I’ve been itching for No Man’s Sky since it was first announced. I didn’t care much about the fighting; I just wanted a chance to explore the universe. What could be better? Well, based on the reviews… A lot of things could be better. Here’re a handful of reviews that we’ve grabbed to give you a sense of the critical response to the game.
No Man’s Sky is immediately a massive game with impressive seamless transitions from ground to space, and it will entertain your inner collector for a while. The more you get to know it, the more you recognize its faults, and it’s easy to fall so deep into the act of exploring and trading that your focus narrows to those aspects alone. If, however, you consider everything it has to offer and listen to what Atlas has to say, No Man’s Sky becomes more than a collection of slightly different worlds in a seemingly never-ending galaxy–it becomes an examination of the meaning of life in a way that’s more valuable than all the gold or starships in its virtual galaxy.
In Short: A stunning technical achievement and a mesmerisingly addictive one, even after you realise how simplistic and repetitive it really is.
Pros: Enormous game world is a pleasure to explore even when you know all its tricks. Competent space and land combat. Excellent art design and soundtrack.
Cons: Highly repetitive main gameplay loop, that requires little skill and offers little danger. Poor use of intelligent aliens. Flawed visuals when on a planet. Infuriating inventory and lots of minor bugs.
Ultimately, No Man’s Sky is a lovely and romantic science-fiction experience, which will remind veteran fans of the genre of classic books and artwork that made their childhood and younger years more colorful and exciting.
Yet, as the headline suggests, it’s not Everyone’s Sky. Those players who need a solid structure in their games will simply struggle to find a direction in No Man’s Sky, and will probably have a better time with games offering less freedom and scope, but more attention to the moment-to-moment gameplay.
On the other hand, if freedom, a relaxed pace, and a galaxy made of more stars that you’ll ever be able to visit make your heart beat, No Man’s Sky will grant you virtually infinite hours of adventure and joy, and fly with you where no man has gone before… Literally.
The magical tech behind No Man’s Sky has long been its selling point, so I guess the game’s nature as wide but shallow makes a lot of sense. Hello Games has built a set of tools that is amazing and unprecedented, something that could absolutely change the way huge games are made if placed in the right hands. But these powerful universe creation algorithms have been grafted onto a game that is, beyond its initial hours, so light on imagination. No Man’s Sky offers an incredible, impossible universe — but there’s little to do within it.
But, for that first ten hours or so, for that sliver of space-time where all of it is new, it’s quite brilliant. The design decisions you can point to as flaws are always at least understandable. It’s full of great ideas and great moments, regardless of how long it takes for you to get fed up of them. So while it’s difficult to give it a glowing recommendation, it’s impossible to hate. On balance, it succeeds – for just long enough to be worth going in.
After all the hype, all the promises, all the boasting of procedurally generated wonder and dynamic encounters, Hello Games’ “ambitious” spacefaring game is little more than just another crafting and survival experience, more about performing mundane, repetitive tasks than providing unique and exciting encounters.
No Man’s Sky is sadly one of the more disappointing games of the year, mixing small moments of grand wonder with inescapable hours of tedious, boring survival gameplay. If you’re willing to fight through that, there’s a game here for you. But it’s often not worth the effort.
What a shame. I suppose I’ll pick this one up in a bargain bin or wait for a sale – I still want to play it for myself, I still think it will be my zen game. I’m just not expecting it to blow my mind. Have you been playing it? Do you agree with the critics, or are you have a world (or several) of a good time playing it?
Last Updated: August 16, 2016