No Man’s Sky Impressions

I am having a tremendously good time playing No Man’s Sky [official site], but I’m really getting annoyed by No Man’s Sky. Such is the dichotomy that’s central to this most peculiarly hyped of indie projects, that it is at once magnificent and mundane, breathtaking and benign. It is very much what everyone feared: a massive concept with no ideas to go in it. And yet it seems, from my first couple of days with the PS4 build, to be enough. I had to tear myself away to write this, what with a few quintillion stars I’ve still yet to explore.

If you’re still amongst the very many who aren’t sure what the game actually is, it’s this: an open universe, 1.8×1019 solar systems, each with explorable planets of varying flora and fauna, biome-types and technology, and you. You begin on a planet with a crashed ship, and need to nip about blasting rocks and planets with your multi-tool’s mining beam, gathering elements necessary for building components to fix your vehicle. So is it a survival game in that sense? No, not really. Once the ship’s working, you can zoom about on the planet, and eventually up into the sky. Fix some more bits and bobs and you’ll eventually get the ability to travel between stars, at which point you can opt between three paths: searching for the centre of the galaxy, searching for some weird deity thing, or just arsing about to your heart’s content.

Each of the two scripted paths (scripted in the loosest sense – the planets you’ll explore on the way are procedurally generated by your arrival, unique to you unless someone else stumbles upon them after you’ve been there and named everything) are so woolily explained as to offer me little interest in pursuing them. They are, in the loosest, most fragmented sense, an effort to create a notion of direction for the player in a might-as-well-be-infinite playing space. But so far the result is so slapdash and half-arsed as to be genuinely annoying. If you’re going to tell me to go somewhere, at least have a reason beyond telling me to go somewhere else.

But the process of going somewhere, the experience of approaching a new planet filled with new bonkers animals, is what grips. As you fly around a planet’s surface you’ll spot geologically interesting places, perhaps a glowing cave entrance, maybe the ruin of an ancient religious relic, or some hastily constructed metal buildings housing one of three alien races. You land nearby, get distracted by some lootable crates, curse your limited inventory space both in person and on your ship, then juggle elements and items about to try to make some room, once again promising yourself you’ll finally spend the hundreds of thousands of units (the in-game currency) you’ve earned on a decent new ship, rather than madly saving up for an ever better one. Oh yes, the base – you go toward the door, find it’s locked, so blast it open with the boltcaster on your multitool, the one you’ve specced up with new tech found elsewhere, created with the ever-growing variety of elements and equipment that’s overflowing your inventories, and attract the attention of the godforsaken sentinels. It’s a gun battle now, switching your fire onto them, trying to take them out before they call reinforcements, or perhaps focusing on the door while getting blasted in the back so you can get inside and hide from them.

Get in, get safe, and solve a really dumb puzzle to discover the location of a forgotten ruin on the planet with secrets to divulge, then suck all the carbon out of the plantpots, sell your loot via a device on the wall that connects to an off-world market, and head outside again to… well, you’ve no idea yet, you’ve not stumbled on it.

All that is what makes No Man’s Sky amazing. And all that is also what makes No Man’s Sky so vacuous and annoying. Let’s go through all those things I genuinely enjoy (apart from the sentinels), and point out their enormous flaw:

“Bonkers animals”: You know those kids games where you can randomly put together a giraffe’s head on an ostrich’s body on a frog’s legs? That’s all it is. Randomly cobbled creatures from a pool of Spore-like elements, resulting in mostly very stupid-looking animals that have things like horns for heads. Not horns on their heads. Instead of heads. It is impressive that they “evolved to match the planet’s ecosystem” as we were told eighty-million times during the last three years of hype. I’d have thought the not-able-to-eat HORNHEAD (as I named him, in caps) might not have made it as a species.

“Geologically interesting places”: Are caves. Each planet has a distinct look, again thanks to randomisation + procedural generation, so maybe the sky’s blue, or it’s pink, or it’s green – trouble is, I’ve played far too many video games to be overwhelmed by an odd coloured sky. In the end you either find caves, or you land on ground. And the PS4’s draw distance is absolutely atrocious, meaning that most of the time anything interesting to land near hasn’t finished loading until it’s too late and you’ve flown past. I’m desperately hoping this is better on PC.

“Ancient religious relics”: Are very inefficient one-word dictionaries. One of the nice elements of the game is constantly gathering word-for-word translations of three different alien languages, such that when you talk to them (to trade, ask for help, or occasional plot moments) you can understand incrementally more of what they’re saying. Lovely. But for some reason, the scrappily thrown together tale of some ancient god thing means that these relics offer some ambiguous nothing line of rubbish, and then a new word. You’ll likely have found more words on the walk up to it.

“Metal buildings”: Okay, here’s my biggest complaint with this game I’m desperate to get back to. Every single planet in the entire universe, all 18 quintillion of them, has been visited before you. Not by another player – your great-grandchildren will still be finding new planets – but by one of these three alien races. They’re already there, willing to offer you some units, or some health, or a translated word, sat seemingly waiting for you on the offest of off chances that you might pop by. Further, every single planet in the entire expanse of space is policed by these sodding sentinel things, who appear to have some ethical problem with my mining for iron, because do too much of it when they’re hovering around and they’ll shoot at you. God knows why they thought this was a good idea, but they’re a permanent irritant in a place that’s meant to be your own. You’re not discovering anything. You’re just turning up afterward and deciding what everything’s called – from solar system to rock name – like some lunatic 15th century explorer. “This plant? It’s called Simon! And the planet, it’s called Wobblybottom 7b! Sorry, you weren’t using it, were you?”

“Limited inventory”: I think they got a little too carried away here, what with just how much stuff you actually need to be carrying to get on, let alone the extra valuables you’ll want if you’re to make any decent money to get anywhere. I think they could have been more generous, a few more slots, but I can’t deny it’s fuelling my desperation to find the ideal slightly bigger ship.

“Specced up with new tech”: This is perhaps the most egregiously dreadful aspect of NMS. Rather than getting better ship components, or better guns, or better life-preserving equipment, you get the ability to augment what you’ve already got. The only actual way anything gets better is by its number of slots, either ship or multitool, thus allowing you to add more of these augmentations. But to build a new one you need a spare inventory slot, and then work out what’s better than what you’ve already got via it’s tiresomely obfuscated text descriptions, rather than just holding up both and the game putting a number in green or red. God how I wish the game would put numbers in green or red (well, it does, but that’s for relative worth of items sold in different markets). It’s ludicrously fiddly, although I expect this to drastically improve when I’m not trying to do it all via the boxing-gloved hands of a PS4 controller.

“Godforsaken sentinels”: I mean, what happened? They thought, “This game is far too fun. Let’s add a ubiquitous interfering flying nuisance that can kill the player for the crime of chopping up a rock.”

There are many, many other niggles, not least these incessant appearance of “Milestone achievements”, where rather than politely popping up an achievement like “Met 15 aliens” in the bottom right of the screen, it instead screams this banal information at you across the middle of the screen, pulling in widescreen bars above and below, and in doing so takes away your ability to play properly. Er, yes, thanks for letting me know that I’ve translated 30 words, but I’m kind of busy? It’s the sort of thing that rather bellows of not having had enough real human hands on it before release.

And yet, it’s got me. It’s got me not because of the massive scale of the thing (although anyone who pretends to be anything other than blown away when swooping the game’s camera through the 0.0000000001% of stars you’ll ever see (I made that number up) is a dangerous monster), but because of the minutiae, wanting to improve my equipment, get that ideal better ship and then immediately begin saving up for the 1.5m unit beauties I’ve seen docking in spaceports, learn more vocabulary so I can have an idea what these very explory aliens are saying, get better defences so sentinels are more of a waspy nuisance than a sharky threat. I have found myself embracing these tiny incremental steps in a game world so big that all the players in the world will never explore even a significant fraction of what it offers. And I know, somewhere in the back of my mind, that there’s equipment to be gained that will let me make vast swooping journeys far faster than I currently can, and that feels like something to dream about as I go.

It’s a shame that after so long, after so many delays, what I come away feeling is that No Man’s Sky needed another year to really work out what it was for. That existential crisis is ever-present in all you do, all the space imaginable, and no really clear idea of what to use it for. If anything, I feel like it should be the universe into which a thousand other game narratives are released. And yet it’s a space in which I’m enthralled, simply by the simplicity of it. I’ve no idea how this will pan out, what I’ll find after more than two days in there. And certainly no clue how different the experience will be when I restart it all on PC tomorrow.

