Assembled by a minuscule development team, No Man's Sky certainly represents the greatest level of hype per creative hand in gaming history. The game's major selling point is procedural generation in a seemingly infinite universe. With the power of math, every planet, creature, and item in the game sports a unique look and behavior to match its own eccentricities.
With so much ground to cover, gamers have had a hard time determining what the game would actually be. Hello Games founder Sean Murray tried to set the record straight yesterday with a comprehensive list of the goals of the game.
For those who are still on the fence, the early impressions from partial playthroughs of No Man's Sky are in, and they seem to reflect all the pros and cons one would expect from a massive procedurally generated game.
ARS Technica - Sam Mochkovech
After making my peace with the game's most redundant elements, I refocused how I played the game—and just liked it more that way. My best time in NMS has come from when I ignore its UI and structure elements—which ultimately goad and prod you to move toward the game's major goals, one of which is "fly to the center of the galaxy"—and run wild over a given planet instead.
Gamespot - Peter Brown
Even a few hours in, however, there comes a point where the loop of seeking and acquiring gear begins to sag, and the vastness of the galaxy sinks in. With an unfathomable universe beckoning, and hundreds of thousands of light years separating you from the intended finish line at the center of the galaxy, it becomes far too easy to question the meaning of your pursuits.
IGN - Dan Stapleton
This is an enormously complex game, but it gets there by means of networking together many different mundane tasks. So far that’s been as amusing as it generally is in the genre of survival crafting games, but at this point No Man’s Sky has done little to set itself apart other than the impressive spectacle of flying from one impractically huge world to another without obvious loading screens between them.
Kotaku - Jason Schreier
So far I’m having a blast. It’s a lovely, serene space adventure that was clearly designed for people who love exploring. Don’t expect this to be the space game of all space games—it’s clear from the beginning that there are a very set number of things you can do—but if you’re into chill exploration games, this will probably be up your alley.
Polygon - Philip Kollar
The mundanity of this cycle is exacerbated by an insultingly tiny inventory space that requires near-constant juggling and micromanaging. Was it plutonium or platinum that I needed? Can I actually keep all of these tradeable trinkets I’ve found until I stumble across an NPC willing to trade with me, or can I just not spare the space? These are the types of strategic questions I found myself asking as I played No Man’s Sky, and frankly they just don’t make for a terribly engaging experience so far.
This perhaps wasn't the overwhelmingly positive response that some eager gamers were hoping to hear, but since no review has finished the game yet, it's still possible that the final reviews will be more slanted to the overall experience being positive. Where do your hopes or expectations for the game stand? Can a property with this much hype and drawn-out development cycle ever live up to being anything but a 'good' game? Let us know your own thoughts in the comments.
No Man’s Sky is now available on the PS4 in North America, and will be available worldwide on PC August 12, 2016.