What is starting to feel like a yearly return, I find myself once again back in the realm of No Man’s Sky. In a clear sign that Hello Games, and the gaming community, are more content with the game than early on, the second year only brought 1 content update, whereas the first year brought 3. I don’t entirely mind… diminishing returns and all, it’s the second year and while I am sure it sells a decent amount with each update, they probably sell fewer units with each update. I wonder at what point they decide to add an expansion or DLC, and I wonder how that would even look.
But I digress, the latest patch is 1.5, nicknamed Next and it is kind of a doozy. Probably the #1 most requested feature was added… multiplayer. And I’ll be honest I don’t care about that one too much. It’d be nice to play with someone, but I don’t really have any friends who would play the game, and I don’t particularly want to get randoms. Even without the multiplayer, I felt it was a really big update.
First off… the space things that they added. They added Frigates that you can hire that will fly around your freighter and give you defense power from pirates. But you can also now send the Frigates out on missions to get you resources and money and such, which is a nice touch. I have only marginally experience Freighters since the update and I do think the main pathway is less confusing than it was and the base building seems more sensical. Speaking of which, they sort of overhauled space stations. Now, instead of a couple of tunnels with tiny rooms, each having a couple of creatures. Now they opened them up and they include more creatures to interact with, a space suit customizer, shops, mission givers, and a teleporter. It feels a little more fleshed out which is appreciated. And lastly, they added ringed worlds. Yes, ringed worlds! I think they are a little more common than I’d like, nearly every system has at least one, but realistically they are pretty common in the real world. and they are gorgeous both in space and on ground.
Speaking of Bases, they enhanced bases on the ground as well. They added new parts, and now you can build more than one base, AND you can build them pretty much anywhere, and they can be pretty large as well (they used to be limited to like 250 parts or something). I’ve seen pictures of people building bases under water, in cave systems, and even on crashed freighters. With this ability coupled with portals, I can totally see myself building a network of worlds that get me any resource I want and are beautiful. This has gotten me FAR more interested in base building than I was previously. Previously, I was resigned to just build a base in my freighter, because although you could take a portal to the planet easy enough, I may as well take the base with me. Now I can do both.
They renamed pretty much everything and re-working crafting as well. Overall, I think the name changes were good. I like that I need oxygen to recharge my suit instead of thaumium for instance. Overall, the materials seem to make more sense than they used to (Platinum is actually fairly rare, instead of growing out of plants!). I also think that the crafting changes were good as well. It added a real progression to crafting. You start by crafting in a portable refiner, then move onto Medium refiner, and finally heavy refiner. I haven’t gotten too advanced into crafting to get into the nuts and bolts, but on the outside looking in, it looks much better.
They also made some tweaks to terrain generation. Overall, I think when people go looking at planets, they are much more appealing in general. I personally think that there is more variation in land formation. However, many people have noted that there is less variation in color schemes. Before you could find bright yellows and pinks all over the place, it was kind of like going to a world painted by splatoon inklings. And generally, this was more problem then good. People often complained about the eyestrain, so of course once they fix that people complain that there isn’t. Can’t win I guess. I will say, that I think the bigger complaint is that while all in all it’s better, people still want the occasional super bright colored planet. I’ve seen people complain that they only ever see red, green and grey colors, but I do get the occassional lush planet with blue grass and yellow & pink plants and it is marvelous when I do. I do think it happens, but it could probably happen a little more. They also took out the resource pillars that were common in the game previously, probably for the best, but I admit I miss the pillars sometimes. I like that they aren’t everywhere, but it’d be cool if every now and then you ran into a planet that had pillars of gold. I think the key point to take away is that what they were doing previously was only bad in its frequency, if they made them uncommon to rare planets, these things still hold a draw.
Lastly, they added third-person view and improved graphics. It seems like every major release comes with improved graphics, and it is always appreciated because it makes a beautiful game even more beautiful. I really like the added third-person view (and the character customization!). I am not a huge fan of first person so this was a nice addition, though I do admit, it took a little time to adjust to targeting what I’m shooting at. I kind of wish they had character customization parts that you could unlock, maybe they do, or maybe that’s in the plans for the future. I don’t know.
One thing I have to say, is that usually at about a month of play time the novelty kind of wears off and the grind gets annoying. So it will be interesting to see how that develops over the next couple of weeks. But an interesting point to note is that my last play through ended at about 20 hours. This kind of ended prematurely, I wasn’t quite bored of the game yet, but because my ship spawned in the ground I rage quit. In my current play through I am at 17 hours, and honestly I am getting more excited to play the game more as I go on. I have some neat plans that I hope to execute fairly soon <>. And I don’t think I’ve had this much excitement about the game in previous attempts this far into it. I feel as excited every time I sit down as the last and it is the same excitement I had before the game was released. Is the game perfect? Far from it, but this is pretty darn close to what I had imagined at launch. I look forward to seeing what Hello Games does in the next update because I honestly have no idea where they will go now.