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To Boldly Go...Wherever the Hell You Want


Hello Games has released their groundbreaking new game; No Man's Sky. Available on PS4 and PC, it gives players the opportunity to explore a galaxy of 18 quintillion planets (yes that's a real number), with the ultimate goal of reaching the centre of the galaxy. Along the way they will have to create, mine and trade resources to power and advance their equipment and their ship.





The game is built on four pillars:
  • Exploration
  • Trading
  • Combat
  • Survival
The developers have done a good job of capturing the feel of both Star Trek and Star Wars whilst also taking inspiration from Frank Herbert's Dune and science fiction authors Isaac Asimov, Arthur C. Clarke and Robert Heinlein. Every planet in the galaxy is explorable. When players log in for the first time they will find themselves on a random planet, where they will have to complete certain tasks before they can leave. From there players can go wherever they want provided they have the resources to do it. Players can upload details of their discoveries to the Atlas, if they are the first to discover a planet they will be credited with the find. Each planet differs in terms of environment and indigenous life forms, 90% of the planets are uninhabitable. Obviously some life forms are hazardous to your health whereas others will just run away from you. Within 24 hours of release over ten million species had been discovered. Every planet holds resources in the form of plants and rocks, these can be mined using the player's multi-tool, a device that also acts as a weapon. If players continuously mine resources from a planet they will be attacked by robots called "Sentinels", they range in size from small flying probes to large walkers that look like the offspring of an AT-ST from Star Wars and ED-209 from RoboCop. The action isn't just planet based either. It's possible to mine resources from asteroids, visit space stations for trade and take part in ship to ship combat as well. Once your warp drive is online you can travel to new solar systems or revisit systems you've already discovered.





Now this all sounds very exciting, the ability to explore this massive and diverse galaxy how and when you please. And it is...for a little while. But then the activities can start to feel repetitive, searching planets for the resources you need to power your ship and your equipment so you can move on to the next planet and do it all over again. As I've mentioned before; mine too many resources and the Sentinels will attack, apparently their numbers vary on different planets but so far they've got in the way of everything I've done. There is also very little explanation of the Atlas and how to acquire an Atlas Pass other than that you can't access certain drop boxes and parts of space stations without one.



Now this may sound contradictory given everything I've said but don't think that I hate No Man's Sky. I really like this game. It's open world - or galaxy - is amazing and groundbreaking and it's a fun game to play. The problem is it's only fun in small doses, I can quite easily see myself returning to it every few weeks or months. Personally I think it would have worked better as a multiplayer game; you and your friends create characters, choose your specialties and either man your own ships or form the crew of one larger ship. The opportunity to explore together has been a winning formula for MMORPG's for years and could do the same for No Man's Sky. It's possible that the game will become more interesting as you get deeper into the galaxy, but in the outer rim, what started out as interesting and exciting...is becoming tedious.



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