That’s crucial for us, and I’ve deliberately not talked about the very problematic crashiness of the PS4 version here since that’s someone else’s problem. My motivation here has been to get a grip on what’s actually here, what it really offers. After the weekend I’ll return with a proper review of the PC version, and hopefully some larger conclusions after a lot more play.

No Man’s Sky is out on PC on the 12th August, for $60/£40.

Disclosure: Our Alec did some last minute writing for No Man’s Sky. He won’t write about the game for us anymore, and we won’t speak to him about it or at all.


  1. Nasarius says:

    where you can randomly put together a giraffe’s head on an ostrich’s body on a frog’s legs

    That actually sounds quite a bit less advanced than Spore, which did do some interesting things with creature creation and procedural animation. Swappable premade parts can at times be a perfectly valid approach to procedural generation, but less so when you’re talking about biological organisms that are supposed to make sense.

    • Cinek says:

      Arguably that description is also more advanced than what NMS offers. That description creates an illusion that there are millions of spices mixing together while in reality it doesn’t take more than a few planets to see repetitive patterns. And that’s only because a number of spices per planet tends to be very limited.

      • Captain Narol says:

        Spices ?? Do you mean “Species” ?

        • Blaztardz says:

          lol, you guys know damn well what he/she meant. Still funny watching poke though. GG to you, just in case, what particular planet name themes should look out for from you should I encounter them?

        • Press X to Gary Busey says:

          Holy crap it is Spore!
          The one who controls the chilli powder geysers control the universe.

      • Jerppa says:


        • dungeoncrawl says:

          So its a Dune game?

          • shagen454 says:

            It’s a DMT game

          • Jean Michel says:

            yes…a DMT kind of a game…and here I was, listening to my OWN, personalized playlist of background science-psychedelic music to enjoy, while tripping through a vast, procedurally-generated cosmos, that’s full of Billions and Billions of Stars…!

          • Jean Michel says:

            …btw, you might wish to log into youtube via Firefox, so you can block all the stoopid ads… and if you don’t already know how to block youtube ads:
            1) download / run firefox — open add-ons’ manager
            2) use the keyword / search option, by typing in Adblock for Youtube
            3) install said ad-on, restart youtube, play videos to your hearts’ content.
            DISCLAIMER: This is NOT an AD for ADBLOCK…I’m simply being helpful to those who don’t understand pc’s very well. I receive no compensation for this. …although it would be nice if you were to listen to some of my playlists…?

      • cockpisspartridge says:

        So it’s the Colonel Sanders of video games. Telling you it’s secret is 13 herbs and spices, when in reality it is salt and MSG? Haha.

    • zaphod42 says:

      Its a procgen game. I think lots of people are seeing 3 things and coming away with a kneejerk reaction. Sometimes procgen is going to be ugly or look dumb. But allowing those things to happen is what gives real variety. I’ve seen dozens of animals that actually looked really cool and sensible, one for each animal that looked completely bonkers or nonsensical. You get good with the bad.

      The point is its an exploration game. If you see things you like, you stick around. If the procgen makes a planet with dumb things on it, you just take off and fly to the next planet. That’s the whole point.

      You’re never forced to go anywhere.

      • dangermouse76 says:

        Can you enjoy staying on the same planet for ever as well ? That would be interesting.
        I can see this game getting a lot of additional content and updates.
        NMS has just entered Beta.

        • Nauallis says:

          There’s really no compelling reason to do that at this point, and it’s not quite what they built the game to do, hence the lack of any base-building or Starbound-esque mothership customization. That said, if you’re able to narrate your own emergent-gameplay (a la Rimworld, Minecraft, Stellaris), I’m sure that it’d be a possible to have a grand time exploring the same planet for an extended duration.

          • dangermouse76 says:

            Yes it does seem to want to keep you moving by design. I very interested to see what this game looks like in the coming years. It has scope to really explode in all directions.
            If that’s what the developers want to do of course.

        • ElGordoFreeman says:

          A 60 bucks beta, being sold as as full game… They can add more content via DLC but the damahe is done. This sets the new high bar for indie games pricing, and the message here is “we can ask whatever price we want for a nice looking game, no matter the content, and we deserve it because we are indie and the idea is good (whatever the execution). Similar to what happened with superhot (nice game mechanic, barely hold for a full game) where the developers upped the price on the fly, having stated a price tag they upped it near the launch, based solely on the hype the game generated. The main problem is that the hype inflated the developers confidence and the developers inflated the price

          • waltC says:

            If people would use their heads and not *pay* $60 for new games with wonky titles from unknown indies–nobody would be charging it.

      • Blastaz says:

        I get the feeling they originally wanted to make an HD Proteus, and then got rather surprised how hyped it got after that E3 and had to scrabble around for game mechanics to appeal to the COD crowd when perhaps they would have been better off looking at Out There.

        Every planet inhabited by sentient life sounds sad, I preferred the idea of there being completely uninhabited planets without any life at all.

        Oh well I’ll be out at the Beer Festival at Olympia today, I’ll have to remember to set the Steam Ap on my phone to download this and then come home and do some very wobbly exploration later…

    • ivanmussa says:

      This description is absolutely incompatible with what I experienced (I have played 10h of the game). I did see some repetitions of heads and monsters with “horns instead of heads”. But the absolute majority of animals had a more harmonious composition that from wich you couldn’t discern discrete parts that were put together. And the procedural animation system is incredible.

      People apparently expected some magic evolution simulation (the developers never said that was the intention), but when they “only” get a faily well-rounded INFINITE creature, ship and wepaon generation system, they simply can only see flaws.

      • oafish-oaf says:

        I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the lifeform generation, especially considering that I expected life to be much rarer than it is before playing (expected most of the planets to be completely barren). Considering that there’s life EVERYWHERE, it’s strikingly diverse and still functions (groups of plants look like groups of plants, walking animals look like walking animals). Good stuff.

      • April March says:

        Infinite creature? Is Horace in the game? It’s him at the center, isn’t it?

        • Premium User Badge

          Qazinsky says:

          Well, he’s at the center. And to the left. And a bit over there… you get the point.

    • Dugular says:

      To be fair, Spore didn’t have any procedurally created creatures. They were all manually created by the developers or the online community using the ingame creature creator.

  2. mrmistermeakin says:

    Never seen so many faults forgiven.
    Essentially, every review has said it is boring, BUT!

    The gameplay is the same as any generic survival game, but admittedly it is beautiful. Gamebreaking bugs already, apparent lies regarding what is actually in the game, and yet so many people rushing to defend.
    Why cant it just be… not that good of a game?

    • John Walker says:

      There are a couple of thousand words just above that precisely answer your questions.

      • mrmistermeakin says:

        Yes, in which you defend almost everything with a ‘… and yet’

        You have to admit, there are a lot of faults being forgiven here, more so than if this were a ‘AAA’ game, in my opinion.

        There is no need to be snarky, if you dont agree, fine, but commenting like an ass?

        Our main commenting rule is “be excellent to each other”.

        • wengart says:

          Because it isn’t a bad game. It isn’t particularly great, and if you had really bought into the hype you will be sorely disappointed.

          On the other hand its a game that reached pretty fucking far, and didn’t completely fumble it.

          Its a game that paying $60 for is probably a bit much, at least for me. However, during a steam sale for $20-$30 sure thing.

        • Runty McTall says:

          He says what he finds frustrating but he says that he’s also having fun and can’t wait to get back to it. At the end of the day, if you’re having fun and want to play more of it, then is it really a bad game?

          To reflect your question, why can’t it not not be that good of a game? He explains what he likes and doesn’t and concludes that thus far, for him, the good outweighs the bad. Not sure what more he can do? Taste is subjective but why does he need to conclude, as you seem to suggest, that it must be a net negative? As a critic he gives you the data and his weighing of that data and then you can form your own opinion on whether you think you will like it. He has no obligation to fit his subjective taste to yours.

        • John Walker says:

          The issue is you’re imagining that I’m defending it. I’m not. I wrote a massive long list of really serious problems with this game, and explained that despite them, for the first few hours at least, I’m enjoying myself. The issues remain issues, and in listing them I hope to warn off people who might not wish to put up with them. But I can only report my truthful experiences.

          And when you suggest otherwise, and ask questions that demand answers very explicitly given in the article, it remains reasonable for me to point you that way.

          • CronoRay says:

            I for one John thought your article on it was well said and writing, you legitimately seem to like the game yet also do point out the bad sides of it, the proper way to do a review is essentially state the good things and the bad things and give your honest personal opinion on it.

            You were not biased nor were you defending it, you simply are letting people know what you think and what to keep in mind when going into the game, it has been a while since i actually saw an honest review to this degree, so do not get worked up at any point for what people may say.

