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A mile wide, but an inch deep

A mile wide but an inch deep. I never thought I’d be saying that about No Man’s Sky. Alas, after playing 40 hours on PS4, and 7 hours on PC that is my reluctant conclusion on the state of the current game due to its missing features.

It is frankly a shell of the game Sean Murray talked about before release, and the well publicized Reddit post accurately reflects (with sources and evidence) what was shown/discussed and what we actually got. If you’re happy with just flying to planets and discovering the creatures then you’ll enjoy the game. I certainly did for a good while, before the sheer wonder of discovery started to wane and I looked for some deeper elements in the game. Unfortunately this is what seriously lets the game down.

Thin on the ground

In its current state, trading is paper thin with no real way of playing the game purely as a trader. The amount of trade items is small and the volumes available are very low in each station. You certainly get no impression there is an underlying economic impact to the trade system. Combat is woefully easy. So much so that I’ve not died once in 40 hours and I’m someone who is terrible at FPS. Pirates only attach in groups of 2 or 3 for the most part, and certainly don’t chase you down to a planet surface as widely shown in the original trailer (they turn back once you enter the atmosphere). Sentinels are easily defeated or simply avoided by walking in to a cave for 15 seconds. The auto aim is ridiculously overpowered and you can shoot several feet wide of the target and score a hit.

All of this would be fine, except that’s not what the trailers and interview lead us to believe (especially with the 4 paths trailers that immediately preceded the release). Sean Murray repeatedly said you could play the game purely focusing on trading or combat. Frankly that is laughable and so shallow that you would get bored within an hour. Essentially this game is almost exclusively a resource gathering and inventory management game with token combat and trading thrown in. The fact that resources (even ‘rare/expensive’ ones) are so abundant makes this path ridiculously easy and absolutely no challenge. Take Emeril for example. One of the most valuable resources in the game. My third planet in I found towers of the stuff, making literally millions of units each hour mining it. Gosh how lucky was I to find such a rare resource in such abundance I thought. Well a couple of hyper jumps later I found yet another planet with Emeril towers (I’ve since found many more). Add to this the towers of Gold found on a number of other planets and you can see how simple it is to become mega rich without effort.

Baby Steps

They’ve talked about base building and freighter flying as their upcoming upgrade. In my opinion they need to first deliver what was talked about during the past few months. The ability to side with a faction, the chasing of pirates through the atmosphere. The crafting of resources using ‘recipes’ that the community needs to work together to discover. Heck, even the ability to hack a door. It was repeatedly stated that as you get closer to the center the life gets weirder and they really bend the rules and make planets look super weird. Well that is utterly false. The planets and life near the center look no weirder than the planet you started on.

It seems that, for whatever reason, Hello Games had to strip out so much of what they had shown or talked about. Whilst this would be OK, the fact they still released the game without saying that, or that they will be introducing these features in the future is poor. We are left wondering if we will ever get them. I’ll be really happy if they have a plan to introduce most of the items in the Reddit list. If that’s the case, they really need to communicate that with the community.

I don’t want this to be an FPS. I’m not interested in multiplayer (Hello Games have always been consistent on their statements that this isn’t an MMO). What I want is this to be the game they have repeatedly shown and talked about.

Final Thought

As it stands, I cannot say the game is worth it’s full asking price and because of that I can’t recommend it to people. They’ve shown so many features which just aren’t in the game that it doesn’t justify the cost at this time. I dearly hope they beef up the game. If they do that it could be amazing and I’d recommend it 100%.  If I had to sum up my feelings thus far in one word it would be…Disappointed.

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Tom Hawkins
Tom Hawkins
Tom is a Project Manager for a computer software company in the UK and he's married and has 2 amazing kids. He loves playing games and likes to watch others gaming on YouTube. He's a huge fan of sci-fi films and loves anything to do with space. Tom discovered No Man's Sky in mid 2015 and has been captivated by it ever since.

He's been playing computer games for 25 years and no game has ever made him this excited!
By |2016-08-17T23:06:58+00:00August 17th, 2016|Column / opinion|0 Comments