No Man’s Sky First Impressions

Originally published on Trevor Trove on August 10, 2016

Like many people, I dove into No Man’s Sky the past couple days. And I think, like fewer people, my expectations of the game have been appropriately tempered for the last year or so. When they started showing off real in-depth gameplay around E3 last year, I had the game pegged as “Minecraft-esque survival game in space.” And while I’ve never played Minecraft, I’m getting what I expected it would be.

I spent a few hours last night with the game. Died about 10 minutes in, gunned down by Sentinels. But then I started getting the hang of things. Went through all of the early-game “tutorials” to get my ship up and running and get a hyperdrive system installed so I could start bouncing across the stars. It’s nice and relaxing (so long as I’m not getting into run-ins with the Sentinels or jerk spaceships in orbit trying to kill me).

I’m progressing along just fine (I think). I haven’t identified all of the animals on any planets yet but all of the other leveling attributes are slowing ticking their way up. I’m pretty much always running out of room in my inventory though, leaving me really wanting some sort of storage so I don’t have to just sell off or destroy things when I need to free up precious room.

And the game certainly made an impression. I woke up early this morning and instead of trying to go back to sleep for a couple hours, hopped on and explored the galaxy a bit more instead. Impressive is the game that can outweigh the desire for sleep. I am not a morning person so the fact that I was playing it at 6am is a little insane.

I took some time at work to look up a couple of tips and tricks articles to implement when I got home and then I spent another three or four hours with it this evening. But I definitely feel like I’m just wandering aimlessly now. The early game kept me very task-oriented: get this mineral, build this thing, install this upgrade, etc. But tonight was about me identifying my own goals and that’s not really how I tend to play games. I have a hyperdrive full of fuel but instead of plowing through systems I played pretty much the entire session tonight just hopping from planet to space station to planet. Collecting minerals, selling them, repeat.

I’m still enjoying the game well enough, but I’m also acutely aware that there’s not much more to it that I’m missing out on. I can be a lot more cutthroat upgrading my equipment and battling foes as needed, but the core loop of get stuff, craft a warp core, go to a new system, is probably wearing a bit thin.

We’ll see if I’m up at it again in 6 hours.

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