NO MAN’S SKY
All the world’s a stage
released out now! Reviewed on Ps4 Also on PC Publisher Hello Games
There are 18 quintillion full-sized planets in this procedurally generated space adventure, and if someone discovered a new one every hour from birth until death they would only find 718,320 of them. It’s big, is what we’re saying, but more important than the impressive stats and all-consuming scale is how No Man’s Sky plays. You start on a random planet amid ship wreckage, with the aim to gather resources so you can blast off and begin a grand interstellar exploration. The goal? Reach the centre of a star-stuffed universe.
You mine elements, fuel your engines, warp to the nearest star, and repeat the process a few light years away, but what staves off repetition is never knowing what to expect. Rock formations, weather patterns, soundscapes, fungus, the length of the grass and the colour of the sky – all of it is decided by cold, hard maths, which means your story is your own. We’ve seen worlds of endless blue oceans; honeycomb cave systems containing towering crystalline treasures; vast ridges of feathered red coral. Each planet has a story to sniff out, like an alien warrior attempting to blow the hinges off a vault and demanding you hand him a combustible stimulant, or a cyborg doctor attempting to inject you with mysterious green goo.
It sounds ungrateful to complain about a game with enough content to last beyond the heat death of the solar system, but that’s the root problem, as new sights and sounds quickly boil down to variations on a theme. There’s always a lone alien trader on a station. Always a shelter containing a multi-tool blueprint. Stretched across a game this size, that starts to make less and less sense. These niggles settle in after a healthy chunk of time in the company of greatness, however. When the gleam does start to fade, you’ll already have encountered fascinating beasts on strange worlds, charged through luminous pink atmospheres, and won mind games with telepathic parasites. Indeed, No Man’s Sky is an astounding achievement, a technological triumph fashioning numbers into art. As a £40 game, though? You’ll struggle to shake the creeping feeling something’s missing as your imagination fills in the blanks. Ben Griffin
Quickly boils down to variations on a theme
Hello Games created a mathematical formula to design the weird and wonderful creatures for the game.
Don’t like this world? Choose another. And another. And another…