No Man’s Sky has to be one of the most widely anticipated titles in recent years, the hype before launch was, it has to be said, some of the most impressive in years. Did the final game come anywhere close to the hype? Well to be honest, nothing could, but unfortunately, its actual appearance has been greeted with some controversy. It would appear that for some gamers the game is pointless, it has no meaning, there is no agenda, no real story-line, in short there seems to be no way of winning. This, I feel, is missing the point of the game, the object of which is to explore. Now, you can race to the centre of the universe, as one player who paid a ridiculous amount on ebay for a pre release version of the game did, or you can just aimlessly explore the planets you find, I have gone for the latter choice. i personally enjoy hunting down the way-points on the planets, I like it that just when you think you have found everything another question mark appears on the horizon, I want to find all the animals on the planet, I get a small feeling of joy when I find a new plant, I love the feeling of accomplishment you get when you can solve a problem using the vocabulary of alien words you have learnt. So there is no Boss to defeat to complete the level, so what? If you want that sort of challenge then there are many other games out there for you,
The problem for a lot of people seems to be the non importance of the player. In most games the player is the entire point, the action revolves around the player, in fact the entire game world’s existence seems to rely on the actions of the player. In No Man’s Sky the player really doesn’t matter, visit that planet, don’t visit that planet, nobody cares, life goes on unconcerned unaffected. In games it is usual that a players actions have an effect, you play the game correctly and you are rewarded, in No Man’s Sky it doesn’t work that way. Life in No Man’s Sky is more of an existential experience, you are facing the unknown, your reason for existence isn’t as obvious as in other games, the reason to explore seems to be for the personal experience, not for in game reward. In this game you need to stop and appreciate your surroundings, to quote the golfer Walter Hagen
You’re only here for a short visit. Don’t hurry, don’t worry. And be sure to smell the flowers along the way.
Instead of racking up the kills, take the time to appreciate the scenery, the fauna, and the flora, of course on some planets you can’t take too long before the atmosphere starts to kill you.
It is true that the developer appears to have made a number of erroneous claims for the game in the build up for its release, and that he stated that any major changes would be by patches rather than DLC, but this is what happens when the developer is the face of the game. When talking about a game a developer has spent much time on, they can end up talking about the game they wanted to make rather than the game everyday realities allowed to be made. Maybe the games company should have used a different front man who wasn’t so emotionally invested in the game, but looking past the hype what we have here is, I feel, an interesting game that could possibly be built on, be it with patches or be it with paid for DLC. Either way the future for No Man’s Sky is full of possibility and I for one look forward to any developments.