Uniquely Disappointing

No Man’s Sky Review

Black holes are one of many ways to travel quickly through the universe of No Man’s Sky.

Devin Schwarz, Co-Editor-In-Chief

No Man’s Sky will have gamers struggling with many things, but nothing more than the sheer magnitude of crippling loneliness that comes with being the only real person in a universe that could take five billion years to explore.

That said, the game does get boring. Fast.

No Man’s Sky is an survival-exploration game released for PS4 on Aug. 9 and for PC on Aug. 12. It was developed and published by Hello Games, an independent studio.

No Man’s Sky disappointed in a way that only indie games can; with release delays, launch-day bugs and a whole host of deflated expectations. Overall, however, it can be an enjoyable experience for those who know and love the exploration genre.

No Man’s Sky is a space exploration thriller with a shrouded plot that sends players blindly travelling towards the center of a procedurally-generated universe of over 18 quintillion unique planets. Imagine an old-school flip-book you might’ve played with as a child, the kind where one page is a head, one a torso and a third legs, each page can be flipped independently to create wacky combinations. No Man’s Sky takes this concept, applies it to planets and multiplies it by a trillion, with options such as radiation level, concentration of life forms and plant life (each of which have their own unique formula making every plant and animal you encounter completely different), size, mineral content and so much more. The game becomes an endless stream of planets, star systems and galaxies.

It’s too bad that this infinite variety is not enough to keep the game interesting. If the vastness of the universe isn’t enough to discourage you from wanting to explore it, you will soon realise that all the traversing you’re actually willing to do doesn’t really pay off. Gamers get to name each individual thing they discover (star systems, planets, plants, animals, outposts, etc.), but the odds of meeting another player or having them stumble across the things you’ve named is so infinitesimal that there really isn’t much of a point to it. Players do get a small Unit reward (the in-game currency), but you will soon find that simply mining gold for a few hours will quickly make all the Units you’ll need for the rest of your playthrough.

The game also features four intelligent alien species for you to come in contact with throughout the game: the Gek, the Korvax, the Vy’Keen and Atlas. Each race has its own set of traditions, behaviors and languages that must be taken into consideration each time you interact with them. Unfortunately, learning their languages and gaining “standing” with each race is simply a massive grind that will take you hours upon hours to complete. Even when the entire language is learned, it is still difficult to understand what the aliens are talking about, as all of their languages seem to have omitted key words such as “of,” “and” and “the.”

Aesthetics is where this game truly shines, literally. Everything from a blade of grass to a massive black hole looks absolutely stunning. Stunning, that is, if your computer was made in 2018 and can handle the game on max settings. Realistically, most gamers will run the game on medium settings and experience frame loss here and there, but overall everything will still look breathtaking.

No Man’s Sky is truly a game like no other, but you can go only so far on such a unique concept. The game is enjoyable for a time, perhaps even a long time, but in the end, you will lose yourself in the monotony and emptiness of this vast universe.