Saturday, 4 February 2017

No Man's Sky - What Could Have Been


No Man's Sky, I sigh just thinking of the name. An ambitious project undertaken by Sean Murray and his team at Hello Games back in 2013, it first came into mainstream media attention back at E3 2014. A game that promised much more than any before it, with an almost infinite number of "Earth Sized" planets to explore each with it's own ecosystem, wildlife and resources to discover. But despite these promises there's only one word I can use to describe this game; Empty.

What We Got

Now to call it a bad game would be unfair, the problem was that it was advertised as so much more. Over-hyped would be an understatement in relation to how much people were looking forward to this game that was in development for over 3 years. Countless push-backs from it's original and predicted release date just made the problem worse, as many had hoped for an October 2015 release as the game looked polished and ready to go. When it finally released in August 2016 we had been waiting too long, and we expected too much of a relatively new independent or "Indie" developer.

Although some of the planets look spectacular and are thriving with plants and animals most of them just appear dull and barren. To even find a decent planet one must stray off the paths the game advises you to follow. I also think the game could have done a lot better with the intelligent species that are found across the galaxy. I think having towns or cities would have been a spectacular addition but instead there is 4 or 5 little base like settlements that get all too repetitive.
There's also a lot of animals that just look absurdly unrealistic and many of the aquatic animals can be found stuck in the sky or the sand. The original product was broken and full of these kind of bugs which sadly is the case with games these days in general. Games are rushed to meet consumer demand and are rarely a finished product when they are released, a big problem in the industry today. NMS was just another example of this growing problem.

Although the recent foundation update fixed most of these issues and in my opinion really improved the game, it was a case of too little too late for Hello Games. This game could have went down as one of the best of all time, but now tops most lists of disappointments. I'm not going to lie I do really like this game but after the first week or two of pure amazement the wonder and awe just ceases to exist. No multiplayer features was also a big let down, as flying around space discovering new worlds with your friends could have been something truly unique.

Final Thoughts

It may not have been what I was expecting but it was still a solid game, and for Sean Murray and his team it was a solid first outing into the world of Triple A's. And although it may bring up the question what could have been, I would still give the game a standing ovation for what it tried to achieve.

Final Rating: 8/10

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