No Mans Sky- The True Next-Generation of Gaming?
The Sky is Not the Limit with No Man's Sky
What is No Man's Sky?
Announced in 2013, No Man's Sky is the latest game from relatively unknown game Developer Hello Games (whose last project was the well-received Joe Danger series). The main goal of the game is to reach the center of the universe, with no direction or hand-holding in sight. In this review I will discuss the core mechanics of the game and my opinion of the game.
Big things from small beginnings.
No Man's Sky drops you into an infinite universe, stranded on a random planet with your basic Multi-Tool (the game's idea of a weapon and mining tool) and your crashed ship. After a short tutorial on how the game's inventory system works, you have to scavenge and craft supplies to lift your ship off the surface of the planet and take your first voyage into space. You can then either go back to the planet to seek help from the aliens dotted around that planet or you can make your way to the space station in that system. There is a space station in each "system" (AKA a group of planets) which acts as a trading hub and a place to buy new ships from passing aliens.
It's Not So Lonely Out There...
There are three species of alien/humanoids: Korvax, Vy'keen and Gek. The Korvax are the scientific race, specializing in science and technology. The Vy'keen are a warrior race, but are known to be the most welcoming and formal. The Gek are primarily a trader race, but they also think of themselves as the higher beings in the universe. How you interact with these races are up to you, and what you get from them depend on No Man's Sky standing system. With this system you gain reputation through helping each race, like giving them certain materials (like plutonium or carbon). When you have a higher standing, you can receive better rewards like new words for each language or blueprints for ship upgrades.
Becoming Multi-lingual with NMS's Language System.
Another interesting feature of No Man's Sky is the language system. When you meet your first alien, regardless of the species, what they say will be in a completely different language. To gain a better understanding of what they are saying, you need to learn words in each language and there is a handful of ways to learn words. The easiest is by using the language stones dotted around each planet (these grant a random word). You can also find alien monoliths, each styled based on which species it was created by, which will grant you a word (there are also usually language stones around the monoliths as well). The other alternative is Atlas checkpoints. In Each Atlas checkpoint (Explained in the next segment) you can find small bumps on the floor that when approached disappear, revealing a new word. There is no set amount of the words you can learn in an Atlas checkpoint.
Finding the Meaning of Existence with Atlas
At the beginning of the game, next to your ship, there is a terminal. When you activate it you get given two choices: Plot your own course or follow 'Atlas'. It doesn't explain what 'Atlas' is or how you follow it, but things start to unravel the more you play. After you meet with two beings whose goal is to help you on your journey (A Korvax named Nada and a Gek called Polo) they present to you a choice of three options: Resources to aid exploration, a shortcut to the center of the universe (a black hole) or help to continue your path to Atlas.If you continue your path to Atlas you will come across an Atlas terminal. Inside you will find new words for the different languages and a huge spherical object that teaches you in-depth knowledge about the lore of the vast universe. you get presented with an atlas stone, then you get told to continue the path. I'm not revealing what happens when you get to the end, but it is very interesting.
Scavenging and Crafting,
One of the most important parts of the NMS is the crafting and scavenging system. To craft any blueprints you need to upgrade your exosuit, ship or multi-tool you need supplies. The resources can vary depending on what you are making and every resource isn't on every planet, making crafting an extra challenge. You also need to scavenge fuel for your launch thrusters, multi tool, life support, boost on your ship and things like your ship's hyperdrive. Even though this system is very in-depth and gives an extra challenge; the constant struggle for resources can become more of a chore than fun gameplay (especially around the 30 hour mark). This is one of the main reasons for people giving this game a pass. You can also trade resources for credits which can go towards better technologies and and better ships.
Piracy in Space.
If you become bored with honest work as a miner on far away planets and are looking for a quicker way to get money, you can upgrade your weapons systems and become a space pirate, attack other ships and you get the contents of their cargo hold, which can be full of fuel, rare resources and expensive items like Vy'keen daggers or Gek Charms. Be careful though, attract too much attention and you will be attacked by the sentinels (the space police).
Sentinels are the robotic drones that inhabit most planets. Not much is revealed about them apart from the fact that they seem to be surveying each planet and they aren't a fun of people that get in the way. or space pirates.
My opinion and verdict.
No Man's Sky is a limitless survival game that is always drawing me in for more. There are so many questions in my mind that make me want to carry on to find the answer. What is Atlas? What is in the center of the universe? What are the Sentinels? Why are Nada and Polo helping me? The great thing is that you know there are answers somewhere in the vast emptiness of space. While there were major bugs at launch, I am overlooking them as within a couple of days they were all sorted out. My main complaint was the grind of the crafting, but apart from that I only have small problems like the how barren some planets are and other nit-picky things like that. I think everyone should try No Man's Sky and create their own space exploration saga. If I had to score No Man's Sky I would give it a 9/10.
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