            You wrote an excellent piece here that is informative and very accurate to the spirit of what this game is. I my self and many others can appreciate game journalism done right and well.

          • waltC says:

            Yes, all hardware and software reviews are opinions, as opposed to scientifically verified documentation…;) But lots of people erroneously think a review should be the latter. It’s like “Consumer Reports”–it’s a mag full of opinion as opposed to fact–it’s the author’s opinion of the product that comprises the “conclusions.” Yet, some people think the magazine is “science they can live by,” etc. The trick to gleaning valuable info about a product before making the purchase decision is twofold:

            a) In the case of software, never pre-order
            b) After the product ships read a wide variety of reviews before deciding, and check out the related game forums for more information

            For instance, I dislike games with checkpoint saves that do not permit “save anytime,” functions. I dislike them so much that I won’t buy a strictly checkpoint-save game. But many times I’d have to plow through 3-4 reviews and/or check out game forums to discover that the game was indeed checkpoint-save only!

            Speaking of that, I’ll be interested to learn the save mechanism for the PC version of this game…!

      • Ham Solo says:

        You mentioned issues the game has, and there is a seperate article covering the blatant lies of the developer about the “multiplayer” aspect of the game. I think that’s about all you really have to do as a game news blog and you did it well, don’t know why anyone would complain about that.

        • Gaminggumper says:

          You seem like a positively dude. Firstly, there is absolutely no real evidence that some form of multiplayer doesn’t exist. Yes, it didn’t work the only time anyone has managed to accomplish this astronomically difficult feat. But this was also the day when their servers were being hammered in a way that the couldn’t have prepared for. Secondly, if multiplayer was originally intended and then eventually scrapped. What on earth would be the benefit of keeping up the lie. They are making a thing. There is NO implied promise that their version of a thing has to match everyone’s expectations. If it truly wasn’t possible it would be far simpler to simply state it can’t happen, than use the language they have.

          • The Great Wayne says:

            There’s still pre-order money on the table, and there was even more pre PS4 release, sooo… Yeah they lied about it.

            It’s kinda ludicrous people would refute both the sticker and the ingame testing on the account of “overcharged servers”.

    • modzero says:

      You’re making a silly assumption: that everyone hates boredom. Tell that to me between meditation, puzzle games and ETS. Tell that to me when in E:D combat is a nuisance that gets in the way of the moving starfield and nice dingly music things. I mean, yes, “boredom” is an awkward word for it – but it’s certainly not “excitement” (again, in this context perhaps not the best word against “boredon”) of punching cacodemons in the face with their own eyes in Doom. And some people really crave that boredom.

      • Blackcompany says:

        Agree completely. The overly aggressive AI is a big part of what drove me from Elite. Interdicted or attacked for every little thing. If black boxes were worth half as much in real life than they are when salvaged in Elite, shooting down planes and sinking ships would be a sport. It’s utterly ridiculous the amount of gamey nonsense shoved into their “simulator.”

        Egosoft should just copy the flight model for the next X game. They would probably put Frontier out of business.

        • Cinek says:

          The thing though is that a good game that includes tedious bits also offers excitement. Meanwhile it isn’t really the case with NMS, at least not past initial few hours when you discover the repeating patterns for the first time.

        • Universal Quitter says:

          I wish RNGesus favored me the way it does you. I’ve always found AI interdiction and aggression in E:D to be kind of underwhelming. While in inhabited space, I want a lot of action and stress.

          If I want peace and solitude, that’s what long-range exploration is for. Nobody’s jumping you 20,000 light years from the nearest station.

          Hell, half the time it’s just the stupid system security yanking me out of super-cruise, anyway. On the other hand, I’m not much of a space trucker or smuggler, so maybe we just play(ed) the game differently and perceive it accordingly.

      • mrmistermeakin says:

        I see your point, maybe the word boredom game me the wrong impression.
        Even as a meditative experience, from what I have seen, that are many jaring bugs or gameplay faults that tend toward frustration, and I would suggest making it hard to completely relax?

        • Sonntam says:

          I think people get most frustrated when they set a goal and work towards with with a single-minded purpose.

          No Man’s Sky works best if you take time to see sights, laugh at ridiculous new animals, scan plants, give new species names and jump over cliffs with your jetpack. Crafting, inventory juggling and combat tends to be frustrating than enjoyable, but it’s made up by the sense of freedom. When I have full inventory, then I can hop into my ship and fly around till I find a trading outpost. When the planet is too punishing, I can hop on my ship and look for a planet with more mild weather. When I get tired of fighting pirates, all I have to is land my ship and relax by exploring the planet. All those systems are supposed to nudge you towards moving forward and never staying long in one place. You will get angry if you try to fight them, but if you go with the flow, it won’t be a problem.

          It’s not a game where you can get anything done quickly and efficiently. And it surely helps if you truly enjoy talking to the aliens and solving those mini-puzzles. I myself love them.

      • mrmistermeakin says:

        Oh, and how in any sense, is it silly to assume people hate boredom?

        • Sheng-ji says:

          It’s probably more correct to say that not everyone finds the things that bore you boring.

      • Azmoham says:

        ‘Boredom’ and ‘Relaxation’ are not the same thing. I can understand some people wanting a more layed-back game, but I highly doubt that anyone has ever wanted to be BORED. Being bored is a bad thing, it means that you’re not entertained, and entertaining you is the major purpose for most games, thus if a game is boring, it’s failed as a game. And before you say it, I know some games are not made to entertain, they are made to educate or inform, but NMS does not look to be one of those games.

        • The Great Wayne says:

          Being bored isn’t a bad thing at all. It’s just something we’ve grown unaccustomed to nowadays. And I’m talking being bored doing nothing, not being bored doing something boring.

          Although all this has nothing to do with NMS being good.

          • Universal Quitter says:

            Also, it’s not like all boredom is created equal.

            To some, this game is boring like a rainy weekend afternoon. The kind of thing you can play while your mind wanders and daydreams.

            To others, it looks so boring they would rather gnaw their arm off than be forced to interact with it in any way. Odd that they would be clicking on articles about a game they despise so much, but that’s another discussion for another time.

            But neither one is helping the other when they fail to explain precisely what they mean by boring. Practically every adjective, verb, and noun in the English language has multiple definitions commonly in use, at any given time.

            It’s never a bad idea to clarify which one or ones you’re focusing on.

        • Apocalypse says:

          That is really hard to tell, I have not been really bored since decades, so it’s to relate to someone describing a game as boring.

          Not fun, tedious, annoying, not exiting, sure … but boring? As in inducing a state of boredom? That’s the kind of game which you play for 5 minutes and put it away because makes you want to stop playing it.

          And here we are, having a journalist writing that he can’t wait to play more. Does not sound boring.

          But hey, COD is indeed boring and millions of people play that shit, so many art and video games are subjective experiences.

      • Someoldguy says:

        I don’t think people crave boredom. It’s not a positive thing. However there’s certainly a type of gamer that enjoys a relaxing gaming experience that is not full of frantic adrenaline fuelled clicking to avoid a game over. Regency Solitaire is never going to hit the #1 slot on weekly steam sales but there are many people out there glad it was made and enjoying playing it. For some an ARPG is a great distillation of the fun parts of CRPGs with less of the tedious dialogue, plot exposition and downtime. For others it’s just a collection of tedious repetitive hacking, slashing and fireball flinging with all the reasons to care cut out. Ditto any gaming format you care to mention.

        If NMS has managed to give you just enough reason to want to explore new worlds then it will be a hit for some and a miserable fail for others who sought more. I think it will be a win for me if the minimal plot outweighs the restrictive inventory and frustrating need to maintain your gear. If they go further and manage, like Paradox, to continue enhancing the product month on month, year on year until it really does have genuine plot lines to persue then that will be even better.

        • Miss Cellany says:

          I’m happy with flying around, landing on planets, mining stuff, blasting holes in mountains (and sculpting metal deposits into shapes), trading and making money, upgrading my ship and suit, learning alien languages, tripping out watching Hyperdrive, blasting asteroids, breaking into bases and getting chased by sentinels, naming things with ridiculous names (this is one of my favourite activities and something I spent WAY too long doing on WoW RE: pet names), and trying to find my friends (even though the ability to do this is still unconfirmed).

          Yeah the music is nice… but to be brutally honest I’m probably going to turn it off after the first day and listen to my own playlist while I do these things…

          This is going to be what I do in my unwinding time after work and home responsibilities are done.

