Two weeks since the release of No Man’s Sky, and most of those 18 quintillion planets are still out there, just waiting to be named ‘Butts’. I’ve been playing the game since its release, and I thought I’d take a look back over my time with it so far.
When the game came out I actually thought it was pretty neat. Exploring my first planet was awesome! If you’re curious, it’s in the ‘Errahtun’ system, planet ‘Varung’ (I was convinced to not name anything childishly, and try and stick to the Sci-Fi genre. I’m cool, right?). I found some awesome animals, and made sure to rename all the planets in the system before I left, obviously. It was great, interesting, and even a tad exciting. No one had seen these things, these animals, or these planets. Just me! Which is why there’s a planet out there called ‘Hoonay’, with a small moon named ‘Hoonay’s Moonay’.
After those first few sessions, though, I started playing the game less and less. It’s been struggling to pull me back, granted I’ve been busy, but the more time that passed, the less I thought about it. After the first week, I was already bored of naming things; I never named the plants, only ever the planets, systems, and lifeforms. But slowly I saw the patterns, and naming everything I came across kept feeling more and more pointless.
My journey through the stars, and my interactions with the other alien races, has also become less and less meaningful at a rather rapid rate. I’m not sure what’s going on, and that open-ended curiosity that was once there when I started, is now just confusion and apathy. I’m not sure what these aliens are doing, or why I should even care if they like me. Other than the fact that they give me blueprints, which I mostly don’t use, I have no idea why they’re out here. Where are their home planets? What are they doing? I thought there might be an answer, but I’ve seen no real clues of any so far. The lack of growth and life in the game has really begun to grind into me faster than I’d thought.
What I have found, is that my enjoyment of the game goes up, the less attention I give it. Which may sound like an insult, but you soon learn that No Man’s Sky is a gentle, soft, and relaxing game.
Jumping in for an hour, listening to a podcast and running around - it’s pretty cool. But once that hour is up, or once I’m pulled out by one thing or another, I struggle to get back in. One such example happened while I was playing, listening to a podcast, and traveling to a new system. I made it to the next system, and came across something awesome that I’d never seen before. A huge space battle. Well, kind of huge, it was about fifteen ships and I was thrown straight into the middle of it. For a moment, I was amazed, and then I was annoyed. I wasn’t prepared, my ship was too weak, and I only managed to take down a few of them before they killed me. By the time I respawned and came back, it was all over. I was mostly just frustrated, and my relaxed mood lost.
Currently, my main goal is to follow Atlas, but the more I do, the more pointless it feels. The game is far more fun when you set yourself some goals, and originally, mine was to get a better ship. Which I got. It’s cool. Now I’m back to just following Atlas. I’m ignoring planets just to skip through the systems, constantly hoping to discover something new and exciting. But now I always have that thought in the back of my head, that when I come across that ‘exciting’ thing I’m after, I’ll likely be unprepared and waste it.
It sounds like I’m being down on the game, but the further I go, the further it loses me. I’m hopeful they’ll introduce new things, I want the game to be great, but at the moment it’s rather dry. Planets don’t wow me anymore, animals are either annoying or boring, and combat isn’t always that much fun. Whatever they add, these great ideas they want to bring, it needs to have some purpose behind it.
I’ll stick with it for now, in the coming months it’ll likely be a healthy hour of refuge every now and then. But once that hour is up, once something pulls me out, I’m not sure where it will go. Let’s not forget that in the run up to Christmas, which is actually going to be starting soon, crazy right? Anyway, in the run up to Christmas, a lot of big AAA games are about to come out with a big push. Can No Man’s Sky survive that? I’m not sure, but unless it does something interesting soon, there’s a chance it won’t.
Having said all of this, I’ve enjoyed many hours of No Man’s Sky, and that initial wonder I felt when I first started is something I still remember with joy.
If you’d like to read our review of No Man’s Sky, you can do so right here.