So, sadly, reality has conspired to prevent me from giving a full take on the recently released No Man’s Sky. I’ve spent some time in the game, however, and I do have a few quick takes for any of you that might care. And if you don’t care, well – why’re you here? Trolls.
No Man’s Sky is a fantastic cautionary tale about the positive and negative effects that pre-release hype and media attention can have on a game. People, including some in the games media, have erroneously labeled No Man’s Sky as a AAA title, on par with the likes of Metal Gear or Uncharted in terms of development and expectations for the game. It is not. This is an indie game. Mind you, it is quite possibly the most well-backed and publicized indie game of all time – but it is still a game made by a team of like ten people. And despite this, due to an unbelievably zealous marketing campaign from Sony and a development cycle of several years that just saw that hype grow over time, everyone seemed to expect it to fundamentally change gaming and how we approached it. Let’s just get this out of the way – nothing, not Super Mario, not Zelda, NOTHING could have lived up to the levels of hype that No Man’s Sky was living under by the time it finally saw release. It was inevitably going to fall short of expectations because those expectations had grown exponentially out of proportion.
So is it a “bad” game? No, in my opinion. In my time with it, going in with as few expectations as I could due to not wanting to feel disappointed, No Man’s Sky has been a tranquil, beautiful, almost Zen-like experience. This isn’t a game that I put on the moment I get home form work and play hardcore for hours on end. This is a game I play for a little while each night before I go to bed – to unwind, to disconnect, to relax. Its universe is nigh-incomprehensible in its vastness, and is incredibly lonely – the odds of seeing another player, if that is even possible, are infinitesimally low. But sometimes, for some people, that’s exactly what they want. They want to just explore a gorgeous and surreal environment, locate its treasures and resources, and document its wildlife, before warping onward to the next planet. For that set of gamers, No Man’s Sky is everything you could want.
More thoughts next time, but until then kids, remember this story – I was told earlier today that there are “worse things” than Donald Trump being our president. After thinking for a moment, I realized that this may be true – but finding those worse things would require such a vile, profane act of demonic summoning that even an Evil Wizard such as myself shudders to even contemplate performing it.