If you were given a second chance, would you take it? Probably. But would you also give a second chance to someone else? See, the universe works with both forgiveness and grudges, both anger and love, and we must forgive those who deserve it.
So it felt like if Hello Games was confident enough to not only to relaunch No Man’s Sky, called NEXT (which stands for Not EXpecting This) on the Xbox One, it strangely assured me that they were confident enough not to fuck this up.
You can’t blame me for being weary, but damn it, I wanted my stoner space travel game, man. Some people will even risk jail time just to threaten a developer into releasing a product sooner. Space travel in video games is taken very, very seriously.
Is No Man’s Sky ready to be taken that seriously? Hello Games has learned from the opening outrage with constant updates over the last 2 years, but has Sean also learned to be humble? Is NEXT what gamers wanted, or is it the same disappointment PS4 and PC owners felt at release?
What exactly is No Man's Sky? Is it an exploration sim, survival-crafting fucker-ino, or is it an expression, a symbol of Sean’s love for mankind?
It can be all of that, or none of it. No Man's Sky is an extension of you, a desire of your own heart to explore, to settle, to develop, to conquer. You have those inside you already. Sean just lets you express it with No Man's Sky.
Starting off, the learning curve is a bit steep, but it pays off. I’m not saying it’s like Cuphead tutorial-level hard, but it has its moments where I had to eventually look a damn thing up on the internet.
And the glitches... I’ll tell ya, the first few weeks were rough. I mean, this is Xbox One were talking about to start, so running a game like No Man's Sky is not a small feat. The fact that it runs at all could be considered a miracle in of itself!
But it is, at this point in the gaming world, forgivable. It’s a massive thing they’ve done, and the fact that they do correct the awful game-crashing or resetting bugs, and very quickly too, makes me feel fine. Maybe even loved a little bit.
Around hour 20, you’ve figured out this game and can go in any direction you want. Do you want to explore, gaining millions per planet through scans and resources? Do you want to expand, colonizing planet after planet, connected through a system of portals and bases? Maybe learning the mysteries or answering the random call on you spacecom?
Speaking of tools, there is plenty to use and upgrade with your multi-tool, a gun with alternating modes like lasers for mining or manipulating, guns for close, medium, or long-range combat, even grenade launchers. Add some upgrades to that Multi-tool and things get even more lucrative with every scan and faster in every resource farming.
There are enemies, such as pirates in space to sentinels above and below, to the random creature pissed at you for shooting its little baby. Also aliens with their own factions and languages for you to learn.
Sentinels are these annoying things that float around and make sure you don’t get the materials you need or take their precious Gravitino balls. The sentinels have a meter, from one to five atlases, that determine the size of force needed to stop you from attacking sentinels. Think GTA cops and you’ll know what to expect.
At hour 90, I was still seeing interesting and twisted sights. A rainbow of gases and skies are everywhere, and while not always the best looking, they still add to that dopamine rush from seeing something that no one else has ever seen.
And, as recently as Aug. 31st, the new weeklies that are available show how MMO this game could become, bringing people all together into one system. It was kind of neat, seeing all these message modules and talking to real people after the long quiet of space. I hope it continues to go that direction, maybe even making some co-op missions in the future?
I didn’t play around with the new fleets much in my hundred hour play-through. I got a couple, sent out some on missions, and I can see how using the command room to make your own mobile base could be a cool thing to have, it just doesn’t really seem to be worth my time. With portals, you can warp back to any space station or bases that you’ve established, making the need for a mobile fleet null, at least for the first galaxy.
Still, it has potential and that’s important to have in video game that is expected to keep growing. Even the ability to warp in your fleet after going to the center of the galaxy and being reset, makes Fleets a true, pan-dimensional mobile base.
Speaking of bases, the base building is robust, giving hundreds of options on buildings, colors, and cosmetics, and all of it was extremely easy to use and work with. There were problems though. Terrain manipulation is not something No Man's Sky likes to remember, and soon your bases will return to the planetary dust in which they formed, filled in at places you've spent hours digging through.
The variety of ships is something to say. It's not jaw-dropping, but there are plenty of variations, and the occasional S-class has the ability to really make your dick hard with it’s upgradable maneuverability and superior firepower. Makes you feel like your Darth Vader, fucking fools up for the lulz.
But there is the problem of no customization options for your ship’s look. I want to at least be able to choose the color scheme, but Sean said I am not worthy. No one is. Except for him and his neon purple S-class 48+14 hauler.
The time it takes warping from planet to planet, system to system isn’t bad, it's just that they could have done with something more interactive. For now, we are afforded the ability to clean up our inventory in between planetary jumps, and do nothing in between system jumps. I don’t mind, the star warp animation is cool to stare at, it’s just that Sean showed it being only like a few seconds three years ago. Hello, Sean, it’s (insert current year here), I need my insta-star system warps please, thanks.
The creatures are interesting, but no where near the Jurassic Park-looking quality Sean suckered us into all those years ago. There is some big monsters, and some dino-looking types around, it’s just that they look like they’re from a sixties monster movie. A bad sixties monster movie. Imagine paying for a ticket to see Jurassic World only to find out it’s We’re Back: A Dinosaur's Story.
And the main purpose of the game, the gettin’ to the center of the galaxy, it’s a sham. A fake. A phony. You get there and it just pans out, leaving the galaxy and entering a whole new one… With no way of transporting back. Only you, your ships, and your gear, albeit busted all to shit, make it through the intergalactic journey.
The good thing is that No Man's Sky is getting bigger, better, and faster with every update. I like that Hello games has kept putting effort into their game. But let’s be honest, this game is all that they’ve got. If Sean fucked this up as badly as he did with the launch, they would have gone the way of THQ or some other developers, like Bioware, becoming a big corporation’s bitch.
I think it was a good thing, that fucked-up launch. It helped them realize that they weren’t invincible. There was still much more work to be done to No Man’s Sky, and I think there always will be. If we look at the launch as a beta or early-access release, then NEXT truly does become the much more realized and complete No Man’s Sky experience. And that’s all I ever wanted to start.
As I’ve said before on the streams, I would have hated this game if I played it at launch. It looked like shit. The comparison between the demo and the actual game was so rough, it made those assholes who sent death threats for the game’s release look even more pathetic.
It’s like having to go jail because you broke into a 7/11 for a slurpee, but the slurpee machine was broken; You’re spending years in prison because you wanted something that wasn’t even there to get.
Rating: 5 out of 5. This game is absolutely perfect at what it seeks to do: Send you out with an entire galaxy to explore, allowing you to fulfill your destiny among the stars in anyway that you choose.
There are bugs, there are glitches, and there are a few things that can tear you away from the immersion, but those are becoming fewer and fewer as time goes on. Hello Games is still banking on this game and they should. The gamers who bought it in the state it was in deserved this update, and the Xbox One owners who were given a first chance to purchase No Man's Sky were not ripped off.
Sean loves us. He wants us to be happy. He just needed some time and help to get us there. And I’m glad to now be on that journey with him, jumping back in to experience new patches and weekly content. As long as he keeps this going, I think those death threats will turn into love letters, and Sean’s universe can shine as it was intended to.
And a huge shout-out to Curator Sarm and @CaliMeatWagon for their informative and ongoing playthroughs of No Man's Sky! Check them out and experience the universe from a much more enlightened and dignified perspective.