          I get that younger people with no job and only free time on their hands would want a more intensive game but for me a relaxing game is perfect to escape and unwind with.

          Also I must admit I am an avid Sci-fi reader, having read a lot of the stuff from the 80s, and the artwork and graphics in no man’s sky definitely remind me of 80s Sci-Fi novel covers :)

    • Imbecile says:

      Different games hold different appeals for different people. Separate to that some want this to be the best game ever very badly, and others want it to be absolutely awful, with lying developers, and oh, the horror.

      I suspect I would find it mildly enjoyable. I’ll give it a go sometime once I’ve read the reviews from friends and reviewers who usually reflect my tastes well

    • guy15s says:

      Funny. My perception of the review was that the guy was taking working features and engaging features and he was nitpicking them, so his review could confirm the Internet raging going on. Most of what he mentioned seems like stuff that would only be slightly annoying and are so minor that they could be fixed with patches.

      That being said, I dug the review. It did seem strange because I don’t usually see such a negative review for a game the reviewer insists they are going back to.

  3. Renevent says:

    I’ve played the last two days and frankly I think I’m going to take the game back. While there are some neat/fun aspects the game just hasn’t successfully sunk it’s hooks into me. It hasn’t sunk it’s hooks into my 11 year old daughter, either, which is the primary reason I purchased the game.

    There’s too many frustration, many of which you already detailed. The biggest one for me is the inventory. It is so woefully limited it becomes an exercise in frustration. I realize you can upgrade it a bit over time (I’ve done so maybe 3-4 times) but even then, 3-4 hours in it’s still frustrating the hell out of me.

    The above is is compounded by constantly (and I do mean constantly) having to recharge your various gadgets and do-dads. Every piece of equipment requires you manually going into the inventory and recharging it. Each one also needs different materials to recharge, so you need to keep constant supply of more and more stuff, which makes the small inventory an even bigger issue.

    Each material has a miserable amount it can be stacked, so even the same materials start taking up multiple slots. Equipment upgrades are new slots. To craft it’s new slots. When I discover new places I don’t even want to open up boxes/crates because it’ll be some curiosity which doesn’t stack and I have no idea what it does anyways.

    For a game where a huge portion of the gameplay resolves around discovery and collecting/crafting things, this is a completely unneeded and counterproductive limitation. I get they want you to feel like you are progressing by upgrading, but it’s far too limited.

  4. whodafug says:

    I think there’s another dichotomy here, and it involves RPSs coverage of NMS. You lot were well on-board the hype train, front and center in fact. I think it may have coloured your objectivity somewhat. That isn’t to say that this article is bad, or that your opinion should be discounted, but that – it seems – you’re having real trouble deciding where to land on this one, not only because the game itself makes it hard to decide where to land.

    I had a chance to play it last night at my friend’s place. It was a wondrous experience at the best of times. Visually, it’s a marvel. I love the colour palette, I love the 80s vibe, I love the ship designs, everything. The sound design is understated but compelling. As a spectacle to look at, it works better than perhaps any other game I’ve played. Slap some Radiohead on, play NMS, be chill. However, it left me feeling with a strong sense that it may well suffer from exactly the same problem that every space exploration game of the last 5 years has ended up having: it felt like it was 18,000,000,000,000,000,000 miles wide, but only 2 inches deep. After a while, after the charm wore off and the spectacle become normalised, I had only one question for my friend: “is that it then?”

    Of course, 5 hours isn’t nearly enough time to fly 18,000,000,000,000,000,000 miles. My friend carried on playing long after I’d left, into the wee hours or the morning, and on until lunch time. I asked him again, “so… was that it?” His answer? “Yeah, pretty much.”

    I’ll be buying it at the end of the month to give it a fair go, but so far the people and gamers that I have a degree of respect for are all saying things that make it sound like a great and well-built proof of concept, but only really a proof of concept.

    • John Walker says:

      No. I wrote what I thought of the experience of playing the game.

      Everything else is in your imagination. Have a look at this:

      link to

      • Nauallis says:

        Have a look at that and then don’t read the comments. RPS commenters are not RPS staff, or their feelings. I think peeps are getting that jumbled up.

      • Geebs says:

        Hmmm. I just had a look through the RPS archive, and it looks to me as though everybody had figured out exactly what No Man’s Sky would be like way back in December 2013. As in, everybody had already figured out what limitations would be imposed by the procedural generation and intended scale pretty much from the outset, and the second article RPS ever posted on the topic was already asking “so, what do you actually do?”

        Still going to give it a go, because I want to look at the procedural stuff and Insult The Universe, but I do find all of these articles popping up about how NMS is “not what you were expecting” pretty eye-rolling.

    • wengart says:

      I dunno, the review seemed pretty on point for me.

      The game ultimately has a lot of problems, but there are few enough games that do this on this scale that the attempt is mesmerizing and interesting.

      No $60 of interesting, but at 50+% off, sure thing.

      • Weed says:

        I know it’s not a good thing that any game should cost $60, but……

        I tend to look at the dollar/hours ratio. Say I played Rocket League for 200 hours (just saying I did. It’s probably more). So that is $20/200 hours. That is $.10 (10 cents) an hour for 200 hours of entertainment.

        Even if you only play NMS for 5 hours, that $60/5 hours is $12 an hour of entertainment. Very similar to the cost of a movie night out, providing you don’t pay for your date or friend or whatever.

        More than likely, players will put in at least 10 hours, and many will put in a lot more. Even if they do not like it.

        And this is something they’ve been working on for 3 years, or more. And from all indications, something they intend to keep working on.

        Everyone has to determine where there dollar meets their entertainment and what will satisfy. I guess I am always surprised when someone says X game didn’t meet my expectations or is missing a key feature, I’ve only played it for 10+ hours.

        • wengart says:

          I think any sort of dollar/hour comparisons are just kinda pointless.

          I’ve spent $20 on 2-3 hours of gameplay. I’ve spent $0 on 1,200 hours of gameplay (hello Dota 2).

          I have 600+ games in my Steam library.

          I want interesting games to spend my time on. I don’t want time sinks.

          This game is worth $20 or so for me because I’m gonna load it up over a weekend, play it for a bit and then move on. I am going to be a dilettante in the NMS universe.

          • The Great Wayne says:

            And beside that, if we’re trying to get on with the hour/$ ratio, then RTS or MMOs are either very, very cheap, or they should cost a lot more than they do. Not talking about F2P because then those just break the equation.

            Also, a RTS with 200h playtime is not worth much to someone who hate the genre, while a FPS fan will be happy paying full price for games that tend to average at around 15-20h.

            Hour/$ is really not a good scale.

        • melnificent says:

          Price per hour of entertainment is always a subjective thing.
          My most played game on steam is a freebie. But the average cost of my library for entertainment according to steamdb is £5.80 per hour. To some that’s ridiculously high, to others it’s tiny compared to the library size (2,400+).

    • Duncan Disorderly says:

      Exceptional comment.

      At the moment, I’m patiently waiting for the PC version to be released. I’ve tried my best to avoid any of the hype leading up to the game’s release. Easier said than done. Unfortunately, since I first heard of the game about a year ago, I have been perpetually tempted to have a peek at some of previews on YouTube. Needless to say, there were times I was weak and gave in to temptation. The few clips I’ve watched appeared to share a common theme. Premature elaboration. Hype. Antici… pation.

      Alarm bells started ringing in my head. This has happened before, much to my chagrin. In part, this had to do with a fault in my home security system. However, despite silencing the alarm bells and calling out a repairman (due tomorrow, between 9-12), the figurative alarm bells continued to ring incessantly.

      Why? Good question. The very same thing happened to Spore before its release. People were so pumped up about the game and eager for its release, they romanticized about how epic it would be. What made it worse was the game’s release date was changed countless times. The tease reached a fever pitch in the end and the delays only made it more epic in their imagination when they pictured what it would be like to play the game. It was doomed to disappoint. Even if it was the best game ever released, it could never live up to this romantic ideal.

      While I don’t think NMS has reached the same level of frenzy as Spore, it is comparable. At least NMS hasn’t been delayed as much as Spore. Now, that would have been the kiss of death. All the same, the main problem of any highly anticipated game, are the fans, eager to play. In a perfect world, all games would exceed our expectations.

      Ultimately, I’m proud of my efforts to avoid overexposing myself to hype and my expectations aren’t too high. Part of me wishes I didn’t read this thread at the eleventh hour. It could be worse. It could be Spore.

