I took a break, or sabbatical, from No Man’s Sky about a month after it was released in the summer of 2016. The reason being, like many people around the same time, was sheer boredom. For the price point, there should have been much more to do besides going planet to planet and mining resources, crafting a warp cell and then fueling your warp drive, all in the hopes of getting to the galactic core.
Over the last two years Hello Games have released major content patches for No Man’s Sky. The first was “Foundation” which brought base building, freighters that can be purchased, the ability to farm and harvest plants, a creative game mode and survival mode. Then there was the “Path Finder” update which introduced exocraft, the ability to own more than starship, online base sharing, a permadeath mode, and visual improvements. Thirdly there was the “Atlas Rises” update which brought with it a new story that included a new race, new planetary biomes, crashed freighters, three guilds that offer missions and rewards, the ability to change the terrain, a portal system, improved space combat, and other quality of life improvements. Finally there is the Next update, which is what brought me back to No Man’s Sky.
After spending time in this massive universe, I thought “Wow, Hello Games have finally finished No Man’s Sky.” I am glad they didn’t charge money for Next, because this update is just making good on what was promised. Since I had not played No Man’s Sky for almost two years, I had no idea what to expect when I reinstalled it, started a new game, and woke up on a new planet in a new galaxy.
Right away I noticed the graphical improvements. The textures are sharper and more detailed than they were previously. The environmental weather effects are great. When a severe “boiling superstorm” rolls in, you can kiss your visibility goodbye, and don’t even think about flying low to the ground during a major storm since you can discern where the ground is. So far the planets I’ve seen are different. Obviously you will end up seeing some repetition in the general make-up of a planet’s biosphere. Some of the new biome’s show how pretty and strange No Man’s Sky can be. One planet I flew to was filled with what looks like some kind of geometric bone structure, and floating pink blobs.
These new biomes, and the improved planet generation really highlight the addition of the photo mode. No Man’s Sky was always well suited to photography due to its colour contrasting graphics and alien locations. The addition of a third person camera option and gestures really help tie together the robust options for the photo mode. You have many filters to choose from, a fog intensity slider, depth of field, positioning of the sun for dramatic lighting and other tweaks. It’s a worthwhile addition, that can enhance your time spent is Hello Games universe.
Ship battles have been greatly improved. In No Man’s Sky vanilla, I dreading getting the “hostile subspace scan” because nine times out of ten, I was going to get my ass handed to me. Well now I’m the one handing out ass to the space pirates. There are different ways you can go about outfitting your ship for battle; strong shield and average weapons, normal shields and strong weapons. I went for overpowered weapons and an underpowered shield, sort of a glass cannon build, mainly because as long as I have sodium (the resource used to power your shields) I don’t really need great shields. It’s worked well so far. The battles have been incredibly intense so far, such as defending freighters, hunting down bounty targets, and defending my hard earned cargo.
Base building is a great addition that changes how you play. Instead of dumping or selling your resources, you are more likely to save them and use them in order to build your base. Creating your base is fairly robust in that there are different sections and parts you can use to construct a building. There’s wood, steel, concrete, and if you don’t like the look of those you can change the parts appearance to stone, rust, steel, or wood and then add preset colour scheme. The questline for base building is also worthwhile doing since you unlock some nice bonuses like the ability to farm rare resources like frost crystals or coprite, which beats having to hunt for a planet that has them and then also having to find them on said planet. The ability to manipulation terrain compliments this system nicely. You can build a shack above ground, put a ladder in and then carve out the earth beneath it. Or you can form a cliff face and build into that. It’s really only limited to your imagination, which if you’re like me is very limited.
The only issues I have had so far with No Man’s Sky Next is stuttering when exiting a planet’s atmosphere, and teleporting to my base or back to a space station. With the framerate unlocked it’s fairly solid in its’ performance, though strangely there is some severe slowdown in the menus, most noticeably for me in the discoveries part. Mind you, I’m playing on an amateur PS4 and not the Pro, so that may have something to do with some of the performance issues I’ve experienced. Those issues aside, it hasn’t ruined my experience with No Man’s Sky.
No Man’s Sky, when it was originally released wasn’t a bad game, it was just terribly boring. Now however, after being finished, it’s a good game that is engaging, relaxing, and one that you sink many hours into without realizing it. So if you were like me, and had uninstalled the game, forgot about it, and never thought of coming back, I would recommend coming back because it deserves your time and attention.