A Week with No Man’s Sky
4:30 p.m., last Tuesday. Giddy, I sprinted home from work to find my copy of No Man’s Sky (NMS) laying at my back door in a shipping box. I take it inside and tear the Amazon Prime Box to shreds. To my surprise, and terror, the disc seems to be loose inside the case (I HATE when that happens). I rip off the plastic to find my copy of NMS unharmed. I breathe a sigh of relief and pop it into my Ps4 (PC Master Race, leave me be! Can’t I live?!). It’s now 4:45 p.m. and NMS is installing updates on my Playstation. Time ticks by like a slow dribble of sap down a pine tree’s bark (look at me getting mother-fucking poetical on your ass). Then, a flash of light. Eureka! The download is finished and I boot up the game; it’s 4:56 p.m….Then, in the blink of an eye it’s midnight and I have no idea where the time went. That’s what NMS is.
I’ve been playing these “black out” NMS sessions for about a week now and here are my first reactions.
NMS takes the training wheels off the traditional “tutorial”
Was I confused as fuck for like the first 45 mins of playing? You’re damn right I was, but i’d rather be confused than coddled. Games that hold your hand during their tutorial periods are the bane of my existence. There’s nothing worse than being force-fed ways to play the game, especially for a game like this! If you are taught a certain way to play an open-world game, like NMS, then it forever impacts the way you play the game. With literally limitless possibilities, it would suck to be led down one path, when you could have found a more enjoyable way of playing on your own. NMS’s tutorial gives you the basics and you figure out the rest for yourself.
You start the game on a randomized planet in a randomized part of the NMS universe. Your ship is damaged and unable to take off. In order to get off your planet you’ll need to mine for resources and craft parts that will fix your ship and other pieces of tech you carry. A pretty useful and well-fitting tutorial, wouldn’t you say? I would.
Species of flora and animals are noticeably similar
Do I notice, even after a short time of playing, that some animals and plants are just re-skinned with different names? Sure I do. Does it take away from my experience? No it does not. If you really thought you were going to see brand new species on every planet in a 18 quintillion-planet universe, you’re mad. With limitless combinations of terrain, climates, planet sizes, plants, and animals it doesn’t matter.
Open inventory spots are like gold
NMS is one of those games that makes you collect all these items with no space to store them…at first. Over time you can upgrade how much your ship and exosuit can carry, but early on, managing your inventory is a puzzle game all its own. It’s a challenge I welcome rather than resent.
Name all your planets, because reasons
Do you get extra coin? Nope, Does it change the planet at all? Nope. Will it be seen by someone other than yourself? Maybe, but probably not and you wouldn’t know about it anyway. Is it awesome to name your own planet? HELL YES IT IS. Name the planets, flora, animals and solar systems you discover. Name them after your pets, family members, favorite movies, your goldfish, whatever! Just do it! You’ll go back in your log sometime in the near future and have yourself a little giggle.
It’s my first week, I still have TONS to learn and discover, but I can tell you this: Play this game and make it your own. The story is lacking, because that’s the way the game was made, so make your own story. Throw on some jams, get in your starship and explore the galaxy! Make a narrative all your own. Me, personally, i’m a a space pirate in search of wealth beyond measure in the form of comic books and vintage toys………..and in No Man’s Sky I’m a weird alien in search of a girl aliens and beer.
-Matt aka The Space Ghost