      Finally, I just wanted to compliment your flair for words. Clearly, you share my appreciation for aesthetic expression. But, that’s not all. You have another vital ingredient that is necessary, in order to apply aesthetics effectively. Wit. My passion for writing provides an ability to recognize certain aspects that form an integral part of my approach. My favourite part of your comment stated:

      “However, it left me feeling with a strong sense that it may well suffer from exactly the same problem that every space exploration game of the last 5 years has ended up having: it felt like it was 18,000,000,000,000,000,000 miles wide, but only 2 inches deep.”

      Brilliant description. Personally, I strive to craft my words with the aim to achieve more than the sum of its parts. When I compose a wall of words, it should be worth climbing. Always a pleasure to encounter an eloquently worded comment. Hopefully, you already have confidence in your craft. It appears you do. If not, allow my words of praise empower you. After all, that is their true intention. Shame to let them go to waste. =P

      Peace. =)

      • Duncan Disorderly says:

        Can’t edit my previous comment. Just wanted to add it was meant to be tagged for whodafug.

      • LennyLeonardo says:


      • Matroska says:

        A brilliant description that was first used about 2 years ago and has been quoted/reused countless times since, I’m afraid.

      • Nogo says:

        Wow. No offense, but maybe work on your craft a bit more before indulging in the ridiculous navel gazing and wankery.

        • specksynder says:

          I don’t know, I heard some very distinct Ignatius J. Reilly echoes in that comment. Two possibilities: he’s either created some 21st century symbiotic literature/performance art hybrid in the public forum; or, he’s a real life Ignatius. Either way, he is perfect.

          • Duncan Disorderly says:

            specksynder says:

            I don’t know, I heard some very distinct Ignatius J. Reilly echoes in that comment. Two possibilities: he’s either created some 21st century symbiotic literature/performance art hybrid in the public forum; or, he’s a real life Ignatius. Either way, he is perfect.

            Ignatius J Reilly. Hilarious! While I’m flattered, I’m afraid it’s more of the latter. Forums are an open canvas and I employ them for my benefit in order to refine my craft. They have provided an invaluable resource and the wealth of knowledge I have amassed has helped me immeasurably.

            To be honest, it’s rare to receive criticism and I usually laugh at fools when they take me seriously. A flame usually says more about the one flaming, over the one being flamed. =P Anyway, your comment is much appreciated.

    • Raoul Duke says:

      I find it hard to ignore the feeling that if this game hadn’t been picked up by Sony, and instead had been released like a normal indie game, everyone would be going completely bonkers about how amazing it is.

      I mean, how many games has RPS written about in positive terms mostly because they are indie games with a unique and compelling look to them even if they are light on story or gameplay? Which is precisely what this is, times a hundred.

      So I think Hello Games has done a bit of a Faustian deal – they’ve taken advantage of Sony’s insane marketing muscle and they will make a great deal of money as a result, but the trade off is that now they are being judged by the standards of Mass Effect rather than Proteus.

      • Hmm-Hmm. says:

        It may (or may not) be a great achievement by the developers, but that doesn’t mean it’s a great game.

  5. Ross Turner says:

    I tried to stay as cautious in my optimism as possible for NMS. Now I wish I’d waited until Friday to get in on PC rather than via the PS Store, just so that I could ask for a refund. It’s exactly as magnificent and mundane as John describes, and not something I’m willing to run on its upgrade treadmill for.

  6. SteelPriest says:

    Gah, i really can’t decide whether to get this or not. Spent about 40 hours playing elite dangerous before it all started feeling too fundamentally pointless, before the game was even released. I don’t want that again…

    • jonahcutter says:

      It’s interesting in that 40 hours of entertainment seems like a pretty good return on even a $60 dollar game to me. And you still own the game and can always return to it after a break, or when new features are added (as seems likely).

      Of course everybody has s different sense of what their money and time is worth. So how much entertainment from a $60 dollar game do you expect?

      • trjp says:

        If I thought NMS (or Elite) would give me 40 hours of enjoyment, I’d already have bought them – my concern is I get bored under 20 (that would be poor VFM)

        40 hours is a LONG time for me to play ANY game and I’m surprised anyone else sees it as ‘too little’ tbh

        Also – I only tend to leap at ‘full price’ games where there’s an online aspect or some other hook to ‘being there at the start’. Seems to me that NMS will be the same game in a year’s time so I can wait??

        • Captain Narol says:

          NMS should be a much better game in one year, as free updates with additional content are coming…

          So, if you are not as impatient as me to explore all it already has, the waiting game may indeed be quite worth it, and if you are lucky you might even get it before a year at a discounted price in a steam sale…

  7. DirtyDivinity says:

    It could be a good idea to release a demo with – maybe – only ten or… OK, twenty… billions planets available?

  8. A Gentleman and a Taffer says:

    Fair assessment, based on my 4 or 5 hours with it. It is compelling and compulsive in an MMO-ey way. The things that drive you (staying alive; increasing tool, ship and suit stats; generally making numbers bigger) are painfully, generically obvious and bound to become tiresome sooner or later. But as with most MMOs I’m still enjoying the pull during these early hours at least.

    But on top of that, it is a brilliant sci-fi moment creator:

    I’ve searched a barren, empty planet high and low for the mysterious, creepy animal noises I could hear.

    I’ve blasted holes in mountains to reveal intricate, beautifully lit cave systems.

    I’ve followed a bread crumb of transmission signals to find a crashed ship I could salvage, repair and launch into space.

    I found the most incredible, beautiful planet bursting with life and vegetation. A delight after the first 4 or 5 being fairly barren.

    The scale, the spectacle, the music, the views. All are great. It is a worthwhile play, without doubt. The day to day chore-y-ness of maintaining your gear and endless inventory management will overbear the fun sooner or later, but for now I really am impressed.

    • ivanmussa says:

      Absolutely this.

      I spent som much time complaining in my head about the controls, the gameplay loop of having to collect resources, and the inability to fly the ship on low ground.

      But still, I continue to find myself in beautiful and awe-inspiring situations, like a sunset on a purple sky, trying to scan a big creature without it noticing, seeing a pack of strange aliens with their alien babies, watching a group of enormous freighter warp right in front of me in space.

      What really keeps me playing (together with that MMO-y game loop), I realized, is the expectation of these little moments of discovery. Somehow, I sense the game still hides some incredible moments.

      • A Gentleman and a Taffer says:

        Yeah, exactly, it keeps suprising me. As long as that continues I can put up with numbers game (and saying that, I just bought my first new ship and felt bloody excited about it).

        Just spent an hour mucking about in space, mining asteroids seemed the quickest way to make ship buying cash, and again stuff just kept happening – pirates after my booty, freighters under threat and asking for help, just ships flying about doing their thing. Great fun. And now just landed on my first oceanic world. Looks cool.

  9. CartonofMilk says:

    so in a different way, this game has the same problem as the other game with billions of systems to visit, namely, Elite Dangerous.

    It’s lacking worthwhile content.

    Personally for my tastes i feel all this could be fixed if the game just allowed me to build complex stuff like Space engineers.

    • Captain Narol says:

      The notion that something is worthwile or not is very subjective…

      I have the feeling that for many people, me included, the simple view of those alien planets with strange plants and animals all around will be very worthwile.

      To each their own, maybe the game will be more at your taste after a few big updates, as it had been hinted that the possibility to build bases will be added. Right now, it’s an exploration game, not a building game.

      • Silverchain says:

        Quite. I’ve had over 3000 hours worth of enjoyment out of Elite and it perplexes me how often I see people feeling the need to slag it off. It’ll be interesting to see how NMS compares.

  10. Boosey says:

    I agree with everything John says in his article. I can’t deny that some of the game mechanics and superficial features irritate but it is pleasantly compelling. An exploration game that entices you towards the next marker on the horizon where satisfaction of your curiosity is the reward. The trading, mining, combat etc. are cumbersome but if you have ever played Skyrim and enjoyed walking from place to place to marvel at the scenery and been annoyed that a game would often get in the way then I sense you might get a lot of satisfaction from No Man’s Sky. Plus, the colour palate and art design is like the cover of a pulp 60’s sci-fi novel which I enjoy.

  11. Laurentius says:

    So basicly it’s grindfest/skinner box mechanism of so many mmos build upon proceduraly gnerated galaxy. Wel lthat’s whta I though after first gameplay video. It even has the all the trapings of F2P mmo, like want bigger inventory, or faster minerals gathring – pay us, except it is removed in NMS. It is depressing course of action in game design though in 2016, this game just begs for simulation aspect, and it has none. I don’t mean Dwarf Fortress level of simulation but SidMeier’s Pirates, to see some unexpected things, to make expolartion worthwile not because there is x minerals to gather but there is somehting interesting going on out there. Meh, not for me.

