My time with No Man’s Sky (PC) so far

No Man's Sky screenshot

Against better judgement I ended up purchasing No Man’s Sky on Steam Friday. As much as I told myself to listen to all of the talk about the game not being all that great, I still wanted to see for myself.

Unfortunately, the PC release of No Man’s Sky has been somewhat of a trainwreck so far. Numerous people have reported that the game either constantly crashes, runs at a low or inconsistent framerate, or otherwise runs like complete garbage.

No Man's Sky screenshot

I’m running an AMD FX 8320 overclocked to 4GHz, a GTX 1060 and 16GB RAM and the game certainly doesn’t run smoothly. Fortunately it’s playable, but there are so many stutters in framerate and instances where the game just seems to crawl to a halt out of nowhere making it a nuisance to play for long periods of time.

Outside of the performance issues, I think I’m starting to reaffirm my belief that the game doesn’t have much substance. In my four hours or so of game time I haven’t found a lot of pleasure in discovering new creatures and plant life, because they all just look like variations on the same thing so far. Some things look cool, but they all act the same so there’s no real reason to interact with anything other than to farm resources.

No Man's Sky screenshot

One of the reasons I bought No Man’s Sky, despite my reservations about the game, was that I heard people tell unique stories that made it seem like everyone’s time with the game could be entirely unique. Unfortunately, withing four hours of playing I’ve already had the exact same experience described in stories I’ve heard others tell. One of them involved an interaction at a monolith and another an interaction with an alien. These would have made for wonderful experiences, had I not already known exactly what to do with the same outcome as those who told the stories previously.

No Man's Sky monolith

When I stopped playing this morning I had just made it to my second system and landed on the first planet there. I’m not entirely sure what to expect, but I have a sinking feeling that I won’t be able to tell the difference between any planet on this system compared to my first system.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Hopefully Hello Games hurries up and gets the PC version optimized so that it’s a more pleasurable experience. Until then I’ll probably hop in and explore for a few minutes a day and will continue to post about anything interesting I come across.

Advertisements

Thinking some more about No Man’s Sky

No Man's Sky inventory

More and more people are starting to get their hands on early copies of No Man’s Sky, and I’ve spent the last thirty minutes watching someone stream the game on Twitch hoping to get a better idea on whether this is a game I’m going to want to play. It could be argued that watching a Twitch stream of an “unauthorized” copy of a game is morally questionable, but it’s hard to decide not to watch when so little is known about the game just one week before its official release.

tweet

From what I’ve watched so far, I’m beginning to think more and more that No Man’s Sky might not be the game I’m looking for. It seems to rely heavily on resource gathering as a grind, or gateway hindering further exploration if that makes sense. The stream I’m watching is early on in the game, and the person playing has spent the last thirty minutes trying to gather the resources necessary to build a hyperdrive. The planet the person is on looks cool, but as far as I can tell there’s little incentive to look around and poke at things for any reason other than to find the resource required to advance the game. What’s more is that the person’s environmental suit and mining laser also require resources, so they must continually mine for these resources while mining for other resources.

Now there’s a lot of resource gathering involved in games like Minecraft, but Minecraft at least offers a nearly unlimited amount of things to do with those resources. No Man’s Sky seems to only require resources to perform one or two specific tasks, mostly just upgrading and acquiring new technologies. I could see how this could be fun, at least for awhile, but if the planets offer little more than a change of skin while mining resources I’m not sure I could see myself playing the game for many hours.

No Man's Sky screenshot

There’s still much more to learn about No Man’s Sky, and I certainly can’t base my opinion of the game on one streamer’s experience, but at the same time I feel like I’ve already had my fill. Maybe it’s a game that will be much more fun to play, rather than watch, but I think I’ll get easily bored if all the game asks of me is to find a series of resources on a series of unique planets if there’s little else to break up the monotony of shooting at things with a mining laser until they spill out their guts and fill up my inventory with minerals.

If No Man’s Sky were to be released today, I would probably buy it and see for myself. However, with eight days left before its PC release I’m afraid I’ll find that the idea of No Man’s Sky excites me less and less with each passing day.

No Man's Sky screenshot

The leak of No Man’s Sky is making me terribly conflicted

No Man's Sky

You’ve probably heard a lot about No Man’s Sky over the last week or so, after a dedicated gamer shelled out $1,300 for a leaked copy of the game. This gamer, who goes by the pseudonym daymeeuhn on Reddit, has been posting videos of early gameplay and his impressions of the game so far, which has caused quite the stir.

To be honest, I didn’t know a lot about No Man’s Sky to begin with, but I was determined to buy it, probably because of the insane amount of hype surrounding the game. It may be that much of this hype was generated by what people expected the game to be without much concrete evidence that the game would live up to these expectations. For many the leak has seemed to  dampen their excitement leading up to the official release of the game, while others have said that the leak has only made them more excited for the game.

Untitled.jpg

I’ve followed the advice of Hello Games’ Sean Murray and have steered clear of any leaked material, but it’s hard not to feel the effect of the leak. Even though I hadn’t previously looked into exactly what No Man’s Sky was supposed to be, I just had a gut feeling like I’d want to get into the action on day one and discover the universe alongside everyone else. Now I’m more afraid that if I buy it on release day I might find out first hand that it’s not what I wanted it to be. There’s still a nagging feeling that if I don’t get my hands on it next week I’ll miss out on all the discovery and wonder of the early stages of the game, before all its secrets get out and we begin to realize our experience might not be as unique as we thought it’d be.

CmyXY4jWcAAt9J5

Ultimately the events of the last week have me more conflicted than usual concerning whether to purchase a game I’ve been anticipating. It’s definitely incredibly frustrating to ignore the negativity leading up to a game’s release, only to end up kicking yourself when you find you should have listened to it (I got screwed with Battleborn already this year). At the same time, I feel like I’d be more angry if I waited a week or two and missed out on the magic of the No Man’s Sky experience early on.

At this point I’m just talking in circles, but unfortunately that’s exactly how I’m feeling about No Man’s Sky right now. If you want to read some much more coherent thoughts on the No Man’s Sky leak, Austin Walker’s article at VICE is a great read!