Game Review: ‘No Man’s Sky’ Delivers A Masterpiece
There has rarely been a time in my life that I have anticipated a game as much as No Man’s Sky. The only thing that tops the need for this game to come out was probably Super Mario 64. There was not a store on the planet with a Nintendo 64 set up that wasn’t being used with a line waiting to play it. We’re talking department stores you had no idea actually sold video games has a line of kids. How my Mom managed to get two copies of the game and two Nintendo 64’s is a marvel.
Is No Man’s Sky on that level? I haven’t really given a crap about many games until this was announced in 2013, but the preview puts the hype train on the tracks. Let’s throw all the early reviews out because the game wasn’t finished when retailers started selling it to people. A patch came out on day one that nullified everything. I almost feel bad for the guy who spent $2,000 on the game only to have all his progress erased. I never played that version, but I got the official version, and here is what I think after a full day of gaming.
The game has a look that’s not like anything else. Sometimes I had to stop in the middle of what I was doing just so I could really appreciate it. When you’re on a tropical planet, night-time has taken over, and then you see everything on that planet lit up with firefly type things. It had me talking out-loud to myself many times. It was usually just me saying “Wow” a lot, but when you play it, you’re playing a beautiful painting. Each new planet is beautiful.
Not only did everything look good, but it sounded good. The electronic music that’s used as the soundtrack is good enough to want to own and listen to while you drive fast on the highway. When you’re roaming a planet, the game knows to play subtle ambient music. When you’re battling with people in space, the music ramps up with incredible beats to get you pumped. The crew of Hello Games is around 15 people, so whomever was hired for the music and sound editing knows how to entice the ears.
The only real problem I had with the game was how vague it is on how to build or mix stuff. I can’t even count the amount of times I had to take out my phone and Google how to do something. You don’t just start the game and you can magically travel from star to star. Like real-life traveling, you need money and fuel.
Figuring out how to fuel the ship for warp really had me agitated. If you ask me how to do it now, I will still probably not be able to answer you. I can do it now, but you have to pay attention. Put the cursor over everything in the menu and read it all. It will give you the ingredients on how to craft something. You’ll also need to craft something before you can craft something else. Once I figured it all out, the game became even better. Never forget to remember and learn as you go. You will be having fun on a planet, get too far from your ship. and then alarms go off telling you that you’re about to die.
Story And Gameplay
The story to the game is pretty simple: try to get to the center of the galaxy. Do you have to do that? Nope. That’s why this game is so cool. You can do anything you want. Do you have to go to the center? Nah, you can be a pirate, make some alien friends, explore alien planets, or just fly around looking at stuff. It’s easy to space out when you play NMS because there is one surprise after another. They weren’t joking when they said that each planet is unique. Each planet is its own game for you to play. If you get bored, just take off and go somewhere else. It’s strange how that concept never got old. I played the game on the release date for hours, and I have a feeling people may die playing this game because you don’t want to turn it off. I stopped because the battery on my controller died and I didn’t want to play with it hooked up and charging.
What’s important to know when playing the game is that you want to constantly use caution on every planet you land on. It’s not just the environment that will kill you, but the Sentinels are a constant threat. They’re like the police in Grand Theft Auto. I guess they’re remnants of an ancient, advanced civilization that created them to be the authority. If you mine way too much resources on a planet, they will come after you. If you start going all sociopath and shoot a bunch of native species, they will come after you. They will show up just to scan you, then they will just fly a way. They’re around so much that it does get a bit nerve-wracking when you really need to mine something, but you’re afraid the damn things will start shooting at you.
I’ve only used just the one ship (my Amazon pre-order was supposed to come with a warp-ready ship… it didn’t come with anything), so there is probably more options when it comes to speed and inventory. My ship had multiple drives for the various travelling: basic acceleration, basic turbo, using the pulse engine, and warp. I won’t kid around when I say that the pulse engine can really pick up the pace. I also won’t kid around when I tell you that the pulse engine forced me to crash into a few space stations. In that moment, you’re glad no other players are around to see how you just failed big time. The chances of that happening are probably impossible, but apparently two players found each other on the first day of release.
Overall, the game is damn near perfect once you figure everything out. No Man’s Sky was the sole reason I bought a Playstation, but was it worth it? Every penny of this game is worth it. People think that $60 is a lot for a game, but after you really get into the game, you start to wonder why it didn’t cost more. The crew and Hello Games didn’t just make a game, they created a universe that you can interact with. It’s no wonder this game is selling extremely well.
Rating: 5/5 Stars
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Jeff Sorensen is an author, writer and occasional comedian living in Detroit, Michigan. You can look for more of his work on The Huffington Post, UPROXX, BGR and by just looking up his name.