With a major new No Man’s Sky update about to launch on the PlayStation, PC and Xbox, the game about infinite exploration in a procedurally-generated universe is suddenly the hot topic de jour. Indeed, creator Sean Murray has recently given a candid (and fascinating) interview to Eurogamer, which I recommend you read.
Much of the No Man’s Sky debate tends to centre on the question: “So is it GOOD now??” Not everyone is convinced that this ‘acquired taste’ of a game can ever reach an acceptable standard of interplanetary adventuring, no matter how persistent and funky the updates.
Now, I’ve no idea whether the upcoming NEXT download is going to massively transform the No Man’s Sky experience (although I think it will impact it significantly.) That being said, I thought it would be fun to come up with a list of reasons as to why people should start loving this epic and ambitious title… Update or no update. Let’s get started.
Reason 5: It’s like 2001
No, not the year 2001… That was all kinds of awful. But it’s clear that No Man’s Sky is heavily influenced by the Stanley Kubrick epic 2001: A Space Odyssey. In fact Sean Murray has admitted this in several interviews. Now I know I mentioned the phrase ‘acquired taste’ just above, and this movie certainly has its detractors, but the operatic sense of scale and the unsettling atmosphere and the creepy, creepy music certainly makes it one of the more unusual movies of the 20th century. No Man’s Sky captures some of its finest ethereal qualities and, love ’em or hate ’em, the game is worth trying for this reason alone.
Reason 4: The math
No Man’s Sky is worthy of respect even if you want to see every last copy spaghettified in the event horizon of a black hole. The planet-making formula devised by Sean Murray and the team at Hello Games means that No Man’s Sky contains a universe of 18,446,744,073,709,551,616 planets. As such, even if you managed to discover a new world every second without a pee break, it would still take 584 billion years to find them all, and not even Pokémon GO can offer that. For scale and variety, No Man’s Sky is definitely worth a look-in.
Reason 3: The centre of the galaxy
You’re pretty much free to do what you want in a session of No Man’s Sky, but the overarching mission – should you choose to accept it – is to reach the centre of the galaxy. This is no mean feat, and one that not every player will achieve. However, for the hardened explorer, there’s a surprise waiting for you at journey’s end. Is the possibility of unravelling the mystery of the universe enough to pull you through?
If you’re interested in having a go, the brains at Polygon have come up with a detailed guide so that you can reach the heart of the galaxy in… well, weeks probably. There’s also a handy video that shows you exactly what lies at the galactic centre, if you’re not feeling up to the trip…
Reason 2: You get to name stuff
One of the more interactive elements of the No Man’s Sky experience is that you get to name the various planets that you visit, as well as the fauna and flora that you discover on your travels. These names can then be uploaded to the cloud and shared with your fellow galactic adventurers. Moreover, this feature highlights just how unique each person’s experience of No Man’s Sky can be; the chances of you starting the game on a world that has already been discovered are infinitesimally small. (Although it happened to me on my first playthrough, ha!) There’s a level of personalisation that allows you to truly ‘own’ your gaming experience.
Reason 1: The music
Much of the No Man’s Sky soundtrack is procedurally-generated, meaning that it creates itself organically depending on the environments that you find yourself in. It’s been described as ‘math-rock’ and is notable for its epic vision; in fact the audio files are amongst some of the largest on the game’s disc. And what genre is it? I’m the last person to ask, but it was all created by a band called 65daysofstatic, who Wikipedia describes as an “instrumental experimental rock” ensemble. Which means there are drums, right? In any case, the band has created a very seductive soundscape, and one that deeply immerses you in the lonely and colourful universe of No Man’s Sky.
So there we are. Is all this enough to encourage you to install the No Man’s Sky update, or even play the game for the very first time? Is there anything about the game that you think should be added to this list? Would you really be spaghettified if you passed over the event horizon of a black hole, or would you travel through into a different dimension?? Let me know in the comments below.
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