The will likely be spoilers, but should I talk about something super new I'll warn ya. But consider this a pre-emptive warning! You're WARNED!

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

A Few Days Exploring Under NO MAN'S SKY

No Man's Sky has finally arrived this week after years–YEARS–of hype, discussion, hype deflation, publicity, videos, and a near-constant chorus of gamers and non-gamers alike asking "What exactly do you do in this game?" You fly around in space, explore some of the 18 quintillion procedurally-generated planets, and...? It's been a bit of a mystery and it's caused much "buy or do not buy" waffling on the part of audiences, including this humble blogger. So, you're mostly just checking stuff out? Would that be enough to sustain interest? As exploration is one of my very favorite things to do in a game, I finally decided that yes, it would sustain my interest. I took the plunge, and now I can tell you what exactly you do and do not do in No Man's Sky. Maybe you're still waffling. Maybe you're anticipating. I don't know your business! I'm just here to help.

Oh by the way, "quintillion" is a real thing. It's a number with 18 zeroes. I believe it's derived from the Latin for "a fuck ton."

As the game begins, you wake up on a planet next to your crashed ship. To get off of this planet and continue your journey towards the center of the galaxy–ostensibly the goal of the game–you've got to fix your ship and its hyperdrive. And that's pretty much it. There are no "quests" per se beyond fixing your ship and traveling to another solar system. You are on your own to do whatever you want, and the game never really "ends", for once you reach the center of your galaxy you can simply zap to another one. Good luck, traveler.

my starting planet

Everyone's journey will be completely different, but the pieces of each journey are much the same. There will be survival involved, whether it's simply patching up the wear and tear on your exosuit or replacing the depleted shields that protect you from a planet's harsh environment. You'll be crafting–there's a lot of crafting, and you know how crafting can be in games. You want to craft item A, which is made by combining items B and C. So you have to craft those first, but you find that Item B is made by combining items D and E...and so on. It can be a pain to juggle all the materials necessary–including minerals mined and found–with your limited starting inventory space.

I lucked out with my starting planet. It was temperate and teeming with flora and fauna and resources. I spent my entire first session on that one planet! Given how much exploring you'll do, you be making discoveries, from endemic species to outposts and ruins. You can rename animals (and planets and star systems) if you want and upload them to the galactic database. A friend named one weird-looking thing "Tippy Toes Rude AF TBH", so if you should ever find the planet he was on, look out for that because it was mean. You may come across crashed ships that you're welcome to repair and take for your own. You may find monoliths or ruins that  impart a bit of history of an alien species, which will aid you in learning different galactic languages.

This is Stripy Pal

Those are most of the things you will be doing planetside. You can travel on foot or use your ship once it's fixed. How much joy this all gives you is up to...well, you. Perhaps by the second monolith you'll be bored out of your mind. Maybe you'll see another 8-legged cow-thing, except this one has fins and you'll find that's not enough variety for you because here's the thing: there are nearly countless permutations, but ultimately there are only so many building blocks for this universe. I've stopped on eight planets so far and they've all been wildly different. I've experienced a barren moon and an oceanic world dotted with tiny islands, a lush garden world, a pink radioactive nightmare world, and a place pulled straight from a Lisa Frank wet dream.

Likewise with the animals I've encountered. There's Stripy Pal up there. I had a massive, floating space crab follow me for a while after I fed it some iron. I was attacked by a herd of pissed off, bouncing space pineapples.

You can't tell size here, but this thing was the size of like five Buicks 

On the flipside of all of that, some people have started the game on Planet Clusterfuck, with limited resources and toxic environments, where they can't enjoy much because they're simply trying to survive. I can see how this might start your journey on a total downer and.

It's possible to make a beeline for the center of the galaxy with only brief stops for refueling, or you can explore every planet and moon you encounter along the way. It is total freedom, and for now I'm having a blast. I've never been able to resist a question mark that pops up on the radar, and I'm always curious about what may be lurking over the horizon. No Man's Sky is the ultimate "the journey is the destination" game; it ain't gonna be for everybody. It might be for some people for one or two sessions. For me, for now, it's pure space delight. Onward! Only 17,999,999,999,999,999,992 planets to go.


Knarf Black XIV said...

I hate space pirates! They keep stealing my gold.

I've yet to die on land, but I have yet to survive a fight in space. There is always one guy left by the time I run out of zinc. Time to go find some shield upgrades.

Stacie Ponder said...

I have not encountered any pirates at all, nor have I been in any ship fights! Which is good because my space jalopy would blow up in two hits, I'm sure. I did die once on land and I was treated to a Lovecraft quote, so it was worth it.

Stacie Ponder said...

Okay, update, I've been attacked by pirates plenty of times now! I try to switch valuables from my ship inventory to my exosuit inventory when I take off–the more you have, the more pirates will attack–so I usually only have to fend off one or two. I've been attacked by 5+ as well, though, and that...hasn't ended well. Going back to visit your own grave (to reclaim goodies) is a strange experience, existentially speaking.

Traveller28 said...

Finally onto my third planet with a sh*t gun :(

Am finding the mining thing tedious beyond belief. Want to find a planet full of sentient female sex robots but not sure if the game would allow for that.

Back to SW Battlefront unless something really gets my attention.

Stacie Ponder said...

Procedurally generated sex robots...might have to wait for someone to mod in Fisto.