In space, no-one can hear you scream (for a refund!)
I’ve had No Man’s Sky for a little over three weeks now. I was so excited to finally get hold of this (it was my most anticipated title this year) and I have to say, I’m really enjoying it!
So what’s that clever tagline about a refund?
It seems the internet is ablaze with angry No Man’s Sky players. Hello Games had mentioned features such as being able to encounter other players, being able to land on Asteroids, and being able to destroy space stations. It would appear that key features like these, as well as numerous other things were advertised as being in the game and were strangely absent when the game made it to store shelves. I’ve discovered a reddit thread which documents all of these “broken promises” and I have to say, that’s quite a list they have going on there! Numerous refund requests have been sent to retailers like Steam and Amazon.
But that’s other people.
For me, personally, No Man’s Sky has been a breath of fresh air. Being able to explore planets at my own pace, mining materials, managing resources and learning alien languages – all without player avatars and gamertags running round in every direction! The lack of multiplayer is some people’s greatest bugbear but at least for now, I’m revelling in the peace and quiet!
It took quite a while to get to grips with No Man’s Sky. There’s very little in the way of tutorials and since you need to repair your ship before you can leave the first planet, you have to learn the ropes. The various menu systems felt a lot like the ones in Destiny, which helped me no end. After I’d got used to the menus and the controls I set out to mine some materials. The first planet is rich with everything you could want, but it’s easy to wander off and lose your ship. Again, I had to learn what each icon meant on the compass as no key was provided.
Slowly, but surely, I got to grips. The ship was repaired, I met a few friendly aliens, fed some animals and filled my inventories to the brim with raw materials. On the second planet I annoyed the sentinels, and had my first gunfight with them. No Man’s Sky was really impressing me now, with gorgeous visuals, secrets to uncover and the promise of a long haul journey to the centre of the universe! After learning how to craft antimatter, and gathering the ingredients, I fuelled my brand new warp drive and could now travel to different Galaxies!
What has followed since has been more of the same. Explore, mine, trade. I’m really enjoying the challenge of learning the language of the Gek, an alien race who seem to be everywhere. They seem friendly enough but from what little I’ve seen, they have a dark origin story! I’ve been attacked by hostile ships twice, and survived. Upgrading your ship quickly becomes a priority after you scrape through your first few encounters.
The travel between planets acts as a kind of loading screen. You have to watch and wait as your ship speeds through the thousands of miles in between each destination, a distance meter steadily counting down. Again some people have hit out saying this takes too long, but just think: Your PC or your PS4 is loading a Planet. A whole planet! Filled with hills, valleys, settlements and creatures! Some people have no patience.
I was quite unprepared for the backlash I’ve mentioned above. I had been excited for the game before release, but I wasn’t watching every single interview with bated breath, I wasn’t going through every quote with a fine tooth comb. Maybe there are some features missing? Maybe I benefited from a certain amount of ignorance? It doesn’t really matter to me. I’m having fun with the game at the moment, and I fully expect some of the omissions to be patched in via future updates. My purchase of No Man’s Sky is still money well spent in my eyes, although it won’t be an experience everyone will enjoy.
Anyone else have any views on this?