The most highly anticipated game of the year has been out for several weeks now, and the player response has been mixed to say the least.
It would have been impossible for a game to live up to the truly unbelievable levels of hype that No Man’s Sky has endured. The indie studio game with a massive Sony budget ended up drawing so much attention from the gaming community that it was ultimately going to disappoint at least some of its players.
In a way, it’s a real shame that such high expectations were put upon this game. No Man’s Sky certainly isn’t all things to all people, as initial trailers might have claimed, but there’s a really powerful experience waiting for anyone who’s willing to invest in the title.
If you’re on the fence about trying out No Man’s Sky, here are a list of reasons why you might absolutely love the game. Bear in mind, though, that this is an ultimate sandbox experience: what you get out of it depends heavily on how much you put in.
1. The Size of the Game
There’s no denying it – No Man’s Sky is a big game.
Reports vary on exactly how long it’ll take you to complete the game’s main objective, reaching the center of the galaxy, but a desire to ‘complete’ the game really shouldn’t factor into your decision to play No Man’s Sky. This is a Minecraft style title, which only really ends when you decide you’ve had enough.
That kind of freedom may be paralyzing to some players, but if you’re a fan of messing around in a virtual sandbox, there’s definitely plenty to do here.
2. The Beautiful Art Style
This game is gorgeous.
In creating the visual look for No Man’s Sky, Hello Games reportedly bought up a load of pulp science fiction novels, stripped the covers off the books, and used them as wallpaper for their office. It shows – there are few games that capture the beautiful look of classic sci-fi quite this well.
No Man’s Sky is awash with color – every planet you visit will throw together a different variety of hues and shades. Even space is filled with clouds of color and twinkling lights that make the entire universe feel alive with variety and excitement.
3. The ‘Wow’ Moment
No Man’s Sky isn’t a game that hands you things on a platter. If you want to succeed, you have to put in effort. The game starts by forcing you to find resources to fix up your ship, avoiding death as your spacesuit degrades. It’s unforgiving and harsh when all you want to do is explore the galaxy.
But then your ship is fixed, and you can blast off out of the atmosphere for the first time, and you’re treated to one of the most powerful moments of the current generation of gaming. Watching your starting world roll away as the stars come out to shine is truly awe inspiring.
In many ways, it’s all the sweeter because you had to work for it.
4. The Sense of Discovery
Probably one of the biggest gripes that players have expressed with No Man’s Sky is the lack of direction within the game. While this is a fair complaint, the freedom of the game is also one of its greatest selling points.
There’s nothing quite like discovering a brand new alien creature, or finding a planet filled to the brim with rare items. Everything is new, and you’re likely going to visit a planet for the very first time, so whatever you find is your own special discovery. No game before has ever managed to make this experience feel quite so unique.
5. The Stories You’ll Tell
In No Man’s Sky, players don’t get led along a narrative path. We’re expected to create our own stories. Hidden under rocks on various planets are randomly generated adventures waiting to happen.
Just take a look at the No Man’s Sky subreddit if you’re in any doubt about the possibilities this game holds. As more players experience the game, we’ll get a lot of urban myths and tall tales about adventures on various planets. This community of storytellers will be one of the biggest draws for the game for years to come.
6. It’s Fun to be Lonely
Chalk it up to hype, but many eager gamers were expecting No Man’s Sky to feature far more substantial multiplayer aspects. As it is, the game leaves the player almost entirely to their own devices. There’s very rarely any company while traveling the stars, meaning that you’ll spend most of your time wandering around all by yourself.
As strange as it sounds, this is actually one of the big strengths of the game. The lonely gameplay builds up the atmosphere of the game, and helps you to form your own stories of the worlds you explore. There’s nothing to distract you from enjoying the scenery of the game and making note of the game’s various species, and you appreciate the little touches within the game all the more.
7. The Soundtrack
This game sounds amazing. 65daysofstatic’s incredible composition fit the art style and gameplay perfectly, creating an experience that sounds just as good as it looks.
Quirky, haunting, and often somber, the game’s musical arrangements really bring an extra layer of atmosphere to the experience.
8. Crafting, Trading, and Resource Collection
Okay, so maybe item management isn’t for everybody. There are a lot of tedious moments within inventories in this game, and it can put off players who just want to run around blasting holes in things.
That said, for those who enjoy watching numbers go up, there are a lot of fun to be had here as players seek out delicious veins of rare minerals to help improve their gear and help them earn enough cash to buy that shiny new spaceship that’s caught your eye.
The main mission of No Man’s Sky is fairly bare-bones, but in many ways, that’s for the best. Little snippets of alien languages, rare artifacts, and lore are scattered throughout the stars, and it’s up to you to seek these pieces out, putting together the universe’s history for yourself.
This helps build up the sensation that you’re creating your own story, rather than playing something else that’s been scripted, and it gives the worlds you visit a far grander feel as you speculate as to why so many civilizations across space have vanished, leaving their ruined settlements behind.
10. The Random Element
What’s the most appropriate way to say this? Players of No Man’s Sky have begun cataloging aliens that look like parts of the male anatomy.
Procedurally generated code runs everything in No Man’s Sky. This has led to some pretty wacky creations, the vast majority of which have never been seen by human eye before.
You never know when you’re going to stumble onto a hilarious new species, or what random rock formation you might find. It’s this sense of unpredictability that can make an hour of the game entirely fruitless, or can see a player double their resources in a matter of minutes.
Eventually, some of the more worthwhile places to visit across the galaxy will be better mapped out by players who don’t like surprises. Thanks to the random design of the game, though, there will always be new, utterly bizarre discoveries to be made.
No Man’s Sky isn’t for everyone. That’s fine – we all like different kinds of games. Lonely space survival isn’t everybody’s idea of a good time.
If you’ve spent hours hunting for rare items in Minecraft, though, or ever stacked a bunch of vehicles on top of each other in GTA Online just to see what will happen, you’ll probably find something worthwhile in No Man’s Sky.
All it takes is a little imagination, and the willingness to accept whatever the game throws at you.Related: Console, Hello Games, No Man's Sky, PC, Space