No Man’s Sky Review
Hello Games ambitious space survival game comes to Xbox, but can it warp away from early criticism?

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Gamers are their own worst enemy. Why are we so keen on destroying that which we love? No Man’s Sky was a game that was given the spotlight of a triple-A developed title, despite being produced by a team of under 15 people; Prior to its original launch on PS4, No Man’s Sky’s street date was broken not only by consumers but also by members of the gaming media who instantly took a negative stance on the resulting product crafted by developer Hello Games. The main narrative was that expectations regarding multiplayer were not met, and this led to a massive user-run campaign to seek refunds on their purchases en masse.

Whether the game deserved this treatment in its release state or not, it quickly turned into a torches and pitchfork situation that wasn’t helped by the developer’s initial response to the game. Time has passed, and now Hello Games has released their game on Xbox One alongside the NEXT update – their biggest yet.

Has the game reached Hello Games’ initial vision, or is it best left lost in the stars? Find out in this No Man’s Sky Xbox One Review.

 

 


Story


You awaken shipwrecked on an alien planet, with little memory of who you are. Your personal computer directs you to top up your life support systems, repair your ship and solve the mysteries of the universe among the stars.

The main story in No Man’s Sky revolves around the existence of Atlas, a repository of all the Universes’ known information, and of Artemis, a lost traveller who needs your help. While you work to unravel the mystery, the story will take you on a complex journey to the centre of the universe.

Procedurally generated creatures mean you’ll always see something new, even if it looks somewhat familiar.

 

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Gameplay


I’m carbon dating myself, but one of the foundational games of my youth was Wing Commander Privateer, to which I feel No Man’s Sky is somewhat a spiritual successor. There are a number of facets to the game – among them exploration, scientific analysis (scanning), combat, commerce and quests.

There is, of course, the main storyline that leads players on a search for the source of a mysterious signal, and this will take roughly 20 hours to complete. The biggest appeal to this game is the ability to choose your own path – and there is plenty to keep the player occupied.

No Man’s Sky launched on Xbox simultaneously Hello Games’ NEXT update. This release is the latest that offers players across all three release platforms the ability to play with a friend. While the game is primarily a single player experience, it was very helpful to have a second set of hands help amass resources or take on groups of pirates within the game.

No Man’s Sky plays very well, though it may not be for everyone. While there is a lot to do, and especially to see, the truth is that there will be some gamers who feel the story is not in depth enough for such a large game. The real appeal of this game is the ability to make your own story, to explore the universe at your own pace and decide what kind of game you want to be playing.

 


Graphics and Sound


 

The final frontier…

The release on Xbox One X boasts both a performance mode and quality mode. The quality mode will give users the full 4K experience, however, I noted a number of times where framerate suffered, especially on the more densely populated planets. These types of drops were far more infrequent on performance mode, which eschews the 4K in favour of a more stable game.

The visuals are accompanied by a very space themed score, which pipes in at different intervals within the game. The sound effects are a nice touch, especially when breaking into a planet’s atmosphere, or being bombarded by extreme weather on the surface.

 

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Summary


No Man’s Sky is at its core a game that is focused primarily on exploration. Hello Games is a micro-developer of under 20 people – and they’ve built a very impressive game, albeit one that still sports several bugs after release. I really enjoyed my time with the game, and Hello Games’ track record of development and support on No Man’s Sky make it easy to recommend to others looking for good value and an entertaining game.

No Man's Sky

8

Story

7.5/10

Gameplay

8.5/10

Graphics

8.0/10

Sound

8.0/10

Cool

  • A vast world for you to explore.
  • The additional content in this game since launch has transformed it into something very good.
  • Choose your own adventure: trader, explorer or pirate, there's a lot to see and do.
  • Truly feels like something unique and new.

Not Cool

  • Bugs still persist.
  • Some may feel the game lacks single player story depth.
  • Frame stuttering during certain planetary encounters.