The Heartbreak of No Man’s Sky

The Heartbreak of No Man’s Sky

September 27, 2016 3:00 pm 0 comments

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I couldn’t wait for No Man’s Sky.  From the time I saw the video of the E3 reveal, I dreamed of exploring countless new planets and solar systems.  For a fan of games like Star Control 2 & 3 (retro games mentioned….check), this game seemed like an answer to a decades-old wish. 

I wasn’t mad when the delays happened.  If it was going to take them a bit longer to perfect the experience, then perfect away!  I wanted sci-fi nirvana.  As much as I tried to temper my expectations, I couldn’t help myself.  I was convinced No Man’s Sky was going to be everything I wanted it to be.

Finally, the day arrived.  I rushed home to my already-waiting Amazon box of joy and giggled all the way to the PS4.  The day one patch naturally took f-o-r-e-v-e-r.  Honestly, it probably wasn’t that long but I wanted to play immediately.  When it finished I booted up and….

REALITY!

At first, the game was everything I expected.  I had to figure things out as I went along, talk to different aliens, solve some basic puzzles, upgrade my tech and eventually launch to my destiny in the stars.  Then I landed on the second planet.  Things were very similar, but this one traded radioactivity for acid rain.  The next planet’s sentries would shoot on sight.  The feel of the planets and the experience didn’t vary much. 

crabbieThe repetition didn’t immediately annoy me.  For at least the first 40 hours, I was still recommending the game to sci-fi geek friends as the holy grail of space exploration games.  Each planet randomly generated, each with its own secrets to uncover.  Eventually, however, it became clear that the goal of reaching the center of the galaxy just wasn’t enough to keep me going.  I turned to piracy just to have something different to do, but even that wasn’t interesting enough.  The “random” animals you run into on the planets aren’t terribly exciting, or varied for that matter.  Every planet that had aggressive species always had one of these guys to the left.  The gameplay itself consisted of gather resources, craft, sell, (maybe) buy, rinse and repeat.  

While I’m disappointed that No Man’s Sky essentially became a non-game, I’m equally disappointed in myself.  I think the twenty-year-old me would have had the patience to just keep exploring.  Have I become merely another lemming with a short attention span that requires the instant gratification of explosions and headshots in order to be entertained?  I played D&D, for Krom’s sake!  Not even AD&D, D&D!  I would spend hours playing River Raid so I could get a high enough score to get a patch, and that was plane-shaped blocks shooting squares at other plane-shaped blocks.  I used to have an attention span, and now I’m heartbroken that a game that takes open world space exploration to a level that’s never been dreamed of before has left me wanting more. 

Is it me or is it the game?  I’ve read enough complaints by people who played No Man’s Sky.  I read that Amazon was giving refunds to those who requested them.  Are the complainants equally tainted by what games have become?  Is everyone looking for a more “twitch” type of game experience?  It’s impossible to judge by just one well-meaning game that I will still call a masterpiece.  It kept me hooked for 60 hours.  Hello Games has the ability to create a universe.  If they partner with someone who can fill it with more interesting goodies, they’ll really be cooking with gas.

 

recallbutton  By:  Recall, vintage entertainment enthusiast

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