Family Video Game Review – No Man’s Sky

Our No Man’s Sky Review was written by a guest writer: James Pisano!

My whole body aches… eyes closed, still half conscious… I realize that I have no idea what happened or how I got here.

As I open my eyes, the light of an alien sun assaults my senses. I feel the sting of acid rain on my skin; even through my enviro-suit. Clicking from my Geiger counter tells me there is enough radiation in the atmosphere to kill me three times over. I turn my gaze from the lime green ball of fire in the sky over to my ruined ship. This is going to take some serious effort to get in working order… I better get to it.

And that’s how No Man’s Sky started for me. Marooned alone, and completely baffled to the world around me. But even in the deadly environment, there was unparalleled beauty all around. Wondrous creatures roamed the landscape… many of which were docile and majestic. Although the sun was bright, and toxic to my anatomy, the viridian light that shone from it was awe inspiring. Over every rise, a new vista awaited me… showing me visions that I had not even dreamt of. Nobody had… because you see, that’s one of the many amazing things about No Man’s Sky.

It is a game set in a universe of 18 quintillion unique, fully explorable worlds… all procedurally generated. This wasn’t born of a fantastic idea in the mind of a human being. This is the universe, as a computer created it from a math equation.

That is part of what is so amazing. I truly don’t know what to expect every time I explore a new planet. Just this morning I saw what looked like a pig, with compound eyes, hooves, and what were kind of like butterfly wings, flying low to the ground. It might sound like a train wreck, but it was strange, yet beautiful. Until I realized it was carnivorous and it charged at me, taking my shield down in one blow. I pumped the gas on my jetpack to get up onto a rock so the creature could not reach me. Without even thinking I pressed the button on my visor scanner to learn everything I could about the beast. I was rewarded with a wealth of knowledge about what this creature was, and I realized that through my travels, I should learn all I could about the animals and plants around me. Not only would it enrich all of those who followed in my footsteps, but it may very well save my life. So, if you find yourself on a toxic planet called “Pisano Prime” and you see this beautiful abomination of alien nature charging at you… RUN. That thing packs a punch! But enough about my adventure, because you will surely have plenty of your own!

So how does the game feel? Is it playable? Is it fun? The short answer, in my opinion is “Great, yes and YES”. More below…

As far as the “game” goes, No Man’s Sky does offer a story, and like everything else, it does so in a fresh, innovative way. As you explore the galaxy, you will come across ancient alien artifacts that will each inform you about the history of the area’s dominant intelligent race. Some of these artifacts offer a choice, some simply offer information, others will help you learn the language of the local population. That’s right, word by word, you can actually learn the language of the aliens that inhabit the galaxy. So as you interact with them, gibberish subtitles are displayed. But, as you learn more, the words fill in, the meanings become clear, and correct communication can be achieved. Even if you don’t learn a word, the game gives you some context as to what is going on so you can still interact with aliens from the get go. You just might not respond the right way, like being a tourist in a foreign country where you don’t speak the language. It makes for some very interesting events that, I can assure you.

After some time on the initial planet you will start on, you’ll want to venture to the stars. As you break through the atmosphere, depending what solar system you start in, you may notice anything from asteroids and a multitude of planets to space stations, space freighters, and yes, even space pirates. Did you pick up some valuable minerals on that planet? Watch out! Other space faring creatures may want a piece of that. Your ship will warn you, and within seconds, you may find yourself in a dog fight with one of the best views gaming has to offer.

Early on, you may fumble with the controls, and curse your inability to shoot down anything, but don’t worry, as you upgrade your ship and get a little bit of practice, that will all get better. And should you fall to space pirates, or anything for that matter, you’ll re-awaken in the nearest space station with your ship. Your ship will have one damaged system, and all of your cargo will be gone, but you can simply fly back to where you died and retrieve all of it. Be careful not to fill up your cargo hold before finding your “corpse” though, or you won’t be able to retrieve your original belongings!

Is the game just about exploring planets and fighting aliens in space? Absolutely not. Once again, No Man’s Sky manages to be everything to everyone. Should you want to be a trader and make millions of units (the currency of the game) on the galactic market? No problem. Want to be a space pirate yourself and raid freighters for -their- valuable cargo? You got it! Want to journey to the center of the galaxy? Great, because that’s the main storyline of the game. I have not reached the center myself, but various NPC’s throughout the game have told me that a great secret and great power await me there. I don’t need a lot more motivation than that!

Even if you simply want to take in the beauty offered throughout the galaxy, you can do that. You never have to fire a gun, or harm a creature. That’s why I think No Man’s Sky is perfect for anyone in your family. I handed the controls to my 9 year old nephew the other day and I was so happy to see the look of wonder on his face as he started exploring. It was not unlike my own when I first started my adventure. Now when I see him, he asks me to tell him stories about what I discovered. I feel like an old sea captain regaling my family with tall tales of my adventures on the high seas.

Conclusion

There is more to No Man’s Sky than anyone will ever know. This is because it would take FIVE BILLION YEARS to explore. It’s a beautiful, immense, dangerous, captivating universe out there. I would highly suggest that you and your family take the plunge. You never know what you might find… in No Man’s Sky.

 

methasterone

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