    • batraz says:

      Yeah, we all know Geek Fortress is the philosopher’s stone of gaming, but, you see, plastic beauty matters to some people. Having only played Rimworld, (sorry geek lord, didnt have the courage to do the dwarves), I think the kind of narrative depth those systems create has something sick about it… I mean, I feel like I’m trapped in a Philip K. Dick story, with too much focus on details, like in a maniac’s mind. So no thanx, pals, keep your Gaming Grail to yourselves… But that was your plan anyway, wasnt it ?

      • Marr says:

        Show us on the doll where the nerds did the bad touching, son.

  12. Napalm Sushi says:

    This game appears to be a fascinating paradox. There’s widespread agreement that all its gamey compulsion loops and artificial limits frustratingly interrupt the simple joy of exploration, but the same people also agree that those things give much needed context to the exploration and provide a strong, tangible drive to progress. So many reviews seem to amount to “these are all the problems with this game, which are also the reasons that it works.”

    I keep seeing stories to the effect of “I landed on this planet for a quick peek and then realised I had no fuel for my launch thruster, so I had to get out and roam around for a cave to get some plutonium, and on the way I found this cool thing that I wouldn’t have seen if I’d just glanced around and taken off again as per my intent.” It’s like all the unpleasant and unwelcome aspects of the game enable the things that are so great about it.

    …Which is the gist of any good space adventure story, surely?

    • Blackcompany says:

      That…is a very good point…

    • hungrycookpot says:

      That’s EXACTLY it. I’m actually really glad that the survival elements are in the game, and have a little bit of challenge. Without them, there would be no reason for you to even get out of your ship, you’d just swoop over and see what there is to see, on to the next one. At that point, why not just make a game like Universe Simulator.

      • April March says:

        I would say that, from John’s review, the problem isn’t that the “survival” elements exist at all, but rather that they’re more pressing than it would be welcome.

    • Nogo says:

      I think that indicates that the gamey bits are certainly compelling to pursue, but not necessarily satisfying to achieve.

  13. Yargh says:

    This is painful reminder that every object I have explored in Elite has warehouses full of Tea on them, no matter how far from human space I have ventured.

    • Yargh says:

      That was about the Metal Buildings bit, I obviously do not understand blockquotes…

  14. Plank says:

    This impression of yours John reminds me of a song by Hot Chip link to

  15. Captain Narol says:

    “I am having a tremendously good time”

    John even saying “It’s got me” and “this game I’m desperate to get back to”

    Ok, the game has some flaws, but what game doesn’t especially Day One ?

    Preordering immediately !!

    Ooops, wait, I already did one week ago..

    Only 24h29mn left before ignition… 28 mn…27 mn…26mn…

  16. Fry says:

    Looks like a good time killer, but not really what I want from a video game. Sean Murray says it isn’t for everyone. Fair enough.

  17. running fungus says:

    The repetition is some cause for concern. Without replay value is procgen even a virtue?

  18. Shazbut says:

    “Landing on the planets is a marvel”
    “Walking around on the planets is a marvel”
    “Getting frustrated with all these survival elements”
    “Still though, what tech”
    “Really incredible”
    “Not really sure what the point of it all is”
    “Maybe it’ll become clear in a few more hours”

    *plays another 10 hours*

    “There’s something about this that just makes me want to play more”
    “Me too, although it’s seeming a little empty as well”
    “Yeah, I know, but I really want to see if the next planet has those blue cliffs and red grass like that other planet”

    *plays another 10 hours*

    “There’s nothing to do is there?”
    “No, there isn’t”
    “It’s all a big empty promise isn’t it?”
    “Yes, it is”

    *plays another 10 hours*

    “Either the game is a exploiting a weakness I have or it’s actually good”
    “I’d rather believe the latter”
    “Me too. I mean, we’ve been at this for days now”

    9/10 – “Hours of entertainment”. (Sequel in the works, etc)

  19. Askis says:

    Well, sounds like holding off for a year or so is a good idea, maybe they’ll have patched some of the annoyances and added some more interesting content by then.

  20. Raazer says:

    From all the reviews I’ve read, I get the impression they’ve built a virtual universe but have not yet injected it with enough of the ingredients that make for a dynamic, immersive sandbox. But that may be a nit-picky criticism considering what they’ve accomplished so far. This could be a foundation for something that becomes quite breathtaking. Or they may struggle to give the universe meaning. Time will tell.

    • TheGameSquid says:

      I think it’s very important not going into this expecting a sandbox. Honestly I don’t think it was ever designed to be that way, and I don’t think I’ve ever seen Hello Games refer to it as such. From what I’ve seen (and sort of along the lines of what I was expecting), the game sees you more as an observer that can pick up some things as opposed to an agent prodding at a sandbox. If you want a sandbox, I’d stay well clear of the game, or at least wait for it to get updated/price drop.

  21. KDR_11k says:

    After playing Starbound this is kinda what I expected, visiting planet after planet with minor cosmetic differences, discarding them as soon as you’ve gotten enough valuable resources that you can move on to the next, never developing a sense of place on any of them. And at least in Starbound the fauna of different planets actually makes a difference to combat but it still felt like you’re seeing thousands of cosmetic variations that end up doing the same thing.

    The value of procedural maps is not the procedural stuff, that’s filler, what matters are the points of interest in it. Sure, maybe the dungeons are interesting but beyond the first handful of each type they feel the same anyway.

    For procedural content the value to the player is not based on the total possible combinations but roughly proportional to the building bricks that the developer put into that procedural generation system.

    • Freud says:

      I think procedurally generated content is a great foundation to design a game around. But when the game systems are weak/repetitious/shallow it’s doesn’t hold up.

      There were lots of warning bells with NMS. All reports made it look very grindy. The idea that every single of the 18 bfkaljazillion planets not only had life but also buildings but not any presence of intelligent life is absolutely absurd.

      I’ve been a gamer for a long time. I’ve seen hype before. I remember Spore. I remember Black & White. When the developers have a hard time telling us what you actually do in the game, it should never be a day 1 purchase.

  22. fivesixpickupsticks says:

    I just couldn’t relate to the PC Gamer article by Steven Messner, but this was up my alley. Thank you John Walker. Best axiom I’ve heard in a long time, “…boxing-gloved hands of a PS4 controller.”

  23. Ejia says:

    So if I just want a shiny new Noctis, does No Man’s Sky fit the bill?

  24. engion3 says:

    Aligns with the rest of the reviews I’ve seen, game seems exhausting, I’ll try it when it’s $15.

  25. Viral Frog says:

    After all I’ve read about NMS, I think I’ll wait 1-2 years to buy the game. That is, if the developers provide enough support to make something worthwhile of the game.

    From what people are saying “it isn’t terrible”, yet there’s always a “but” involved. This translates directly to “it’s terrible, but people can tolerate it” in my mind. And this impressions article is no different than any other I’ve read. Disappointing, but completely unsurprising given the hype behind the game.

  26. aircool says:

    The video I watched yesterday (or stream… I dunno), the guy had discovered an alien that looked like the galaxies happiest space hopper with a huge, fin like mohawk running from it’s forehead to it’s bottom.

    It just hopped around looking really, really happy. It was great.

    As with all games these days, there’s plenty of room for expansion and additional features. NMS appears to be no more than I expected and would probably fill the gap that E:D utterly failed at due to it’s stupid in system drive and utter blandness. Not to mention the many broken ways of making money that just couldn’t compete with a good cargo run loop.

    I like seeing something different at every location. I like nosing around and seeing where things lead. I’ve no doubt I’ll find a planet where I can go racing through some canyons, or even underground…

  27. aircool says:

    Not sure if I’ve got the url correct as it’s a twitter thing, but this is… well… best to watch it :)

    link to

    • Captain Narol says:

      lol, what a monster ! I’m too terrified to play the game anymore after seeing that !!

  28. despondent says:

    There’s a pretty logical way to explain how the Sentinels are goddamn everywhere (but it doesn’t make the fact that the aliens are too make any more sense). It’s likely that they’re a self-replicating species (they use the planet’s resources to build more of themselves) and then the Sentinel ships that were built carry more sentinels to the next planet, leading to an exponential increase.

    The game looks like a ‘rainy day’ game, to be honest. Nothing over a 7/10 in raw gameplay, but nice when you’re tired or bored.

    • jonahcutter says:

      It’s an excellent point you raise. It’s very likely the single easiest way for a technological civilization to explore a galaxy is through self-replicating robots similar to these “sentinels”. No Fermi Paradox for No Man’s Sky apparently.

