Game Review: No Man’s Sky (Xbox One X)

This review is based on my experience with the game prior to the Origins update that released in early October 2020.

No Man’s Sky is an exploration real-time strategy survival game developed and published by the indie studio Hello Games. It released for PlayStation 4 & PC in 2016 before eventually coming to Xbox One in 2018. It joined the Game Pass program in 2020. Like most of you reading this, I was duped by the lies and insane hype surrounding this game upon release. Expectations were raised too high which led to disappointment. However, over the years the game has gone through major overhaul after major overhaul. I’ve never really taken my eye off of it because the concept sounds so amazing. The word around the internet is that the game is finally worth playing. It resembles something of what was initially promised. Here are my thoughts on the game.

Players are free to perform within the entirety of a procedurally generated open world universe, which includes over 18 quintillion planets. Each planet has their own ecosystem with unique forms of flora and fauna. Also, there are various sentient alien species for you to engage with. There’s combat that can take place on land and in space with your highly customizable ship. Additionally, there are lots of opportunity to trade. Primarily, you’ll spend most of your time mining resources to power and improve equipment. You can buy and sell resources using credits earned by documenting flora and fauna. There’s even a story that involves you seeking out the mystery around the Atlas an entity at the centre of the universe.

If you’re so inclined, you can engage with other players and join their worlds. There are bounties to undertake and a number of side activities to keep you endlessly occupied.

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If you’re a fan of video games, I implore you to give No Man’s Sky a chance. I genuinely believe that everyone should experience the game, at least for 30 minutes. It takes about that much time to get your ship up and running. Orientating upwards and blasting through the atmosphere of a planet to reach the stars never failed to fill me with awe. If you’re not really into resource gather and survival mechanics then fair enough. Still, just experience that one moment because for me it was unforgettable. The transition from land to space is seamless. You may spot another planet in the distance and make your way there at hyper speed. Within mere seconds you’ll find yourself on the surface of a mysterious alien world.

During my time with the game I visited a total of 80 galaxies. Each one contained 2-6 unique planets or moons. I never accidently encountered the same ones twice. Their differences are usually minor but the variety is fantastic. You can access a galaxy map which displays the ridiculous size and scope of the game.

Visually, the game looks good. You can tell that it’s independently developed. It can be rough around the edges and bugs do happen. I really enjoyed the excellent usage of colours throughout every aspect of the game, it’s very vibrant. You’ll encounter lush green landscapes, frozen tundra’s, fiery windstorms, barren wastelands and so much more.

The story is just nice to have. It tells an interesting if not convoluted tale about consciousness and simply being alive. It gave me a sense of progression and a goal other than just exploring, resource gathering and managing my inventory.

Combat is super clunky but it does work and there is a nice variety to the weaponry. This game is all about customization. You can hunker down on your planet of choice and build a home. There are some awesome looking spaceships that you can buy but they’re very expensive. I just stuck with the base model and it suited me fine.

You can visit a space station called the anomaly. It’s a really cool location because you encounter all of the other players that are roaming around. Due to cross play they can be from any other platform.

If you could only take one game with you to a desert island, what would it be? Well, if I’m ever asked that question from now on I’ll be saying No Man’s Sky. This game can easily be never ending depending on what you hope to get out of it. There’s always something new to see. It’s a very chilled, relaxing experience. Build the ultimate base or take control of your very own fleet of ships, it’s entirely up to you. Not a game for everyone but one that I really enjoyed.




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