No Man’s Sky has launched with a somewhat mixed critical reception. Depending on who you ask, it’s either a “relaxing experience of discovery in the vast unknown,” or a falsely advertised “steaming dumpster pile.”
Much of the criticism is well-founded but it’s too soon to give up on No Man’s Sky. Sean Murray, the game’s adorably awkward creator, says the focus of the game may change with future updates, so new features and tweaks seem likely. Here are a few that would help No Man’s Sky reach its enormous potential.
Get the hell off my planet!
From the beginning, Hello Games have made it clear that No Man’s Sky is a game about exploration and discovery, so why don’t I ever feel like I’m discovering anything?
It’s probably because structures and outposts built by the game’s alien races litter every planet. Some are abandoned, some have a single alien custodian for me to talk to.
It kills the sense of discovery when most of the planets I land on have more signs of intelligent life than my hometown in South East England. Sure, I’m the first human to discover this strange new world, but like Columbus before me, the natives have beaten me to the punch.
Restricting these intelligent beings to space stations and the occasional colony world would go a long way in making players feel less like tourists and more like explorers. When I touch down on an uncharted moon, I want it to feel lonelier than a Shadow Cabinet meeting.
Concept art spotted in the Hello Games office suggests that land vehicles are a feature that was either scrapped during development or simply wasn’t finished in time for release.
Whatever the case, a quad bike or moon buggy to roll around in would make exploration so much easier. As things stand, your ship is your only means of transportation, so the further you explore, the longer you’ll have to trudge back across ground you’ve already covered.
Being able to range further, faster and perhaps even remotely call our ship to us using the vehicle would unchain players from their spacecraft. Besides which, who doesn’t want to go off-roading on an alien planet?
Hey, if I can fit 15 crates of plutonium in my cargo hold, I can fit a moon buggy.
One of the most common complaints players have about No Man’s Sky is that the planets quickly start to all look the same. While there’s a great deal of variety in the flora and fauna, every planet is one of hills, mountains and valleys, with the occasional cave formation.
There are trees but no forests or jungles; grass but no fields; snow but no glaciers. Minecraft procedurally generates these kinds of environments, and so must No Man’s Sky if it wants to offer the kind of variety players expected from it.
Many of the best games, particularly those made by small teams, focus on doing one thing but doing it really well. No Man’s Sky has the potential to do exploration better than any other game out there. By giving us the means to explore the enormous worlds we land on, and ensuring that each discovery feels new and significant, Hello Games can make No Man’s Sky into the game we always hoped it would be.