No Man’s Sky: One Year Later Review
Back when No Man’s Sky launched a year ago, I wrote a post about my first impressions of the game. There were things I liked and things I didn’t like. I even wrote up a list of suggestions that would make the game better.
I stumbled on this post and realized that a LOT has changed in NMS… so I wanted to do a round-up and take a look at how many of my concerns and suggestions were addressed. So, here we go!
My Annoyance List
Long… long… long… loading screens.
This hasn’t changed, mostly due to the fact that the game has to load shaders and stuff when warping and loading the game. I’ve learned to live with it.
Slow. So very slow.
Just walking (which you do a TON of) has two speeds: snail-slug slow and a little less slow. The “running” doesn’t feel like running, just a slightly faster walk.
Interacting with aliens starts to feel like it takes an eternity. You get something like a cut scene, then the alien takes forever to speak to you and then the relevant game text slowly fades in.
They’ve added ground vehicles to let you get around faster now. Walking and running are still slow, but at least there’s another option.
They actually fixed the alien cutscene and talking slowness pretty early one. You can choose to skip through the Milestones pop-ups and you can now click to speed up the loading of alien text. This was a huge improvement!
In addition to that, you can now insta-warp to space stations from your base, plus the use of portals (which I haven’t done yet).
Just bad. I know you slowly increase your slots, but that seems to be the only real progression when it comes to ships and suits. There is never enough room for any of the things you find.
Inventory is still tight on ships and suits, however, now there is a designated section of slots for upgrades vs. cargo, which helps a lot. Also, you can put holding containers on your base and own your own freighter!
So inventory options have improved a lot, though you have to work to achieve it.
Lack of quest clarity.
I’m okay with a game that doesn’t hold my hand, but I feel like the the little bit of tutorial we do get is not very clear.
There’s still some wonkiness with quests, but the addition of a log makes the experience much better. The new storyline also works as an extended tutorial, and has been pretty solid so far.
Exploration starts to feel redundant.
You do the same sort of thing on every planet – find discarded ships, fix them up to upgrade your ship. Find new upgrades for your weapon and exosuit.
There’s SO much more to find and do now. Many more biomes were added over the last year, plus different kinds of points of interest and different ways to locate them. It’s much easier to be able to build your own signal booster to find what you’re looking for.
I also noticed that there are some things you can’t mine or gather until you have specific upgrades. Some plants require a hazmat type protection while some minerals require advanced mining tools. So, there’s a variation in all of that.
My one major wish is to see more variety in animal life now.
Constantly pacifying Life Support.
There’s no eating in this game, but you have to “feed” the life support to keep your exosuit systems online and not die.
This is still a thing. HOWEVER. They added a creative mode that allows you to play the game without this bothering you all the time. So, now, you have an option.
No way to easily toggle UI to take nice screenshots.
So there is a way to completely turn off the HUD in the PC version, but it requires you to go to the Options menu and turn it off in a setting every time you want to take a screenshot.
I’ve just recently discovered the camera mode, and it is fantastic! Pressing X allows you to toggle between tools, including the camera. When in camera mode, the world freezes and you can change several aspects, such as your camera view, the time of day, that sort of thing. It’s really above and beyond what I could have hoped for!
They haven’t killed me yet, but man, they’re a pain in the behind.
They’re still there. BUT. You can now choose to call backup from the local space station, or even pay off the pirates to leave you alone. Shooting them down is worth a lot, however…
I like that you can’t crash your ship… or I’d be doing it all the time. But it bugs me that I can’t fly down lower over the surface of a planet, and how much a pain it is to estimate a landing on a planet.
Low flight was added in Atlas Rising patch! This is truly wonderful… I had actually been using a mod before this to achieve the same thing.
No Man’s Sky feels like a very static world in that you never see aliens just going about everyday life. You dock in the space station or trade outpost and its always empty of activity… until you’ve been there a little while.
This is still a thing, though it’s getting better. It seems PoIs and space stations feel a bit more lively than they used to. There’s still no aliens to be seen outside of trade posts, or daily life, but having your own base and putting NPCs there helps.
So I made a list of suggestions that would improve the game, IMHO. Let’s see how things look now.
I need to build things and make something of my own. Right now, I just drift from world to world, but nothing has any personal worth to me.
Bases were added last year. I am just starting to explore base building, but I like what I see so far!
Let me build a little moon rover or hover bike or something.
Yep. They added them. Again, I haven’t built one myself, but I’m looking forward to playing with one.
Give life to NPCs.
I love learning the alien languages and earning reputation with different races. But see above for all my complaints on how static the aliens are right now.
I feel like the game is moving that direction. The Atlas Rising story helps put names and stories to NPCs, which is a good thing. Recruiting NPCs for your base also helps.
Bookmarks, maps or quick return.
I need a way to be able to mark and return to places I’ve explored before.
You can create waypoints to systems you’ve explored before, though I haven’t messed around with that much.
You can also now warp between your base and the space station, which is really nice.
Portals were just introduced in Atlas Rising, but I’ve yet to play far enough to see their functionality.
Also, ships can now be summoned to certain locations. I was stoked when I saw that my ship portaled with me between my base and the space station!
Better inventory management!!!!
Separate upgrades from inventory.
Yep, they did this.
This is a pipe dream. But what’s the point in discovering all these cool things if you can’t show it to someone else? I’d LOVE an online encyclopedia of your discoveries — a webpage that you can pull up that shows the worlds and creatures you discovered. Something you can link to and send to other people.
While this is still a pipe dream for the overall game, the community is actually working on doing this through the Hub Project. Good work, guys!
Well, dang. It sure does look like No Man’s Sky has either completely addressed or has improved on areas that I had issues with when I first played the game a year ago. That’s pretty crazy, if you think about it.
We all have lists of things we hope that our favorite games will do, but rarely have I seen a game turn around and actually handle almost all of my complaints and issues. Not only did NMS deliver, but it often went beyond what I hoped for… all in FREE patches.
Now, instead of wishing for improvements, I can start looking forward to being delighted by the development to come. Good job, Hello Games!