      So yes. Probability-wise, if non-earth civilizations achieve spacefaring status, such robots are higher on the list of things we’ll likely encounter than the robots’ inventors themselves. Hell, due to the increasing rate of expansion of our universe, if the robots’ inventors were from another galaxy grouping, it’s possible we may never be able encounter the inventors themselves (if they move beyond our reach by the time we are capable of reaching them), just their spacefaring robot spawn (which have earlier closed the necessary distance to be within range).

  29. matrixlawn says:

    I guess everyone else are playing the game and enjoying it but these complainers..

    • matrixlawn says:

      I’m waiting anxious for the next 24h hours to get the game for pc. Did you see.. anxious. I do not rely on some bored critics who get paid by mocking games they don’t like and have been playing it for 2 hours.

      – “I am having a tremendously good time playing No Man’s Sky [official site], but I’m really getting annoyed by No Man’s Sky.”
      – “I had to tear myself away to write this, …”
      – “All that is what makes No Man’s Sky amazing. And all that is also what makes No Man’s Sky so vacuous and annoying.”


      • April March says:

        It’s always funny to see someone brag that they don’t trust critics for so-and-so reasons, since they never realize that they’re implying “instead, I’ll trust the devs and marketers who have a vested interest in making me buy the game at full price as soon as possible regardless of its quality”.

        Well, I hope you’re right and you enjoy the game as it comes out, regardless.

    • matrixlawn says:

      And btw.. i’d pay 60€ for just for the quanzillion planets which all can be altered fully with different seed. I’m pretty sure this game will evolve pretty much in pretty short time.

    • PancakeWizard says:

      It’s weird, as if this was an Early Access title it would probably be the most praised game on the planet. But as it’s v1(.03), even though they are going to keep adding content, it’s getting the short stick.

  30. Jonnerz says:

    Only 20 hours till it’s out on PC , I am so excited! I think I’ve read every article there is on this game…

  31. draglikepull says:

    I suspect a lot of the difference in opinion on this is going to come down to how much of a “game” people want out of No Man’s Sky. If you’re looking for a series of well paced mechanical challenges, you’re not going to find that. On the other hand if, like me, you get a lot of joy out of just exploring, there’s a ton to like here.

    One of my favourite moments in any game is in Mass Effect 1 where you (spoiler alert) land on the moon. The experience of walking across the surface of the moon and seeing Earth coming up over the horizon is just so *cool* and it’s stuck with me for years after I first played the game. I don’t care about the mission you’re sent there to do, I just love that moment.

    Well, No Man’s Sky is that, except instead of one moment in the middle of the game it’s feeding you those moments pretty frequently for hours at a time. The first time I accidentally wandered into a vast cave network with its own ecosystem was amazing. The first time I flew out of a planet’s atmosphere and just started circling in space above it was amazing. The first time I landed on a planet’s moon and watched the sun rise behind that planet was amazing. And there are all kinds of other things that I don’t want to spoil because they’ll be way more fun if you don’t know they’re coming. Those things aren’t great “gameplay”, but they are great *experiences*.

    There are things about it that are annoying, yeah, like the small inventory and the occasionally unresponsive controls. But it’s also given me unique and wondrous experiences that I have never had in another game, and probably never will.

    • MD says:

      My worry is that the joy of exploration seems to be hampered by the ‘gamey’ elements. It looks like they created this (flawed, but) beautiful universe, but didn’t think that was enough, and so decided to overlay it with some really mundane, boring-but-addictive mechanics. I can see why they were worried, especially given the (apparently inevitable) weaknesses of procedural generation and the graphical compromises they had to make. And I would love a game with some depth and intelligence — imagine NMS as an immersive sim — or even just a compelling narrative. But I would much prefer a walking (and flying…) simulator to a grindy survival-RPG, or whatever this is. Even the sight of all those interesting landscapes and creatures overlaid with floating icons and waypoints makes me shudder a bit.

      • Sonntam says:

        I do agree that there should be an option to hide more of UI.

        But frankly I think that the survival elements are all extremely important and needed. When you know that you need more fuel for your ship, you are forced to explore. When you need copper, you mine an asteroid field and maybe have to fight off pirates. When you need to find a trade station to sell goods, you purposefully fly over the planet looking for it.

        You can’t hoard materials, because you don’t have enough inventory space. You are continually forced only to carry what is essential and what you plan to craft in the next half an hour. This means the game punishes you for farming a lot of materials and also rewards you for taking only as much as you need. You have to travel light and live in the moment. And that means you have to keep moving.

        It’s actually pretty brilliant, once you wrap your mind around it.

  32. castledragon90 says:

    I have not played NMS yet so I may be a bit underinformed, however I have watched many gameplay videos and read about it a lot. I think there’s a bit that most people aren’t touching up on right now… Mods.

    Now the base game I imagine will be fairly entertaining, maybe enough to match the $60 price tag, maybe not… However, with such a heavily precedurally generated game there are bound to be people wanting to throw their own stuff in, and they will make mods. Sean said they want to continue adding content after release, and they also are heavily considering making modding tools because they don’t want to release a game without modding tools people will tear into the code and change things they don’t want changed.

    Now I ain’t exactly talking Bethesda level modding here, but I think after a fair amount of time when the price tag goes down to something like $40, and there is a heavy release of mods which I do think there will be, this game will be more than worth it.

    Now as for it being worth the $60 price tag, it’s a bit hefty for a pc game from a non-tried developer like Valve, Bethesda, or Bioware(ME3 aside), so I don’t think we can decide that for ourselves until we’ve played it. I do hope it is, the hype has been insane and I highly doubt it will live up to all the hype, but it’s a different game that may be a refreshing change, I don’t think we should be crucifying it until the full release.

    • April March says:

      From the review it seems that a mod that greatly increases inventory size (without making it unlimited) would fix about half the things wrong with the game.

  33. ascharbarth says:

    I actually read several of the reviews for no man’s sky, and they all came off like a snotty forum troll whining about things they didn’t like while refusing to acknowledge that there must be some redeeming qualities in there somewhere, if they are so driven to keep playing it.(Which they DID admit.)

    Ultimately, any gaming experience boils down to what you choose to do with what’s presented rather than the content of the game itself. Sandbox games almost always get harsh reviews because most reviewers are used to having the experience handed to them in a prepackaged format with little of their own thought required to make the content meaningful to them in some way. The story in open games is ultimately up to the player, not the developer, who simply provided a medium for further creation.

  34. Umberto Bongo says:

    Regardless of the quality of the game, can we all just take a moment to appreciate how bloody great the soundtrack is though?

  35. Ericusson says:

    If it’s not a yes … it’s a no.
    It’s all well and good to try really hard not to say anything bad about a game because you guys can’t anymore. But however circumvolved the article, it’s clearly a no.
    Besides after the review of Starbound recommending this shallow garbage, the lack of confidence in these first impressions do not inspire confidence.

  36. Jstn says:

    Is it fair to call this Out There 3D? The resource management, gaining word-by-word translations to speak to alien races, travel between world seeking a vague goal all sound like Out There.

    • totem42 says:

      I’ve been surprised I haven’t seen more comparisons to Out There. It sounds extremely similar, just prettier and more blown out for the non-mobile experience.

  37. MadOverlord says:

    I largely agree with the review and comments. The frustrating thing about NMS is the way the UI gets in the way of just chilling and enjoying the universe. It’s one obvious and easily-corrected bad UI decision after another.

    For example:

    * The cursor is often a single pixel and invisible. There’s often also UI icons near the center of the screen that distract you and give you a false impression of where the aimpoint is.

    * When you turn in space and stop, you keep turning a bit. This means it’s damn near impossible to put the aimpoint where you want it, which makes space combat much more difficult. And BTW, there’s no learning curve on space combat, you’re almost always up against multiple enemies who will quickly slaughter you. The “sensitivity” controls are simplistic and don’t do much.

    * When you want to find something specific, you just have to wander around until you stumble upon it. You can scan when you’re on the ground, but that just tells you the general class of a target. If you’re looking for Copper and don’t know it’s the big floaty chunks, you will wander for hours. I know I did.

    * Often the major differentiation between two types of minerals is color. I can imagine that color-blind players are not amused one whit.

    * The only way to tell for sure what an asteroid or monolith is made of is to mine it. I’ve got a warp-capable starship that can’t tell the difference between Iron and Copper.

    * This wouldn’t be so bad if the Galactic Market was well-stocked. But it isn’t; the chances it will have what you need in the quantities you need it, esp. for raw materials, is just about zero.

    * Only raw materials stack, which is not pleasant in a game with limited inventory. I’ve ended up spending almost all my money on Exosuit upgrades.

