I really want No Man’s Sky to be good. Everything about it punches the right buttons – all that open world exploration? So hot for that. I’m the kind of person who plays games like Skyrim or Fallout and immediately ignores all missions in favour of wandering. What can I find? What will I see?
In terms of the exploration in No Man’s Sky, this is what Hello Games founder Sean Murray had to say to me: “That’s what we want from the game: for you to travel between cool, vibrant environments but actually have real challenge. To feel vulnerable and that you’re fighting against it. It makes your discoveries more significant, more meaningful. You’re not endlessly, ambiently bouncing from planet to planet. Actually to see what’s over the other side of that hill you have to really fight for it, and when you get there you might be freezing to death, run out of energy, have nothing in your weapon. And then it makes that sunset a bit more special.”
Which sounds amazing. I want that. But having finally played the game I honestly can’t tell you if it delivers any of it. Even with some hands-on time it still feels like all I have to go on is the promise. The limited (and strictly enforced) half hour I got to play gave me little more to add to what you may have seen. I can tell you the guns gun and the planets planet but that’s about it. For a game offering near limitless potential, such a restricted playthrough reveals nothing.
In my brief time exploring I managed three planets in a rushed attempt to see as much as I could. It easily takes 5-10 minutes to fly between neighbouring planets …