No Man’s Sky astounded us during the time up till launch. The fact that a small development studio like Hello Games was able to promise us 18 quintillion planets was amazing, and felt like a definite game changer in today’s modern gaming society. No Man’s Sky at its core is a survival game, but have they fallen into Ubisoft’s all to familiar over promise under deliver trap?

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No Man’s Sky puts you in the exosuit of an unnamed protagonist. You’re immediately thrown into a tutorial like scenario on a planet covered with purple fauna. It’s a glorious sight, especially with your graphical settings turned up to max. You’re objective here is to collect resources to repair your out of service space ship. The game is able to be picked up quickly, and you’ll learn what is being asked of you within no time at all.

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Inventory management and combat, when you see any is pretty basic. So much so that this can become a little tedious at times. The biggest issue I have found is the size of the inventory slots. It’s not very forgiving and you’ll quickly be pulling out your hair because you can’t fit any more Plutonium in your bag. One thing that narked be was this. You’re able to transfer items back to your ship from wherever you are on the planet. However, to then beam them back to you is impossible as the game says you’re out of range of your ship. How does that work?

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Collecting resources feels like a monotonous task. In reality, click your scanner button, follow the waypoints which will be marked on your HUD, fire your mining laser at it, collect the resources, move on. That’s pretty much what planets are about. As I said this game is about survival, so all resources are used for something to keep you alive. Whether that’s to recharge your life support machine or to reload your gun, each resource has its own purpose.

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Crafting plays a huge role in No Man’s Sky. I mean the game is literally built around crafting different components to better yourself. You will need for example to keep upgrading your ship’s hyperdrive to move on to further away planets. You’ll need to craft items to make your mining laser more powerful so extracting your precious resources becomes easier. You’ll even need to build new weapons to defend yourself from space pirates once your ship is full of precious cargo.

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During my time, I visited around 50 planets. Each one was slightly different, but it didn’t take long for me to notice the similarities between them which was a shame. Immersion broken. I feel like this happened far too quickly for me to get much out of the game. Each base I discovered for the most part was exactly the same as the last. Each Gek alien I encountered wanted the same 20 carbon in exchange for money, other resources or just general information. The biggest difference I noticed between each planet were the animals. These can be scanned to learn their attributes. Each scan gives you money awards, usually 200 units.

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But why – since the immersion has stopped and it’s becoming a little repetitive – can’t I stop playing? To tell you the truth it’s relaxing. Open ended games, although finding the centre of the universe is the quest here are enjoyable grinds . No Man’s Sky is the type of game that you can sit back, put on your favourite playlist and just get lost in. Yes it’s damn repetitive, but it can be so rewarding as well, especially when you’re in sight of that new space craft you’ve wanted for ages. No Man’s Sky is a good game. Just don’t go into it expecting much in terms of in-depth gameplay. No Man’s Sky is available from Steam for £39.99.

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Stef Murphy

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