I spent about an hour and a half with Hellos Games’ No Man’s Sky last night, and the experience has been kicking around my brain since I put the controller down. In some ways it’s the game I hoped it would be, and in others it’s something entirely different. But it’s absolutely fascinating, and I can already tell I will be losing days of my life to this game over the next several months, at least.
No Man’s Sky throws you right into the deep end to begin with–you awaken after having crash landed on a random planet, and you must find resources to repair your ship and keep yourself alive. And that’s the first thing that kind of surprised me about the game–there’s a really big survival element to it. The resource management (which you have to do for your suit and your ship) was interesting, and I had to make a few difficult decisions fairly early on as far as what to keep and what to discard.
In addition to managing your resources, there are robotic enemies that you encounter early on, and it’s the one part of the game I didn’t enjoy at all. These Sentinel bots roam around the planet, and if you draw their attention, they attack. Fight back, and your wanted level goes up (like GTA and Saints Row), and then things get ugly. So, I found myself regularly on the run from them, and I died to them about five minutes into the game. I finally figured out that mining a lot of resources in a particular area can draw them to you, so I was more careful, but for me it added a layer of tension that I was not looking for.
The interface is very reminiscent to the one in Destiny, which actually helped me acclimate to it without much of a problem. I did have to increase the look sensitivity right away, as I felt very sluggish on the default setting. There isn’t a lot of hand-holding being done by the game either, and you can pretty much completely go it alone if you decline an early offer for guidance. That’s what I did, and while I got confused at times, I’m glad I just sort of went with it.
Because exploring in No Man’s Sky is amazing.
The scope of this game is mind-boggling. The planet that I’m on has enough resources, outposts, crashed ships and other secrets that I could probably spend a dozen hours in just this one place. It’s huge. To think that there are an almost infinite number of them out there that I could do the same with is just crazy. I actually jumped into an underground cavern at one point to avoid a Sentinel, and wandered around for a solid 25 minutes before I found the surface again. I honestly thought at one point I was trapped. And when I did come out, I stumbled upon an outpost and met a trader where I was able to upgrade my Multi-Tool and trade a bunch of the resources I collected.
I also found a distress signal for a crashed ship that I was able to track down and then claim as my own. And now that I have a ship and it’s repaired, I can explore the rest of this planet before I head out into open space.