Hello Game’s No Man’s Sky has been featured prominently in gaming news and user reviews, but how does it fare a year down the line from the First Reviews?
No Man’s Sky: A Year in Review
A Tale of Unprecedented Hype
Hello Games released No Man’s Sky last year on August 9th, 2016. Shortly after launch, players realized that the game fell drastically short of their expectations. Many stories of refunds, returns and even a lawsuit for false advertising circulated the internet. One hundred days passed in total silence from the developer. The gaming community saw No Man’s Sky as a tremendous failure.
After almost three months of silence from Hello Games, the “Foundation” update was released. This update added base construction, new game modes and the foundations of things to come. The next update, called “Pathfinder” came three months later led many to believe a new update would come in another three months or so.
In June, the moderators of several No Man’s Sky sub-Reddits received packages containing some swag and cassette tapes. This marked the beginning of an Alternative Reality Game called “Waking Titan” which had the community working together to solve various puzzles and take part in live drops. This ARG continued until August 7th and teased the next update. August 11th saw the update released in all its glory, and spawned a massive resurgence of new and old players to revisit No Man’s Sky.
After having some time to play around with this update, I feel that I can finally give No Man’s Sky a proper review. I bought No Man’s Sky a few days after launch, before I saw the massive amount of backlash take place. Trying to keep an open mind was incredibly difficult in the Hundred Days of Silence. Thankfully, Hello Games has redeemed themselves by continuing to support No Man’s Sky and has changed many people’s opinions. Even the recent Steam reviews have become “Mostly Positive” after being firmly “Mostly Negative” since launch!
Most exciting is that portals and the foundations of multiplayer have been added. The portals function much like the ones on the TV show “Stargate”, using a set of sixteen glyphs to dial in coordinates of a planet. This acts as a form of fast travel, but first you must learn all sixteen glyphs from Traveler Graves. These graves are found while exploring planets and moons and are quite rare. A recent bug patch added in a conversation option with various Traveler NPC’s that lets you locate these graves more easily.
Multiplayer is similar to Dark Souls ghosts. You see a floating spark, or “glitch” that shows the actions of another player. Proximity voice chat allows communication. However, currently you cannot see the actions of another player or their effect on the world.
Atlas Rises also adds in a story line, which was mostly absent from the base game. This story has you interact with fellow Travelers like yourself and discover the fate of Artemis, one of the characters hinted at in the ARG. The story is well written and interesting, tying events from the Waking Titan ARG into the lore of No Man’s Sky.
More Places to See
Some amazing soundtracks from 65daysofstatic have been added and help add ambiance. They also give the new biomes a unique feeling. Strange bubbles, sublimating planets, weird hexagon-shaped plants and more await the eager Traveler. I’ve often found myself just wandering around a planet, looking at the scenery and trying to find the perfect spot for a screenshot using the Photo Mode.
There are also a ton of quality of life changes, including varied inventory tabs for technology, cargo and general purpose items. Crashed freighters await a brave explorer to plunder their riches, while changes to the economy have encouraged more trade options. New exotic ships expand the already large roster of spaceships available, and you can own several different ships, parking them on your freighter until you are ready to use them.
The Future is Bright
Hello Games has really redeemed themselves this last year. No Man’s Sky has a whole new look and a whole lot of added features. Bug fixes have been handled with speed and efficiency and the promise of future updates keep the community engaged. A few large groups of players have made coalitions, colonizing parts of the galaxy.
I encourage anyone who was interested in No Man’s Sky to look into the game again. Don’t expect Elite Dangerous or Star Citizen, as No Man’s Sky is neither of those. No Man’s Sky is its own creature, deserving of a second chance at life.
Hopefully I’ll see you in the stars.