No Man's Sky - First Impressions from a Late Adopter
When No Man’s Sky came out, it was a critical disappointment and many people returned the game in disgust. However, in the meantime they continued to plug away on updates and after their Settlement update the reviews have been improving. I found a cheap used copy and decided that now was the time to sample the game myself.
I awoke on a purple desert planet in front of a cave with what appeared to be iron teeth. The iron formed stalagmites and stalactites on the floor and ceiling and I started mining with my laser gun. The game is very light on tutorial, but I found out with minimal guidance and luck that I needed to harvest a range of resources to get my ship working so I can be the explorer I so yearned to be.
It didn’t take long and I started to hate my laser gun. It takes too long to harvest things, overheats too quickly, and is terrible in a fight. I also run out of room quickly in my inventory. While the planet is strange it isn’t really full of that much that is exciting. After a few hours you improve some of these problems after seeing other planets and finding more bases, items, and rare loot. However, since the game is light on plot, character interaction, and actions outside of flying, mining, and running I can feel the pain of those early purchasers who thought “This is it?”.
I am a few hours in and cannot yet build a base, but I can see that creative output working to imbue some purpose into your continued exploration. But I also still see a lot of problems. The inventory management is awful, just awful, and I can’t defend it even a little. The game is also very lonely. More populated areas with NPCs would help, or if other people might be out doing things that you could stumble upon. If it was co-op (a rumored future option) then the game improves dramatically. Also you are too tethered to your ship. I really wish I could just explore and run off to the horizon, but it would take forever to backtrack to the ship. Maybe later I can teleport back, or summon my ship more easily but currently I am constantly aware of the boring trek back to my ship. The joy of discovery is real and the game has a strange draw, I want to keep exploring, I want to find mods for my equipment and seek weird animals. However I am constantly bumping against designed limitations that are maddening. I hope it improves with a little more time, or I will likely join the mass of people disappointed in this game with so much promise.