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What does one say about a six year old game?

Güncelleme tarihi: 29 Oca 2023

Nothing. You say nothing. Everything that needs to be said already has been said and you just go and read what is written and watch what is online. Or listen to a podcast about it, if that's your thing.

Here we go:

No Man's Sky is a third-person base-building, space-exploring, item-crafting, creature-cataloging, and pirate-fighting game made by Hello Games. I played it once when it was released, it had huge performance issues, couldn't endure it for 10 minutes, turned it off, and never played it again.

I saw on the internet that the new updates fulfilled the promises of the company in the end, and it was a decent game now. I didn't have the means to buy and play it for years, so I never did, and then I bought Game Pass. And No Man's Sky was on Game Pass. "This is good", I thought, "finally I will be able to play this game". After all, I liked Elite Dangerous, I really like going around in space, and I was really hyped before the game came out in 2016. Why was I hyped? Well, for some reason, everything the Hello Games Guy said - I don't remember his name, and I will not google this particularly easy-to-find information - was so interesting for me, and not just for me but for lots and lots of gamers. We were HYPED. We wanted to see that procedurally generated one-of-a-kind universe, we wanted to see different animals and weird plants. I wanted to see them. However, when the game came out, nothing was in place. It was almost like someone watched a video of a Unity tutorial on No Man's Sky's basic mechanics and made a small demo based on that.

It isn't like this anymore.

Every basic promise of the game is kept in the end. These developers somehow managed to do it all, and even though some parts feel like they were glued on top of an existing project as an afterthought, it works. The core game there works. For whatever reason, it works. It is so much fun to discover new creatures, it is so much fun to catalog them, so much fun to upload them to the internet, and hope that someone else will see that I, someone whom they never knew, once was there and discovered that creature. It is even fun to build a base, to teleport in and out of it. It is so interesting. It is interesting because it is obvious that the in-game achievements were tacked on to the game much later than it was first developed, and it is interesting because some of the choices for the GUI just don't make sense and it is interesting because sometimes it tells the story not even as a dialogue between characters but as prose. You find a ship to discover and you read what happened to the ship's pilot from your own character's mouth, which feels like the story was more like an add-on to the game, however, after some point even that feels interesting. This game is interesting because all of these mechanics are out of place yet they still somehow keep you in the game and keep you going. I still want to learn all the Korvax words so that I can know that learning all of them was probably meaningless. I want to figure out what's going on in the universe of the game. I kind of want to finish the main story. Even though the story will probably make no sense, or maybe I won't like it. This game is interesting because somehow it feels like it shouldn't be.

No Man's Sky, is, I believe, a game of compromises, like Deus Ex. It is not the best crafting game, it is not the best base-building game, and it is not the best space-shooting game, but it is a game where all of these mechanics are built well enough. And it is the only game I know where you catalog living beings and minerals, which scratches an itch for me. It is, for reasons I don't really understand, really captivating for me to catalog everything. I want to analyze that rock, I want to figure out what that plant is, and I want to know what this animal is. I have the option to change the name of these, but I rarely do. I leave the universe and the game in their pristine condition. I didn't even want to dig the rocks and caves to gather minerals. I don't like to harm the planet I was on. I didn't want to leave my permanent mark in this virtual reality. Yet, I did. I had, to be able to go forward, to be able to build another machine, to run my exosuit and my spaceship. I even tried to fix the holes I dug once or twice, but I couldn't. At least I couldn't do it properly. So, I had these anonymous scars that I left on these planets. And I have to live with the knowledge of that. I have to look at every rift on a planet I have been to and be burdened by the knowledge of not knowing whether it was done by some crazy big space monster or just by me, a human doing human stuff.

In No Man's Sky, you can fly your ship, visit space stations, other planets, and other star systems, but also you can fly your ship, head towards space from the planet you were on, and SHOOT ASTEROIDS. I really like shooting asteroids. It was one of the best moments for me while playing the game, I realized I can shoot asteroids and they were destructible. The feeling of peace that I get from putting a hole in an asteroid in space is just indescribable. It is almost like eating a really good dessert. Delicious.

