Saturday Morning Rant: No Man’s Sky

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There has been no game this year that has been more polarizing than No Man’s Sky. Since it was first shown off at the VGX Awards in 2013, you could not go anywhere on the gaming spectrum of the internet without seeing people talking endlessly about how awesome this space exploration game from Hello Games was going to be.

When I first saw that VGX reveal, I was amazed at what I saw, it looked absolutely beautiful. I remember consciously thinking that this game has great potential and could be one of the best games of the year whenever it came out. Fast forward to 2016 and with the game still not out and a myriad of showings of the game, but never really saying much about it, leaving us in mystery as to what this game was going to be, I wasn’t nearly as psyched about the game. Was I still planning to get it? Absolutely, my plan was to wait till it dropped in price and then grab it. But I ended up getting it on Day 2 of its release as I had a 15% off code that was going to expire that day.

I really should’ve used it on something cheaper.

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Now I’m not saying the game is as terrible, as insulting and as life-threatening as everyone on the internet is crying saying about it, in fact I half-ass enjoy the game. For me, No Man’s Sky has become what Minecraft used to be, what grinding materials and glimmer in Destiny still is for me, it’s a background game for when I’m listening to podcasts and such. No Man’s Sky in its current state is basically an exploration game with mining and light upgrading mechanics, nothing more and nothing less.

So I have to address the biggest elephant in the room, did Hello Games lie to us? Did they mislead us? Did they under-deliver? Yes to all of those, to varying degrees. It’s very clear that the game did not deliver to the expectations that Hello Games and the gaming media gave to all the people that planned on purchasing the game, especially on Day 1. It’s also very clear that the game we were shown at VGX, at E3, on Stephen Colbert’s show and many other places, that game is not the same game that was released to us on August 9th, in fact at best it feels like we got 50% of the game upon release, as if the full release of No Man’s Sky was akin to an Early Access release on Steam, or a beta on consoles.

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What we actually got upon release was a game that in my opinion has the exploration pretty much down pat, minus the absolutely terrible spaceship controls and nothing else. Which if the game was half the price, I honestly wouldn’t have an issue with. The fun I’ve had in the game has been exploring each planet and moon and taking breathtaking screenshots of what I’ve seen. Also within the gaming community of Destiny players I’ve been a part of for over a year now, I’ve had fun naming planets after members of the community and making quips about the world in relation to them, it’s been a hilarious point of contention in the community chat. But in terms of the rest of the game, there’s not a whole lot else to do.

When I was telling my friends in my community’s chat about the game, I referred to it as Space Minecraft, thinking that was the easiest way to describe the game. However upon further review, I’m giving No Man’s Sky far more credit by calling it that. Minecraft has infinite building mechanics, No Man’s Sky has none of that, in fact it astonishes me that Hello Games released this game without any ability to build a home on a planet you discover. You can go into all these alien-built buildings (and all of them suspiciously look the same), but you can’t make your own stamp on the world beyond drilling holes into giant formations of gold, emeril, nickel, copper, aluminum or whatever other materials have these massive crystalized formations around the world. That’s the closest you can get to having a house, drilling a few holes in a giant chunk of gold. Minecraft has a myriad of unique enemies and a hefty amount of combat. No Man’s Sky has two types of Sentinels that are easy to kill, a few random creatures that will attack you in the same way and space pirates that are either super easy to kill or super frustrating because the controls are terrible.

At best, No Man’s Sky is 25% of Day 1 Minecraft, there’s nowhere near enough substance to the game to have it remotely close to the same level of a game like Minecraft, at best No Man’s Sky is your typical Early Access survival game on Steam that has randomly generated worlds and creatures. The game in its current state to me, is a space exploration game with a emphasis on mining materials so you can explore more worlds. That’s it.

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But what’s really gotten on my nerves is not the game itself, rather the reactions of people who clearly were way too invested into this game and suffered from the same stupid problem that so many people fall into the trap of doing: over-hype. For fuck’s sakes, people! You need to stop getting so emotionally involved in a video game, a film, a TV show, a sports team, all that shit, anything that you can get yourself so overly psyched up until Day 1 and then when it finally happens, when it’s released or the season starts and things don’t go the way you wanted it to, you get super pissed off about it. I’m not saying don’t get invested, don’t get interested, but please tone down your expectations.

Take for example Mass Effect: Andromeda, this is the game highest on my list of anticipated games yet to come out. I’m not watching every single piece of content that comes out for it, I’m not spending hours on end on the game’s Reddit page, community forums or anywhere else talking a big game about it and becoming an evangelist, an apologist, a walking, breathing advertising billboard for the game. I’m also not going into the game’s release next year (hopefully) expecting a 10/10 game, a game that’ll be on the level of awesomeness as Mass Effect 2. My expectations of the game at best are at an 8/10 level, I just want the game to recapture my feelings when I first started playing the original trilogy. I’m not expecting the game to change my life, change the entire foundations of the gaming industry or anything so unobtainable that it could never happen. I’m going in with light expectations so that if the game fails to be what I expected, it’s a light disappointment and nothing more.

I can’t imagine taking a single game so seriously, I don’t understand how people were and still are so defensive about No Man’s Sky, both before and after the game’s release. It’s a fucking video game folks, unless you were on the team who made the game, you should not be this emotionally attached to it. It got to the point where it’s very obvious that a lot of the “fans” of the game have turned into cult members, brainwashed by the game’s doctrine. I mean come on, if you’re going to go as far as sending death threats to a games journalist for saying the game was going to be delayed another couple months, you’ve been drinking the Kool-Aid, my friend!

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The game was indeed a massive disappointment, there’s no doubt about that. For a full-price AAA level of game, we got nowhere near the value one would expect from a game of this price point, this caliber. Hopefully upon further patches, DLC (hopefully the first bit isn’t priced, but I’m betting it will be) and PC mods, the game will become better in time and maybe reach the level it was supposed to upon release. But as of right now, it’s not that and don’t pretend like it is. I’ve put 20 hours into the game and I’ve enjoyed my time with the game, but I also haven’t drank the proverbial Kool-Aid so I’m in the right state of mind to say that this game is nowhere near worth $60 and this game is at best a 6/10, y’know…the 6/10 that means it’s passable and not shit like current reviewers give 6’s out for.

But if you’re enjoying the game like I am, maybe even more than me, that’s fantastic and all to you. But please, can we stop with the whole “You have a different opinion than me, so fuck you!” bullshit already? We’re not all the same person, there will be different and conflicting opinions. Grow the fuck up, stop acting like a petulant child because people aren’t saying nice things about the game you like, because the game wasn’t what you expected, because you over-hyped yourself for a game that was never going to reach the potential you gave it.

And seriously folks, do we need anymore reasons to not pre-order games? How many fucking times do you have to get burned before you learn your lesson? WAIT FOR THE FUCKING GAME TO COME OUT!!! It’s not that fucking hard!

One comment

  1. I’m enjoying No Man’s Sky. I agree that outside of exploration there isn’t much to do, but I’m kind of happy with that element – though it would be nice is there was some variety in the bildings you discover on the planets. Possibly my favourite part of the game is finding the knowledge stones and learning new words so that communication with the aliens becomes less and less guessing and more actually knowing what I’m being asked. Weird but I find I get a real sense of accomplishment from that.
    It is amazing how many people are getting worked up about it though. Play it or don’t. It won’t be the first game you bought and got burned on (if you don’t like it) and it won’t be the last so move on.

    Like

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