state that it isn’t living up to its expectations. Maybe it isn’t the game you wanted it to be. But if you’re like me, and exploration and discovery in the cosmos sound pretty close to your Star Trek dreams being realized, then it’s exactly the game you need in your library.