No Man's Sky is a good game because it feels good to play it. It is not Outer Wilds, it will never be Elite Dangerous, and it may or may not be Minecraft or Astroneer - both of which I have really little experience with, so take it with a grain of salt-, but it is good as it exists. It is a fun place to chill, go around, get attacked by pirates, and gather gold from the asteroids. And catalog animals. So many weird animals. The story is meh. The graphics are sometimes good but very taxing on my computer. THE MUSIC IS SO NICE. It feels random at places, but when it hits right, it is the best thing.

I would recommend No Man's Sky to anyone who would like to feel like they are the loneliest person in the Universe and to people who like to walk on the edge of imminent death, or to people who are contractors at their hearts and really like to build things. That's also fine. I like No Man's Sky because I like exploring, I kind of always liked exploring -which makes me wonder why I am not doing that anymore in real life- and I like shooting stuff in space.

That's it.

I really like shooting stuff in space.


For the story and the never-ending fear of death, I would really recommend Outer Wilds. I haven't finished it either, but the story was so captivating and so good, and the horror of space was just right. I never had that fear before, and I think haven't had it later in any other game. - Even though in my notes I said for No Man's Sky" (it has ) the deep feeling of never-ending loneliness, as it should have ", the reality of it is that the game doesn't really leave you alone. At most, it feels like you are part of some kind of a game show, in a way. You "discover" things in places that have already been obviously discovered. Everywhere is littered with abandoned ships, cargo drops, persons of other alien species, and protective robots. How can I be the first one on a planet when there are manufacturing facilities or trade posts on that same planet? "Discovery" in the case of No Man's Sky, I believe, is just a very narrow definition of discovery where the "players" are the first ones that are discovering anything that can be discovered. I haven't played as a Gek or a Korvax, and I don't know if Gek or Korvax players play in a human star system and discover human planets as the first Gek or Korvax who had been there, but for me, it was like I was this first human or anomaly (it is also a species, which I don't know anything about) in a Gek system. But, the Geks were already there. The Korvax were already there. I should really check the case for different player species, for example, if Gek players or Vy'keen players- I don't even know if you can play as Vy'keen- also play in the same star systems where their own species is the dominant ones, then it would mean that the game really takes the player(s) as its own thing, as a meta-being in the universe and treats it differently, which in the end is a shitty thing for the suspension-of-disbelief for a game to immerse someone. I really don't like this. I don't like being the fake discoverer of the Universe. When the game tells you that "You were the first one here", you are never the first one there - at least for the first 8 hours of the game, I don't know the rest-, and I am particularly not okay with this lie. To hell with this, I will check that now. It's time to start over.

Coming an hour later:

I checked it. I also played the game like a psycho -destroyed many plants and rocks on my way to reach my goal- to be able to reach the species selection screen. I couldn't reach it, but this run made me understand something: There is no need to look for ludonarrative dissonances or rifts, or whatever it can be called for this game. This game is more akin to a zen garden or a virtual national park, where you go to relax. It has surprises, and it still has surprises after 9 hours of playing it and I believe it will have more surprises afterward. This game is an "experience" to be had like Abzu, you need to let it happen and enjoy it. It is as if bird watching had a child with a walk in a park but you are on a spaceship and usually about to die.

It is nice.

Edited using Grammarly on 22.01.2023. Written originally on 18.01.2023.

New Addition on 24.01.2023: First, apparently you are always playing multiplayer but the chance to see other players is so low. I thought every player had their own universe and could only meet in the Anomaly. Also, for once - while playing Multiplayer with a friend- , we woke up in a system where there was a planet where someone has - a Playstation player called TheVerySpecialK - already discovered. -The planet we started on was not discovered-

One more thing I want to add is, at least on Wikipedia, it seems that the hype around the game was driven by the media and the fans, and the Hello Games guy was kind of trying to deflate it. I don't remember it happenening that way, but it may have happened that way, and in the Wikipedia page there is at least one report of Hello Games-Guy saying something akin to "don't keep your expectations too high, this is a very chill game". Also I believe that the way they kept their promise is really cool and shows their honesty.

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