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Studio ‘Hello Games’ have developed an algorithm for a game that automatically generates over 18 quintillion planets; is it any good?
Background Information/Description

Originally shown at the 2013 VGX awards, No Man’s Sky swiftly gathered attention from the media and gamers alike. Overtime, the game was basically shown at every Sony press conference in existence (slight over exaggeration) where the game would gather an even bigger following.

The thing is, Hello Games is only made up of 15 employees, which obviously put a great stress on such a miniscule studio, this would mean that the game would have to be up to a tremendous standard, leading to the game being delayed by just over a month.

The game has 18,446,744,073,709,551,616 individual, unique planets to explore to be precise; by May, the game had reached 170,000 pre-orders in North America alone.

The aim of the game is to reach the centre of the universe which on first hearing, sounds pretty dull and uneventful, but the developers claimed different, saying that there is plenty of stuff for players to do on the lengthy journey, however some people have already reached the centre of the universe, but seeing as I personally have not as I am taking my time, we may save that conversation for another day.

Gameplay

As you click onto the game, the game greets you with the company and game logo before transcending into a loading screen, showcasing the masses of systems in existence occasionally showing you what a system is called. The game then fades to black and puts you wherever you last saved.

A quite notable thing about No Man’s Sky would be that there are no loading screens in the game between visiting planets and systems, however, these could be disguised in the warp scene given to you when changing systems; still, it adds for a really fluent and immersive feel to the game.

As for the actual gameplay, there are three main things you can do in the game, these are explore, trade and fight.

For exploring, as previously mentioned, there are 18,446,744,073,709,551,616 planets that can be explored, each having new species of animals and types of rocks and plants which can all be scanned and then uploaded to the game’s online data base. Each planet also has a different climate which affects how you play the game, for example, if a planet’s climate is extremely radioactive, you can only spend 15 seconds on the planet before you have to go back to your ship, otherwise you take damage (which can be seen as quite annoying).

As for trading, on each planet, you can collect resources and relics to either help you build or fuel your own things or to trade at the local space station where you can earn units to buy other resources, spaceships or upgrades for yourself.

My Personal Experience

So personally, I had been hyped for No Man’s Sky since it was first shown at E3, showcasing a planet filled with vast wild life, ranging from big to small with dense forests; upon playing the game, I noticed within my third planet that this was not the case.

As you may have heard from many other reviews or your friends opinions, the game promised a lot, including online which the head of the studio Sean Murray promised in an interview by saying “The only way a player can know what he looks like is if someone else finds him”, however he later denied this on Twitter by saying “To be super clear – No Man’s Sky is not a multiplayer game. Please don’t go in looking for that experience. This came just before release day when it was discovered that there was a sticker covering the “Online Play” logo on the back of the collectors editions.

Anyway, back to the topic in hand, I noticed on my third planet, the planets seemed different, yet almost the same. This disappointed me as the developers promised every planet to be different, and in a sense they are, but not drastically different.

I also have not come across a single large sized animal since the game has released which is really disappointing. In addition to that, I have not come across a single dense planet, everything has been rather open with odd bits of water and caves.

Overall, I felt disappointed with No Man’s Sky to some extent, but still enjoy the game that has been delivered.

Conclusion

No Man’s Sky did have the potential to be an outstanding game and with no exaggeration, was probably the most hyped up PS4 and PC game of the year, yet the game lacks diverse gameplay, the shooting is very basic, the flying is also very basic and some gameplay elements do not make any sense such as why can’t you use your ship’s beam to mine resources on planets when it can obliterate asteroids.

The game can also drop down to as low as 17 frames per second (to my knowledge) while loading a planet, making the game feel not so smooth and making it feel less of a fluent experience which the developers were aiming for. Also the graphics are nice, but because they are cartoonish, it doesn’t feel real and doesn’t immerse you as you know as you feel as if you are in a video game.

What is exciting though is that this game has the possibility of coming to PlayStation Virtual Reality, which may fix the issue of not feeling so immersed.

Now while the game does have its flaws, it can be fun discovering some of the animals that look like adult toys (not originally intended by the developers and will probably be patched out at some point).

And as repetitive as it can get, there is always some sense of adventure and anticipation in the air every time you visit a new planet but nothing to major.

However, due to the lack of features and things to do in the game, we would recommend that you do not purchase this game until the price goes down or if you want a game to play from time to time when you get bored or have an avid interest in space.

Overall, we give this game a 6/10.

 

 

 

 

About The Author

Callum Jones re-joined the TechFly team in early 2016 to see the redevelopment of the Entertainment section of TechFly whereby extensive coverage on music, movies and gaming will be covered in-depth. Callum has an interest in new releases.

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