Welcome to Part III of my ongoing review of No Man’s Sky (you can check out Part I and Part II here). This one will be the final installment of this review. As I said in previous post, this is a massive game with a lot to explore other than just the main part of the game (which isn’t that much).
I’ve put a ton of hours in this game and my final verdict in a mixed one. Is this game as compelling to me as some of my favorite games over the last year, say like Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, Fallout 4, or Batman: The Arkham Knight? No it is not. Is it something I can’t wait to get home and play like Overwatch or Rocket League? No it is not. Is it as fun and engaging as simpler games like Shovel Knight, Mario Maker, or Smash Brother? Again, no it is not.
So what is it? Well, it’s an experience. I shutter to call it a game, because games have a point to them. A game there is a goal, save the princess, save the kingdom, beat the ever loving shit out of a friend in a fighter, score a touchdown and win the Super Bowl. Those are all games, No Man’s Sky is like a space version of Microsoft Flight Simulator.
Sure the first few animals, planets, aliens, the Atlas, and so on that you discover are pretty cool The first couple hours of the game feel kind of unique, however, it then becomes a grinding simulator. All you’re doing at this point is just grinding out material to keep your ship going and for trading, but you don’t have nearly enough slots to carry things and soon you are all filled up but barely have enough material to keep yourself alive, keep your ship going, and for trading.
I don’t doubt Sean Murray’s excitement and ambition for his creation but its a case of man’s reach exceeding his grasp. After playing this game it became apparent that Murray could not accomplish everything he wanted to and promised as this game was being made. I applaud him for his attempt though. In an era of games where we get carbon copy shooters yearly, and the only innovations we ever get are better graphics (except when it comes to Nintendo who at least try something new) No Man’s Sky is refreshing in what it tries to accomplish. Sadly it didn’t accomplish much.
The flying is very basic and the controls for flying are weird and you can’t change them. Also a problem I have with flying is that a ship that takes off via hovering (like a Harrier or helicopter) can not hover off the ground in order to survey the area or battle the tougher drones you might encounter. They tried too much to do interstellar flying that they didn’t put much thought into planetary flying and there is no flying close to the ground like say in Star War: Battlefront.
Speaking of drones and sentinels, the battling in the game is very sub par. Aiming is terrible and even with an upgraded blaster you don’t do much damage to them and you’re often surrounded by several. Also space combat when you’re attacked by pirates is clunky and tough to do, it’s less dog fighting and more doing flips until your crosshairs go over the other ship.
On the exploring aspect of the game if feels like a Minecraft beta. You mine material with your mining gun instead of a pick ax, but you don’t have nearly enough slots to hold it. It’s wash rinse repeat. And while you’re off looking for raw material you have the opportunity to discover new creatures which is cool at first but it quickly wears thin. It’s not like say Fallout when you wander the wasteland and there are so many new encounters to be hold, but in a game about exploration and discover these worlds seem very barren of fauna. Also in Fallout the discoveries come naturally. You’re on a mission and while on that mission you come across different people, creatures, and encounters. For an “open universe” game like this it seems very barren when compared to open world games like Fallout, GTA, and Metal Gear Solid V.
Overall this game was too ambitious for its own good. I applaud Hello Games in their effort to make something unique, but in the end it falls short of all the promises made and the hopes put into this by gamers. I think it’s a decent game to experience, but not at $60. I’d suggest someone wait for the price to come down before diving in, that is unless you enjoy a just walking around mining things, if that’s the case this game is for you.
In the end this isn’t a game that I can’t wait to get home and play, it’s more like a game if I have a few minutes to kill I’ll pop in my PS4 and do a few things before heading out to dinner or something. At first I got lost in it and enjoyed it, but after a few hours of gameplay it all just seems the same. The art style and graphics are nice but in the end it can’t save this game from the mediocre experience that it is, I give it a 5.5 out of 10.