If you played No Man’s Sky on release 2 years ago you would be familiar with the global disappointment that followed. The game was a bold concept that many felt failed to live up to it’s “over-hype”. I admit I put more than a few hours into it and enjoyed my time playing but it was lacking in content.
Fast forward to today and the release of No Man’s Sky Next.
Now do me a favour, try hard to push the memories of the original game out of your head and look at this with fresh eyes. To help with that, picture this as a sequel rather than additional content, because that is kind of what it is. I strongly believe that if the original game had launched as an early access with a much more reasonable price point (similar to PUBG) we wouldn’t be having the tainted brand issues we have today.
So let’s call this No Man’s Sky 2.
The game is much more polished, graphically it’s had a massive makeover where the worlds feel more dense and alive than ever before. Space is enhanced with beautiful rings on planets and the ship details have been ramped up so you can have some pride in your vehicle rather than flying a box through space.
The game mechanics are more enhanced now as well, finding thing’s in menus can be a challenge but after a little while with the game you will have no problems. There are even additional character design elements which you’ll find yourself using because the game plays much better in the new 3rd person mode rather than the original first person.
Building is a big part of the game now with the addition of warp gates you can travel to planets you have visited before and set up bases. At times it feels like if Minecraft had amazing graphics but the story is deep and rich and embedded heavily in the style of traditional science fiction writers style which is highlighted more with your respawn loading screen quotes from authors like Isaac Asimov.
Stop for a second and take a picture.. no really, this is one of the most amazing screen capture moments in gaming. You can adjust the camera height and position change the time of day to get the perfect look for your background and then crank the depth of field all the way up to have the most professional portrait of you and your ship on your favourite planet. Don’t be surprised if you start seeing a stack of “No Man’s Selfies” littering the internet very soon.
Commanding a fleet is now possible as well, you can send your fleet out into the universe or have them help you explore a specific system.
The new game modes add a sense of risk to the game and while it is great in “Normal” mode, to get the best out of it you need to play in “Survival” mode where resources are limited and you lose all the items on you. The other cool thing about this mode is if you die in space, you’ll spawn to the nearest planet a distance from your crashed ship which you will need to repair. Permadeath mode is crazy, you lose everything and have to restart your game, I don’t know why anyone would want to play this mode but if you do.. good luck to you. Creative mode is fun if you want to see what everything does with no limits.
Multiplayer now allows you to invite friends to your freighter and then head out to take on challenging missions together, you can even invite randoms if you want. The one thing I’ve noticed with the community is that everyone is just so nice. It’s the least amount of negative participants in a multiplayer game, like being in an episode of Gene Roddenberrys vision of human eutopia in Star Trek.
There are many reasons to get back into No Man’s Sky, but the biggest is that the developer didn’t give up on it, so neither should you. Hello Games knew the game they wanted to make and the potential of it. Even when the chips were down.. and they were well down. They came back like the “Mighty Ducks” to deliver the game that was originally promised, maybe even more. I really take my hat off to that company and will support anyone who keeps fighting the way they have.