No Man’s Sky NEXT – Early Impressions

Galactic adventures are back on again with the biggest update ever to No Man’s Sky. Two years of updates from developer Hello Games has helped steer the game into a direction that is delivering on those early promises and giving players a fulfilling experience.

When you start, No Man’s Sky dumps you at a random planet with nothing and leads you through steady stream of basic tutorials to get you acquainted with the mechanics of survival in the galaxy. The planet you start at can greatly determine how simple or difficult your initial experience will be and it can be a little frustrating to start somewhere that kills you faster than you can create the resources needed to survive. My advice is be willing to restart a couple of times until you find your own “Goldilocks” world. If you are a first time player you want to give yourself a chance to understand what you are in for and a hospitable world goes a long way to doing that.

Being safe on a “friendly” world really helps with the grind for resources. From the very start of your game you’ll need to collect various materials from the environment to repair and build items and that cycle is key to getting yourself acquainted with life in the galaxy. Additional tools such as refineries help create higher quality materials or recycle items meaning nothing is wasted. The need for these different materials is much more pronounced and impacts more aspects of the game. At one point I found a drop pod with a suit upgrade but I could only access it after first repairing it.

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Visually, the game has gone through quite an upgrade. If you are running the game on a decent PC you’ll notice that the old level of detail system appears to have been replaced completely and the game can now give you some substantial draw distances that really drive home the vastness of the areas you are exploring. Coming into land from space really shows just how much better it works now. Performance is still comparable too which is a testament to the team at Hello Games for making the game look substantially better while still keeping it running at a fair rate. With the high rate of screenshots popping up on various sites they’ve done something right here.

The most obvious changes to the visuals that immediately impact the player are the new third person modes which can be toggled from the menu. It can take a bit of time to get used to it if you’ve played prior to the update, especially if you are close to objects you want to collect where it can be fiddly, but it does a nice job of placing you in the world. Being able to customise that character at stations is a nice touch too. Ships and stations have been given a boost too with additional details to further make them feel like lived in and used items. The stations now have open areas dotted with shops and additional NPCs that makes them feel more like they are true hubs for a galactic community. With a lot of time on planets being a solitary experience, that is a nice contrast to have.

Your own bases have been given a boost now with the most useful being you can create more than one. Having to tear up your old one whenever you found a nicer world gave little incentive to spending time building anything substantial but now that you can maintain multiple ones and travel between them it feels like you can build your own little empire in the galaxy.

I’ve still got a hell of a lot more to get into. I’ve barely scratched the surface on the base building side and want to try and FINALLY get something substantial built up. On the ship side players are able to maintain their own little fleets and send them off and that’s something I’ve still not reached. Might take me a bit longer to get there as I think I might restart yet again…

The one thing I’m really missing out on the PC version is multiplayer. For players who purchased the game through GOG.COM, the multiplayer mode was left out at the time of launch and isn’t due to appear until later in the year. For those with the Steam version, multiplayer is apparently up and running. I’m a little annoyed by the inconsistency to be honest. I may consider jumping across to Xbox to experience it for myself but it won’t be from day one.

Potential boredom from No Man’s Sky‘s constant grinding for resources would be alleviated a lot if you could share the experience with fellow Travellers. For players who already appreciate the solo experience as it was it’s still there but I still feel multiplayer really would make the game more palatable to a larger audience. Hopefully I will get a chance to see that for myself.

All up the game now feels like a sequel to that original launch game with systems built out further and a VERY shiny new look to it that does more to highlight the excellence of the developer’s procedurally generated content than any other update before it. It still may not be for everyone and that initial starting location could burn you if your numbers don’t come up but I do like the game and can easily spend hours stomping around planets.

Would just be nice to share the experience with a few friends… maybe soon!

4 replies »

  1. I agree, with the latest NEXT update, this game is just so much better. I’ve got a freighter on the PS4 version and sending other ships out to find resources while doing missions is very cool. Buying additional frigates for your fleet though is not cheap (1.5 million upwards) 🙂

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