Mini Review: No Man's Sky



Initially bought at release & refunded because of poor FPS. A year later I noticed that, to their credit, Hello Games had continued to add free content & decided to give it another chance. I’ve quite enjoyed 15 hours with it & my verdict is that it’s a lot better than release, but still barely worth 50% off. It’s very grindy & ultimately feels like wasted potential.


  • Seamless transition between earth and sky
  • Learning words so you can understand aliens is awesome
  • Scanning and logging alien life is cool (but pointless)


  • View distance on planets is poor
  • No oceans. All planets are 99% land?!
  • Constantly farming basic resources to charge life support, fuel & weapons is boring and grindy
  • Inventory management is constantly annoying
  • Interface is clunky
  • Jetpack is weak
  • No manual takeoff/landing
  • Space combat is pretty basic

Status: Retire
Rating: :cookie: :cookie: :cookie:

For more reviews, check out my Steam Quest page.

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This game was so hyped and then so hated. I always wanted to play it but thought it would never live up to my expectations. From what I understand the game turned out to be very different than what was marketed for the months prior and even right before launch.



IIRC the marketing was on what Hello Games wanted to put out, not what they were able to produce within the time constraints they were given. There’ve been a number of updates since release that have brought it closer to what it was supposed to be, but it’s still not where it should have been (which is where the bulk of the hate arises from; people felt lied to about features like multiplayer which were, and still are, not in the game).



I actually landed on a planet where oceans were a thing.



Ye, I’ve landed on some planets with lots of water, as well.

To add, I think the interface’s gotten way better with the latest patch, though I haven’t played around with it a lot, and that the only thing that’s not “manual” on landings and takeoffs is simply the launch thruster control (although landing sometimes becomes finnicky, yes.) Regarding the constant picking up of items such as uranium and thamium and whatever, yes, I can see how that would become boring to someone, but as a survival aficionado it’s part of the base game loop in a survival mechanic and to me it could actually be more elaborate, factoring food and water and whatnot into the mix. If you don’t like picking up that stuff however, there’s always Creative, or mods that change the different resource consumption rates at least.



The hate for the game (at least the people I knew) was because the developer outright lied about what was in the game in personal interviews on video. Like saying there was multiplayer, then two people travelling to the same world and not being able to see each other.



To be fair, there were at the same time tweets from the developers warning about the lack of multiplayer before launch, and while it’s true that a whole bunch of stuff showed and talked about was not in the game (brontosaur like dinos, for instance), I feel like a lot of people used the “promise” pretext to blame the developers for what was a hype train spiraling well out of control. Not saying the devs didn’t have their part on it, but both community and press have a part of accountability that they promptly swept under the rug.

The last game I preordered was X Rebirth, and while there was no end to the bold faced lies Egosoft threw around, when I fired up the game and found out what a humongous piece of shit I had paid full price for, I accepted my part of blame and adapted my consumer habits as a result. Everything about NMS is talk about “promises” as if the evil evil devs had forced them to buy it at gunpoint and nobody but them were to blame in the whole shebang.



I’d love to see even one of those tweets, because the only thing I ever saw from the official account (Sean’s) was denial and avoidance on launch day, and never once did I see anything from any of the devs stating that there was no multiplayer despite the months of marketing that said their was.





That link doesn’t work (or at least isn’t sending me anywhere that’s meaningful).




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Right, this talks about the tweet chain that Sean sent out stating that “the chances of two players ever crossing paths in a universe this large is pretty much zero” only to have 2 players day one show there was no significant “online features [or] easter eggs so people [could] know they [were] playing in the same universe” when they were on the same planet and such. It also goes against everything they’d previously been parroting and was tweeted out the day before the game’s release (well after people have preordered the game based on their previous advertising and PR, were pumped up and talking about it), and Sean Murray, et al, realized the shitstorm that was brewing. That’s hardly honest on their part, and in fact shows (in my opinion) that they knew exactly what they were doing leading up to launch.

While it technically fulfills what I asked for, it’s hardly in the spirit of my request; what I was driving at is they made no significant attempt to get this message out to people through any of their PR whatnot ahead of launch. Hell, some of the boxes even had the multiplayer claims taped over in a couple countries, which shows they not only intended to have the online aspect, but also realized that they weren’t going to be able to deliver it at launch, and they said nothing about that to anyone prior to the day before launch (to my knowledge); that’s why the game got flamed so damn hard (and rightfully so, IMO).



Yep, that’s the impression I got as well. It’s closer to what they were pitching to everyone now than it was at launch. I’m still not getting it though due to the way Hello Games handled the launch of the game though.



I’d hazard to say that’s what happens when you take what’s essentially a Subnautica caliber game and just pump millions into it mostly on marketing. I’ll only say the game met my expectations both at launch and when I bought it a year later and that both community and press share the blame with devs and publisher for just letting the hype train go wild, but hey, what do I know.



I agree with you @Ottomic. For whatever reason, Sony decided that this game was their golden child and ran with it. Maybe that was an insanely good sales pitch by NMS to PlayStation that made them way over confident that the game could deliver or maybe it was PlayStation not fully understanding what the game actually was and misaligning the marketing.

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This was basically how I felt while playing it. Exploring is cool, but when you discover something like a hidden cave or surprising landmark, it’s really cool when it means something because somebody made it. When you discover it in NMS, it’s essentially just a weirdly generated bit of land and means nothing. Through a lot of my time with NMS, it made me feel like it was a sub-par Subnautica which lacked a lot of the care and attention that the Subnautica team put in to their game.



Huh. I’m the opposite, while I appreciate the fact that Subnautica’s handcrafted and that means a tighter map generation and better overall resource distribution, I feel it’s really limited for someone who, like me, has already put 80+ hours into the game, since every playthrough tends to funnel down the same stuff and you can’t help but feel you’re going through the motions, which for a game about survival and exploration is extremely harmful. NMS, while samey, had the element of cool and extremely varied base spots, and finding paths through cave systems in the harshest Survival worlds was rewarding and fun almost every time (though granted, I felt the cave generation rather lackluster in every sense of the word, it’s no Astroneer for sure.)

But yes, NMS is an indie game made by a small indie team and its features should be expected to be as such. That was very visible way, WAY before release, and those who expected something else, or every feature announced to be as polished and complete as a game that had a tenth of them was simply setting themselves up for disappointment. While it’s true that both publisher and developer didn’t exactly reign the community’s expectations in, anyone with a modicum of foresight could’ve seen it coming. It’s common sense.



I think they can do a combination of both actually. Look at Seven Days to Die. It has a handcrafted map by default but there is a random gen world you can select for a challenge. Though in the case of Subnautica, it wasn’t really that big on what you can do compared to other games. The fact that you got 80 hours from it is a good amount I think.



I’ve spent 60 hours in it already, and once it actually releases I’ll probably spend another 40. It’s just so good.