    * On the subject of the market interface, your options are two; sell all units of a commodity, or scroll the number down to sell partial — both of which are things a player will rarely want to do. What they want to do, in a game where inventory slots matter, is sell one full stack at a time or the partial stack.

    * While we’re bitching about stacks, when you mine, you get shown what you are mining and how much you’ve mined since you started mining (and you can only mine 10-15 seconds at a time). What you really want to know is how full is your current partial stack of that commodity!

  38. badmothergamer says:

    This is one time I’ve been happy the PC version came after the consoles, as I was knee deep in the hype on Tuesday and would’ve purchased the game. Instead, I bounced around a few streams and saw enough to make me hold off.

    The biggest tell to me was when I logged onto Twitch Tuesday evening, 8 of 12 live streamers I follow were playing NMS. When I logged on Wednesday evening, 7 of the 8 were live again but not a single one was still playing NMS. And while I wanted to chalk it up to NMS not being the most exciting game to stream, every one of them had higher than average viewer counts while playing NMS.

    I’m hoping they fix the problems and add more depth. This is a game I really want to see succeed.

  39. Uberwolfe says:

    The inevitable average score this game will receive makes me sad.

    As gamers we’re constantly complaining about the lack of innovation in games, the lack of developers out there willing to push the envelope and risk something original and unique.

    What we have here, may not be completely unique – but there is innovation… there is something we don’t get in any other game.

    Seeing that this game has the backing of a big publisher (Sony), the mixed reception will undoubtedly influence the publisher taking risks like this again…

    Hence more rinse-and-repeat first-person shooters, hence more zombie-themed games and hence more of the same “safe” stuff that we’ve played a billion times before.

    Sad times.

    • Zenicetus says:

      Innovation alone isn’t enough. Without compelling gameplay it’s just a tech demo where the novelty wears off quickly. I’d rather praise games that manage to combine innovation with great gameplay, like Portal.

      Anyway, it’s too early for me to judge this game without reading a lot more player feedback past the first few hours. The pre-orders probably sold enough to make it a success as far as Sony is concerned.

      • Chaoslord AJ says:

        Reality is it’s just not that good as it was hyped to be and costs 60 bucks.
        Content scope ex.:on one planet I got two identical plants (different latin ID) which both look like pineapples. I “discovered” those and maybe every other player too under a different name several times in their playthrough – what’s the purpose?
        Different buildings? Less than a dozen.

    • Ericusson says:

      The only important part of innovation that matters in the end is how well it is integrated in the game experience, or gameplay as said Zenicetus.

      Besides, where is the innovation. Procedural generation has been THE thing for many many years now. Starbound does that albeit badly and in 2d but is an empty shallow shell.

      NMS does the same thing apparently, being a wonderful tech demo of variations (or rather, half cocked variations as no developers has the balls to push the slider all the way to bonkers in the generation).
      And while doing the same thing it appears to offer the same gameplay defects as any other disappointing game out there, frustrations that are put in place to force artificial limits to the gameplay experience in a way that only means the developers don’t have confidence in how long people would play the game (limited inventory I am looking at you).

      It’s all old deprecated recipes repeated ad nauseam. Sometimes they are mixed with talent in a game that is actively engaging people.
      Here there is no talent in the gameplay experience. It is full of all the classic UI frustrations.

      And NMS once more offers a bland game to actually play, sacrificing fun for imaginary lengthened playtime through artificial barriers.

      This will be once more a bland experience abandoned after much hype because of the lack of ambition of its developers in terms of FUN, sacrificed on the marketing hotel and the probable idea that if someone has an idea for a game that makes him competent for all its gameplay elements. It does not, please hire people who know what is an actual game.

      I am tired of these games asking for a passive experience. It’s a lie, they just actually forgot to make a game out of their demo beside a thin film of a few gameplay layers barely connected to each other.

      Let’s see in 6 months if the mod thing is actually a real thing and makes this game playable.

  40. geldonyetich says:

    I’ll take “imperfect but fun” over “technically flawless but boring” any day.

    • OmNomNom says:

      Shame you got imperfect but boring then.

      • geldonyetich says:

        Played it all day today. It’s a relaxing game, but I never felt bored. Somehow, this game is more entertaining than it has any right to be. I can understand Walker’s chagrin.

  41. Foxxoon says:

    If you didn’t buy this game for the “soul” reason of what they have accomplished in making a video game then don’t complain. If you bought the game thinking it was going to be astronomically better then most games out there then you can only blame yourself. Option 1… mods… option 2. fuck off. option 1 other games to be created off of their data… much wow. option 2… fuck off. option 1 supporting hard work… option 2… fuck off. Overall if you don’t like it make yourself a crysandwitch and fuckoff…

    • Harlander says:

      Is a crysandwich like a crysknife? If so, man, that’s not gonna do your gums any favours.

  42. Rumpelstiltskin says:

    Is it even allowed to write about console experiences on RPS? I thought it had a don’t ask, don’t tell policy about them, i.e. you can engage in console activities privately if you must, but you definitely shouldn’t parade it. Saying that it’s just a prelude to a PC version is a slippery slope of an excuse. Next time a PC version will be a month later and you might as well write a console-based WIT. And then someone on the team will think “hey, we can probably increase our exposure many-fold if we just drop that PC-only geas”… Trust me, you don’t want to go that route.

  43. MadOverlord says:

    Oh, one cute thing to do: Name your starsystems using your twitter handle, starting with the @. PS4 autocomplete makes it easy, and if someone crosses your path, they’ll know how to contact you.

  44. Marclev says:

    I’m looking forward to this, for no other reason than anything with seemless planetary transitions always reminds me of Starglider II.

    God, someone needs to remake that game with modern technology…

  45. vargata says:

    yep, nothing comes as surprise, I was telling the exact same thing just by reading the plans for the game years ago. It was planned to be a turd, it became a turd and it will always be a turd. in the old times spore was an interesting concept – for infants to have 2 hours fun – but ffs it is 2016. gamedevelopment is a new method of easy money today. best ever scam is SC but NMS is coming right behind it…

    • geldonyetich says:

      I feel sorry for you. You want to like games, but if you find anything wrong with it, it is a turd, and no amount of polish will change that. This philosophy will doom you to never enjoy anything.

  46. Captain Narol says:

    An interesting review that describe NMS as “an experience in nihilism” :

    link to

    • Valgua says:

      It is an interesting review. However, I strongly disagree with one point. The reviewer says that “the world does not belong to you at all”. It certainly feels that we own the galaxy. I arrive at a system with a space stations and several space crafts landing and departing, so why have I naming rights? Am I Cristopher Columbus?

  47. AutonomyLost says:

    I took a chance, even after reading all the criticm(s) the game has received since its launch, and bought this tonight. Two-and-a-half hours flew by, and I’m compelled to boot it up again tomorrow when I’m able. If I hadn’t had such an intolerably tiring day working, I’d still be playing it.

    It happens to run well on my system, and so I’ve mostly been able to experience it as it is *supposed* to perform. There are definitely some annoyances, and it does NOT run perfectly, however I did not experience a single crash and the overall frame-rate has been mostly unwavering. It’s not graphically awe-inspiring on a granular level like TW3 or RotTR are, and I certainly had no illusions of it being as such before buying it, but its overall aesthetic and range of colors is beautiful and help diminish the fact there are many sad-looking textures and a bit of aliased muddiness apparent overall.

    All in all, I am quite smitten with feeling of immersion it has given me so far, despite the lack of bells and whistles. It has an entirely different tone to it than what I generally find myself playing; I look forward to many more hours. I hope others are having some fun with it too.

  48. Valgua says:

    After two hours of playing NMS I cannot say that I am too enthusiastic. The size of the universe is certainly huge (as the Don would say), but it’s lifeless. Yes, I know that there are lots of gigantic planets with many species and bla bla bla, but there are no real characters. Why am I roaming around with my little space craft? Am I human? Why am I “discovering” and “naming” planets in systems with space stations? Isn’t it quite obvious that I am not the first intelligent being to reach this corner of the galaxy? Why am I learning the dominating language by looking for relics? These design choices (and a few more) ruins, in my opinion, the suspension of disbelief. I never feel as part of the galaxy I am exploring, but rather as a kid looking at a fake fish tank.

  49. Pogs says:

    Clunky. Over-hyped. Shallow. Expensive. Down-thumb.

  50. shrieki says:

    after some more hours i can only say the game itself is addictive as hell and the whole packet is simply an amazing work of art. i´m very close to say that i enjoy this more than any other game i played before.