No Man’s Sky was… divisive when it launched this time last year. Personally, I loved it, though I was clearly in the minority. I gave the game a glowing review (8.0/10 – Fantastic) which attracted ire from die-hard fanboys threatening to come to my house and kill me for not rating it higher. What a world to live in…
My point is that it didn’t live up to the (over)hype and players were frustrated. Some, like myself, saw through the game’s shortcomings and enjoyed it for what it was, others lambasted Hello Games and called them out for being con artists while Sony basically threw the little studio under a bus and distanced itself away from the game.
Note: If you can’t be arsed reading the rest of this article, give the video up above a watch; it says just about everything I’m trying to put into words.
A year has passed since the release, and during that year we’ve had a couple of updates that have changed the game for the better. Granted, they weren’t game changers and they still didn’t include any kind of multiplayer – not that I really cared, to be honest – but now we’re in a new chapter in the No Man’s Sky saga: Atlus Rises.
The latest update brought a ton of changes, some small, other massive. The game is essentially a different product to what I reviewed last year. There’s a 30-hour campaign for those who want it; you’re not required to do it at all and you can drop away from it at any time. It’s not just the addition of a “proper” story that’s worth shouting about, it’s the fact that the game is just so much more dense now. I remember playing it back last year when planets were a little on the boring side, though some were prettier and more full of life than others, but they were the exception, not the rule.
So far I’ve only gotten around 2 hours into the new update on a new save file, but I can safely say that I’ve seen more life, colour, and generally just interesting things going on than I did in the first 20 hours of the original release. I know that some will still see the lack of multiplayer as a deal-breaker, but I think that anyone who has a copy needs to boot it up, install the update, have a mooch around a few planets, then get on Twitter and give Hello Games a digital thumbs up. Normally I’m all against games drastically changing post-release. Updates that improve the game? Yep, give them to me all day long and I’ll be a happy chappy, just as I was with DriveClub. Updates that fix the game? Yes, please! Assassin’s Creed Unity is proof that fixes are necessary. But game-changing updates that take the product and change it so drastically it’s unrecognisable? Normally, that’s a no for me, but No Man’s Sky has earned the right to change my mind on this occasion.
The sheer amount of work that’s gone into No Man’s Sky is commendable. I don’t want to sound like Sean Murray has slipped me a crisp £50 note and a gift voucher for Nandos, but I think anyone who was on the fence a year ago needs to get on the PlayStation Store and grab a digital copy while it’s still on offer (£9.99 in the UK) or hunt down a cheap second-hand disk if you’re a digi-phobe. For those who own the game, I implore you to dig it out of the unmarked grave you buried it in and give it another shot.
What do you make of No Man’s Sky with the latest update? Has Hello Games earned its redemption, or are you still shaking with anger? Take a chill pill down in the comments below.