Wednesday, February 27, 2019
Reader Submitted: Game Review - No Man's Sky
By Xymbers Slade/Aegis Hyena
It's been a long long time since I've written for the Newser (only reason I don't come back to Second Life is because "Why? I did what I wanted to do there" and I'm out of touch now anyway). I've been wanting to write this one for a long time for Bixyl, so here it is.
The game was marketed as being all procedural. With over 18,000,000,000,000,000,000 planets, it marketed as everything being new and original. The problem is, is that it's a computer game. Computer games need assets. As I wrote in a steam review, "There's not enough assets on this planet (heh) to completely make it seem like the universe truly has random plants and animals on every planet."
On top of that (also copied word for word from my review), they took a concept and applied a synonym to it... while you might find an Abandoned Planet somewhere, you'll find the mostly the "same kind" of planet if you find one that is marked Airless, Dead, Desolate, Empty, Forsaken, Life-Incompatible, Lifeless, Low Atmosphere, or Terraforming Catastrophe -- one planet type, many descriptors to simulate depth even though it's the same bloody thing. Come on, devs, you can do better than that. Problem is it requires work time and money which most people don't have.
You start alone, and while there is a multiplayer function, I think it's more fun as singleplayer. Sometimes other players CAN warp into your system, and by default voice is activated, so you can communicate with the visitor for trade or PVP or whatever. I've only seen one visitor (because the universe is vast -- it's *that* rare that it happens) in my time playing and might soon jump into multiplayer and trade with whomever I randomly join.
There are three races in the universe: The Korvax (computer hivemind), the Gek (lizard-people) and the Vy'keen (reskinned Klingons). I haven't followed the lore enough to learn more about them.
As with any game of this large a scope, there are an unfortunate amount of bugs. There are more bugs in this game than there are lies coming out of most politicians these days. One bug is a "crate" bug, where you can't remove stuff (I find shutting down the game and coming back 15 minutes later wakes it up). This bug is almost 3 years old, so either the devs won't fix it, can't, or don't know how without breaking the game. Another bug is that locations you loot can only be looted once. If the game later assigns the location as a quest, the terminal is already looted and the quest can't complete. A third bug has quest "return locations" go to empty spots where there is no questgiver present to give the reward, so the quest has to be abandoned.
The opening questlines are very linear. You can't "hire randomly" -- you need to go to specific spots for specific races to join your base, wherever you decide to build it. If the quest requires you to make antimatter, and you find some elsewhere first to use it to warp to another system before you follow the steps / get the recipe for it in order to make it, it'll bug out and possibly lead to problems later.
Finally, and this thing bugs me, is that you can only have nine crates. These crates are twice your size, but only have five slots (a starting exosuit has about 25). If later you get a freighter, the crates you put there mimic the ones you have on the ground, sharing their inventories. What genius was responsible for that idea? This is the 9999th century up in space here. There should be planets that sell warehouse space!
Overall, the devs got pushed too hard too fast, paid for it, TRIED to rebound (18% positive to 80% positive as of two or so weeks ago, it's back down to about 50% now) and are at least TRYING to come through on their promises. It's still not worth the $60 asking price, so I say get it if it's on sale as an impulse buy. It gets three dragon hoards out of five from me, because at least they're trying and will continue to try.
Editor's note: When I wrote about the problems of "No Man's Sky" in Sept 2016, it looked like the game's days were numbered. It seems it's been sticking around due to enough people continuing to buy, the developers determined to redeem themselves, or something of both.