Almost every open-world game tries to create an immense environment for players can get lost in. With every new title that comes out we get larger and larger maps, from entire cities to whole continents. However, No Man’s Sky has just raised the bar immeasurably, with an infinitely expanding galaxy where you have countless planets, star systems and all the space in between them to explore at your leisure.

Exploration is the main emphasis of the game, which is why No Man’s Sky constantly rewards you for finding and interacting with new things, as well as for any of the in-game milestones you achieve. Your main goal is traveling to the Center of the Galaxy, but you can freely explore, trade, gather resources and even participate in space battles instead. Actually, you’ll need to do all that just to gather the technology that will allow you to complete your mission.

Gathering resources presents its own unique rewards as a way to progress your character. Throughout your space adventures, you’ll acquire blueprints of new items to craft, and even upgrades that require crafting materials. Overall, the system of progression is surprisingly well-paced given how large the game is. You’ll find yourself continuing to explore and gather resources even after hours of playing the game, mainly thanks to the thrill of discovery that keeps you going from planet to planet. As you discover new planets, plants and animals, you’ll have the option to rename almost all of them, and then go online and share your discoveries with other players.

No Man's Sky review

There’s so much to discover because No Man’s Sky’s universe relies on a procedural algorithm to create a unique and immense galaxy. Each planet you find is completely randomized, and it is impossible to foresee the wonders that await you on the surface. When traveling through space, planets give off a natural glow that draws you towards them with promises of resources, technology and most of all adventure. As you get closer, the finer details start to appear, and seeing a whole planet spread before you can be truly magnificent. Upon landing, however, the entire planet is revealed to be either a hit or miss.

The game relying completely on procedural generation can have a positive and negative effect on your experience. Planet surfaces can either have a wealth of bizarre fauna and flora just waiting to be cataloged, or it can be a baron, uninteresting wasteland. During my play through, I’ve encountered my fair share of both. Even the creatures you do find on planets can range from cool and majestic to broken abominations that would never have survived the process of natural selection. I’ve seen huge creatures with wings that can’t fly or barely move, winged fish that fly through the air, and deformed teddy bears. You heard me.

No Man's Sky review

Although No Man’s Sky heavily emphasizes randomness, it follows the same sets of rules to the point where you start to see a linear pattern. The first hour of No Man’s Sky is by far the slowest ונ the game. As you start your adventure, you’ll be tasked with repairing your ship, as well as learning the basics of gathering resources. Your character also moves very slowly and your jetpack does little to help you traverse the landscape due to the speed at which it depletes. Exploring a huge world at a slow pace right at the beginning of the game feels like a real chore, and might cause some players to abandon No Man’s Sky right then and there. Even the small upgrades you get almost 10 hours into the game just barely makes traveling on foot bearable.

The game does not tell you much on how most mechanics work and the in-game tutorial is mediocre at best. No Man’s Sky heavily relies on menus and you’ll constantly visit them to craft, manage and refuel your various tech as you pick up resources along the way. The crafting system and trading system is easy to understand, but the game’s use of a courser and menu layout that is similar to Destiny turns the menus into rather cumbersome experience, especially on console.

No Man's Sky review

The ambiance in No Man’s Sky is very distinct, and the sheer beauty of its cosmos is awe-inspiring. It’s a game where you can truly say every environment looks unique, and sometimes even beautiful. While it’s no graphical powerhouse, the visuals, both up in space and down on the surface, can be really impressive. I say “can” because there are enough glitches to never let you get fully immersed in this space adventure. The music that plays as you explore the galaxy creates a sense of mystery, and the howling sounds of creatures on the surface lends life to your surroundings. Alien grunts and even robotic beeps give personality to the many life forms you’ll encounter in deep space. The minor downside that sometimes pulls you out of the atmosphere of the game is your robot companion’s voice. He constantly of the resources you need to find to survive, and it becomes bothersome really quickly.

No Man’s Sky is a vast game, filled with huge amount things that can be discovered. The game does have graphical glitches here and there but the overall beauty of the galaxy is simply breathtaking. There are questionable decisions in the design of the game that makes it irritating at times, but the sheer variety of worlds to explore keeps me coming back for more. Although it’s by no means a perfect game, I hope that the DLC and patches can fill the some of the empty spaces.

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