When No Man’s Sky was announced, it was showcased as something amazing…something absolutely epic. We were promised an endless universe which was limitless and impossible to fully explore, and we technically got that. Yeah, we got an endless universe, but the gameplay we were promised was not. Everyone felt cheated as the fans accused the developers of misrepresentation as critics widely burned this game down.
Designed by Gareth Bourn, No Man’s Sky was developed by Hello Games in 2016, and before critics bring their judgment they should realize that it is a team of 15 people, and it is, in fact, an indie game. For a game to have such high expectations it was no wonder we didn’t get some of the stuff we were promised. As a comparison, the team who made HALO had 750 members and the expectations for that game were actually lower.
Heralded as the bringers of the new age of convergence, this 15 people indie team clearly couldn’t take the responsibility, as no team in the world could. But, without actually trying to justify Hello Games, a lot of the stuff we were promised were actually there in No Man’s Sky.
We got the endless exploration experience and we got the unique planet systems with their own life, flora & fauna. And, it was the opinion of many serious critics that the game failed in some other aspects, like in multiplayer aspect of it.
In the first version, meeting another player was virtually impossible, even though all the players did share the same universe.
A year after the game was released, in 2017, Hello Games tried to repair its flaws with a major 1.3 update. It was primarily targeted towards the multiplayer aspect. They’ve added the possibility to form a party, and also a visual indication that there are other players on the same planet as you are. You could also chat with them, but there still weren’t joint ventures and missions for parties. They also added about 30 hours of campaign mode, which made the questing and the entire game more interesting. Also, building a base offered much more options.
Many problems remained, but the game got significantly better, and Hello Games have shown that they listen to the fans. And, this just showed that No Man’s Sky was released as an incomplete game.
The latest update
Needless to say, all efforts of Hello Games were targeted at pleasing the fans, and the most common flaws pointed out by the critics. This patch prioritizes multiplayer, and character customization, together with some other big changes which are practically making a new game out of the No Man’s Sky, sort to say.
Multiplayer & Character Customization
You can now join up with random strangers and form parties to construct colonies, shelters, or even engage in space battles. The character customization is added to help differentiate player’s avatars, so now you can personalize your appearance, switch up your species, change your outfit, and even hairstyles.
Not everyone you meet is automatically friendly, so it is advised to be cautious as you run into other players. Players can form parties and become space pirates, going around and stealing everyone’s loot.
Building and crafting
As of this patch, you will be able to invite your friends onto your own command freighter and tackle challenging missions. Together, your team can build a full fleet of ships, all customizable, as you can specialize in combat, exploration, trade, industry, or even support.
The materials and supplies you find can be used to build bases, anywhere, on any planet. This feature was also unavailable earlier, as you can now even build on top of mountains and under the sea. You can even change the terrain if you do not like how it shapes your base, with the improved terrain manipulator feature. You can use the manipulator to alter the planet’s shape or to excavate ancient treasures, which can be sold on the new space station marketplace.
The resources for customizations made to your fleet and bases, and for gear and equipment crafting, is reworked and rebalanced. Many resources now even have different names and completely different properties.
New story elements and a new tutorial which teaches advanced gameplay features are added in. Missions help players start up on their planet exploration and base founding. The tutorials also lead to new missions, which are linked in a storyline, giving the player a more immersive experience.
New photography, feeding, freighter attack/defense, archeology, and hunting missions are added to expand the player activity. Also, players won’t be getting their objectives from the same merchant either, as random NPCs and different stations will now be potential quest givers.
New & improved visuals
Visuals and the appearance of No Man’s Sky also got a complete overhaul, as the terrain generates much faster now. Ground, water, and cloud textures are greatly improved, and ship, NPC, and building details are tuned as well.
The game is now fully playable in first and third person views, regardless of whether you are in a ship or walking on the planet’s surface. Draw distance is also improved, as the planets appear much denser and lifelike with the new color pallet.
Flora and fauna
The creatures which inhabit the planets you explore will now interact with much more enthusiasm towards you if you feed them, letting you kind of domesticate them. They will also act much more intelligently and naturally, recognizing the players they’ve encountered before, or fleeing if they perceive unknown entities and sense danger. Also, not all flora and fauna are friendly, as there are plenty of new hazardous species of plants and animals, who will kill you if you are not careful.
No Man’s Sky seems to take the Destiny route, as Destiny was also shunned when it came out, but rose up to be a darn good game over the years. Hello Games certainly showed that it cares about what its fans think about the game, and they’ve delivered on what we’ve been most vocal about. The game now feels a lot different, and it does offer a much more fun, immersive experience, as the horizons are wider than ever before, and the multiplayer exploration can now truly begin.