Gaming

No Man’s Sky: Beyond (Impressions)

With the latest update to No Man’s Sky arriving I had to jump into the game as soon as I could and joined Grocs for some co-op multiplayer too as we’re both running on the GOG.com version to see what’s new. I hadn’t played a lot since the NEXT update and my enthusiasm may have got the better of me when I blindly jumped into multiplayer. I’ll say it’s probably best for returning players to spend time learning the ropes again and updating their save games before joining up with friends. I think my old converted save game was causing some odd situations including one where I fell through the floor of the space station. But it looks like the team at Hello Games are right onto it and have been pushing out updates super fast – I’ve seen at least four so far. It’s already a more stable release less than a week after launch.

Grocs says “Hi”… um… I think it was “Hi”…

Once I worked through the introduction (you need to as a lot has changed) which goes through the basics again and gets you on your way to the space anomaly it all started coming back to me. I even found my old base-in-progress which was located on a “Goldilocks” world (not too hot, not too cold, just right) – it now seems a lot more lush with a greater variety of fauna and flora inhabiting my little island paradise. Going through this was helpful in also reminding me I had enough items in my inventory to at least solve a few problems faster… I’d forgotten a lot since my last time playing too which is embarrassing!

So back into the game now and how is it? To say there’s a lot more in the game is an understatement – just look at the epic patch notes. There’s the little quality of life things like vastly improved load times and making space combat a better experience to improvements to NPCs and all the way to graphic optimisations and boosts that benefit everyone from integrated chipsets to VR headsets. The sheer volume of work that’s gone into this is pretty incredible and that’s part of the original game and not a sequel is like the best gift you can give fans. As for the graphics it looks fantastic thank you very much. Every update the developers seem to find more ways to get more into the game and make it look better too. When I can be transfixed by a “load screen” such as when your ship jumps between systems then I think they are doing well on the graphics front.

The new “Space Anomaly” which is home to regular NPCs Polo and Nada has been a substantial redesign and it’s truly a spectacular bit of work. Where previously you only had a hint of what it might be now it’s opened up into literally a full spaceport with a massive open space and plenty of vendors for getting the items you need. Once you get far enough it can be called on command so you always have it available to access when previously it would appear at select systems on your journey. It also acts as a hub for multiplayer and I’m hoping to see more on how that works as I play. I’m also getting to see a lot of new races for the first time beyond the Gek, Korvax and Vy’keen here who are working as vendors and that’s an exciting prospect too. I could have imagined just the work that went into this could have justified an update of its own so having everything else included in Beyond is an incredible bit of work.

Getting access to all the cool technology and blueprints still requires you to grind/search for resources and that’s certainly not going to change but the game has made allowances to help you get there. With the increase in environment density there’s now more ways to make money so even if you can’t dig up the materials you need you are probably going to be able to find something else valuable that you can cash in so that you can simply buy them. Running low on your ship’s fuel can be alleviated quickly by shooting up asteroids too (of which a lot still look like space poo). Blueprints for constructing tech and base structures are probably going to be the hardest things to work for so you should still expect to put in some substantial time before you begin to really establish yourself.

This is also the first time I’ve been able to get into the multiplayer modes, there had been issues with the GOG version of NEXT at launch, but it’s been fairly seamless with me being able to join Grocs’ game and vice versa. Leaving the game at its default settings also means you can have the occasional visitor too who might stop by to check out your fancy base. Well… not my base anyway… it’s only a hut! I might need to work on that…

I may not be able to see the VR modes for myself (am minus headset) but there is so much content in this update I don’t think regular players are missing out on anything. I’m pretty happy with what I’m seeing so far and I’m not short of things to do either. Another massive update to bring in new fans and get old ones excited once more. 🙂

The new “Space Anomaly” is both spectacular and an incredibly useful location to visit regularly. I wish my own base looked like this. 🙂

No Man’s Sky is out now on PC, Xbox One and PlayStation 4.

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