No Man’s Sky – The Update

It’s been awhile since I’ve written of my brave adventures exploring the galaxy, universe, small speckles on a screen in a computer game, and now of course we have that update. All these new features and things to do and see. The question becomes will it make any difference.

I’ll go through the changes I’ve noticed since the update in a bit but I’ll draw the conclusion now. People who were still playing and enjoying No Man’s Sky will have found a new love for it and continue as they were testing out the new features as they explore. People who’d moved on probably won’t come back for this. Because while there are a few novelties here the essential game play remains the same and it really is up to you to create the story you want to follow as you explore.

What has changed?

Well, I now get a shiny warning every single time I try to launch the game that my PC isn’t up to recommended specs. I knew my PC was barely capable of running the game and that I’m playing with most the settings turned right down just to keep it functional but this update has pushed it further and now feels the need to tell me every launch that maybe I shouldn’t be trying to play.

Thanks for that.

Ignore. Launch anyway.

We now get a menu straight up to choose a mode of play. I’ll be honest and point out I have yet to try either of the new play methods because I like the exploration that I was playing so they’ve yet to be touched though I assume eventually I’ll check them out. All this menu really does is means I can’t launch the game and then go get a drink while it loads because I have to wait for the menu, select the game mode, and then go get the drink while the game loads. Did I mention how much I love changes to games I actually liked? All these extra steps have really value added to my playing experience.

Okay, enough complaining about that. Let’s look at the game itself. We can now find habitable bases and claim one for our very own. Yes, you can claim ownership of a planet through claiming a base and then you can build (assuming you have collected sufficient materials). You can then install a builder, a weapons guy, a scientist, and a farmer and they can give you all manner of things to improve your experience. In theory. Mostly what they do is send you on fetch quests and even after my limited play time both weapons guy and builder have told me they have nothing new to teach me. So why are you still hanging around my base? Waiting for the next update so you can give me some other random missions?

This is actually not a terrible addition to the game because you can completely ignore this aspect of it once you get the improved laser and the hazmat gauntlet (and you do need both or the vast majority of materials are going to be off limits now including some minerals you could mine before because now you need an advanced laser to mine them). Or you can teleport from any space station back to your base to check in on your happy family, build some storage sheds and do a couple of fetch quests before returning to whatever space station in whatever system you were in and getting back to whatever else you might like to do.

There’s also a whole bunch of new things to collect and some of these are a pain in the neck to find (read I spent nine hours trying to find an underwater plant for a particular substance, finally found it and was still three units short of being able to build the thing I was aiming for). And that brings me to the next point.

Resources are much harder to come by now. Before you were tripping over plutonium and titanium and whatever else and now you can walk a long time without a single glimpse. The exotic resources are scarce and even when you find them the quantity of some of these resources are very low (rare actually means rare now). Also, the bases and drop pods and things you used to trip over every five minutes on a planet are now really few and far between. This is countered by the fact that you can now build your own save station (for the cost of some resources) so expect to literally wander around without coming across anything of significance for ages. It makes exploration feel more authentic but when you finally realise you are sick of a planet and your space ship is at least forty minutes away it can be a little disheartening.

This one I’m not so sure about but it also feels like your jet pack isn’t as effective and that you run out of power for some of you engines and shields faster than before. At least I know I feel like I’m burning resources much faster than I was when travelling between planets. Also, your pulse engine now uses iron instead of whatever it used to use so expect to be blowing up a lot of rocks.

That said, I still haven’t managed to build an autonomous mining unit and I really want to get there (copper wire, why did it need copper wire). I haven’t built a landing pad yet. There’s a whole bunch of plants I haven’t planted yet and I haven’t got around to building a trade terminal so still plenty of things to do now that I have the designs and I just need to collect enough resources. I also haven’t managed to buy a freighter just yet (or hire, not sure which it is) and that is definitely next on my wish list of things to do. Still short a few units though because I object to destroying ecosystems for profit (small problem when your main source of income is mining).

Right, to sum up. I love this game. The new additions make some things harder and some things more fun. There’s certainly a really rich variety of things to look for and collect and as I said in the beginning, most of the basic game play didn’t change (except a few keyboard changes they made which drove me crazy until I got used to them and stopped hitting the build button when I wanted to change my laser). The base building has been fun and I’m in the process of deciding which flags I’d like to decorate my base with right after I put in windows everywhere (glass building is a pain).

4 thoughts on “No Man’s Sky – The Update

  1. At $60, I wasn’t very enthralled with the game at launch and it failed to hold my attention after just a few hours. I had similar feelings about Destiny though, but ended up loving it once they started making smarter changes and fleshing the game out a bit more. Hopefully the same thing happens to NMS. The potential is there, for sure.

  2. I’m glad this game is getting updates, especially ones that introduce new mechanics, but I’ve played too many Skinner-box exploration games with procedurally generated repetitiveness to sink $60 into this ):

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