Friday, August 26, 2016

Review - No Man's Sky

The hype of No Man's Sky was real, but I wasn't sucked into it like many others. Over the years I heard of the game but didn't know much about it. That was till I read about how it was a wide open space exploration game where anything was possible. I figured I would give it a try, I am a sucker for a game where trading is one of the things you can do. So when No Man's Sky came out on the PC on August 12th 2016, I decided to pick it up. I was rather excited at the time to check it out and see what the buzz was all about.

First off I'd like to say that No Man's Sky is an impressive game. The ability to jump from planet to space and to another planet with no loading screen, is something I have never seen before in a video game. I remember my friends and I talking about how awesome it would be if a game could do that. No Man's Sky accomplishes this flawlessly. Another impressive thing about the game is the technology behind the procedurally generated planets and lifeforms. There is so many planets and lifeforms in the game that it would be impossible to catalog them all. I have to give majors props to the developers of No Man's Sky, because these three parts of the game are very impressive. But beyond the impressive technology, No Man's Sky is pretty basic to it's core.

When you start up No Man's Sky it randomly sets you up on one of the planets in the massive universe. Your ship is damaged and the game gives you a short tutorial on what do. Your Multi-Tool can be used to mine pretty much anything you see and can be used for combat. After you go through the tutorial and get your ship flying, you quickly find out that each part of what you can do in No Man's Sky is very basic. The controls of your ship are basic and limited, the game even doesn't allow you to crash into a planets surface. Your Multi-Tool only just mines and shoots, one button to mine/shoot another to change between the two. Trading is even very basic, all you do is go to a Space Station or Shelter and just walk up to a terminal and all it says is Sell or Buy. In theory you could buy something for a lower price and go to another planet or galaxy and trade it for higher price. But since this game is so basic, even the way-points and warping is simplified. The game just pushes you forward and makes it harder to go back to where you came from. These are just some examples, but you get the idea. No Man's Sky has no depth, it has everything at the very most basic and things start to repeat. Repetitiveness is pretty much what you start to see. Go to this galaxy, mine minerals, locate one of four things with signal scanners which are a Shelter, Outpost, Monolith, or Transmissions (which each of these always end up finding the same stuff and just keep repeating them selves). After that you gain enough minerals to warp to the next Galaxy and rinse & repeat. You can look for intelligent aliens and try to learn their language by finding Monoliths, but even this gets boring and repetitive. The intelligent aliens are always located in the same looking buildings and just sit or stand in one spot and offer you useless stuff. Like I said before, no depth, just an empty universe where your only goal is to either warp to the center of the universe or find more drop pods to expand your inventory. Oh and the inventory, don't get me started with how awful that is.

The inventory in No Man's Sky is very clumsy. You can store things on your person or your ship. You can transfer things from your personal inventory to your ship and visa-versa. You craft from your inventory, reload your weapons and systems, even create things needed to craft all within the inventory screen. Who ever thought up the inventory system in No Man's Sky had no clue what they were doing. 50% of your time is spent going in and out of your inventory to do basically everything. It is one of the worst inventory systems I have ever seen in a game and is pretty annoying. It sucks when you are in the middle of combat only to reload your Multi-Tool or Shields in the inventory. It takes you out of the immersiveness of the game.

The Plot, what plot? You wake up, fix your ship and explore. I didn't find any story in No Man's Sky. This isn't really a bad thing but just wanted to point it out. The only plot device I found was something called the Atlas, but no real story to tell.

Combat in No Man's Sky is basic, you point and shoot with the same tool you use for everything else. Even the combat in your ship is simple to the point where I just didn't enjoy any of it. Don't expect anything amazing here, it's basic like the rest of the game.

I said a lot of negative things about No Man's Sky and how very simple and basic it is. There is no denying that, but it is still an enjoyable game if you like to explore and gather materials. Technology is impressive but the game-play is not. I just find it best to not play more then a few hours at a time. No Man's Sky feels more of a tech demo then a game worth it's $60 price tag. As it stands I have to rate this game with a final score of:

JB The Gamer's Final Rating on No Man's Sky: 2 out of 5 - Ok Game.

Like I said above, the technology is impressive and the game can be enjoyable at times. But the lack of depth really hurts No Man's Sky in the long run. Maybe in the future they will add more meaty stuff to it, but as it is in it's vanilla state, wait for a price drop to pick this game up.

No Man's Sky is available on the PS4 and PC.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Gaming Status Update - Summer 2016

I have been mostly playing EVE: Online this summer. I pretty much just mine and sell what I mine on the trade markets. Yes, that sounds kind of boring, and I know I haven't even touched 95% of the game. But this is what I like doing so far in EVE: Online. I read comics and other books while I mine, so there is a trade off. I subscribed to the game for 3 months and I plan to keep my sub for a while.

My recent post about Icewind Dale was another game I have been playing this summer. I wanted to catch up on some gaming and decided to play some games I haven't played or completed in a long, long time. But I didn't like how splitting the expansion and main game of Icewind Dale turned out in my Back To The Past blog posts. So in the future I will just post a blog entry once for the whole game, instead of splitting it up.

Currently I am adventuring through No Man's Sky. It is an interesting game, but a little on the repetitive side. I do enjoy the exploration and mining parts of the game. I'll have a full review of the game before the month's end.

Before the summer ends, I plan to have two more Back To The Past blog posts up. I also have to play more of HITMAN, because I haven't even touched Episode 3 yet.

In terms of my YouTube channel, I still haven't decided if I want to record and post anymore of my gameplays. Maybe I'll post more HITMAN videos or not. I just don't know how I feel about it yet. Well that is pretty much what I have been up to in terms of gaming this summer. Till next time, keep gaming my friends.