Let’s be honest, when most gamers think of dumpster fires, No Man’s Sky is usually the first to come to mind. It was indeed one of the biggest disappointments of gaming history, but it has come a long way since then with numerous patches and updates that leads to the game changing “NEXT” update that implements lots of new things to do, craft, and at long last co-op multiplayer. The recent Xbox One release comes with all of these right out the gate for a better, more polished experience. But even with all the new goodies added, it still comes off as a grinding and collecting slog for most who take the trip.
Touted as a PlayStation 4 exclusive at first, here we are two years later on Microsoft’s Xbox One. Since our own Cory Galliher covered the main parts of this game when it was released, I’ll just go into this one and the additions it brings. Those playing on the Xbox One X like I did will be happy to know there’s a solid 4K 30fps mode and a lowered 4K option that offers 60fps. Of course being the framerate lover that I am, I opted for the latter which runs fairly smoothly but still manages to have hiccups here and there with the framerate.
Once you’ve figured out how to collect and craft things, you’ll be off and running trying to repair your ship and building stuff to help you and other players survive. Speaking of which, you’re able to finally team up in four-man groups in co-op multiplayer, something that was severely lacking in the original release. While playing with a group of friends does make the grinding and exploring a bit easier, it’s sad to say this game still boils down to being a glorified walking simulator with collecting and crafting thrown in.
What makes things worse is that a lot of UI and controls for it are extremely clunky and counterintuitive, which leads to a lot of frustrating moments when you’re trying to quickly do something like replenish your life support or shields. While most games would have you do something such as these in two or less easy steps, this one has you going through menu after menu after menu just to get to one thing and some more menus just to apply it. It reminded me of a Silicon Valley episode where the IT engineer stars of the show made an app that they could use just fine thanks to their IT skills, but the general public had no idea how to use it.
If you can make it past these issues, things do get better when you’re able to purchase your own space freighter that becomes your new home away from home. One thing you can never have too much of is crafting materials, and your freighter can hold tons of them versus what your spaceship and exosuit can carry. You can also use your freighter to make more spaceships, go to new areas, go on quests, and even take out space pirates in combat.
It’s not for everyone, but those who can push pass the clunky user interface as well as the slow grinding and collecting slog will find something to enjoy in No Man’s Sky. I’ll admit that the crafting and playing with friends can be awesome, but there’s just so many things going against this game that keep it from being great experience it’s trying to be. If you like walking simulators and collecting/crafting stuff, then strap on your astronaut suit and head to the randomly generated planets here.