No explanation is needed for the history of the release of No Man’s Sky; the time has come and gone. A year later, though, No Man’s Sky is closer than ever to the game it promised to be and revisiting a universe has never been so worth it. Quick side note: I did enjoy No Man’s Sky upon release and while eventually putting it down because of lack of content, it’s great taking up the helm of the easy to use space exploration sim. Other space sims out there might be more ‘realistic’ such as Elite Dangerous (another great game) but No Man’s Sky does hold something over such games: the ease of relaxation.
The first thing to greet any player if returning to No Man’s Sky will be one’s saves waiting for them. A quick suggestion, if it has been a while since playing No Man’s Sky, it’s probably best to just delete whatever save is sitting on screen to begin anew. It will allow for a completely fresh start with the help of all the new tutorials, in case it’s been a while since playing, easing the confusion of booting up a game without any context as to what might have been happening in the old save. Within the first few hours this will become obvious, introducing how to manage resources better or meeting the new alien life that happens to be waiting around. After hoping around a few planets/systems and reacquainting with the story line (which actually has structure), base building will be introduced. This isn’t part of the Atlas update, but it’s a profound change that adds such a personal touch to No Man’s Sky. It’s always sweet having a home in a game and nesting in that home can be even more fun. Just remember, choose wisely where those bases reside. Pro-tip: It’s more fun when bases on planets require some real effort for traversal, not that anyone will be raiding said base (maybe?) but it adds a personal narrative note that is fun for play.
Exploration on all fronts has become immensely better, with more diverse biomes for every planet/system No Man’s Sky is showcasing the game it wanted to be. Still in the early hours this won’t show as much, but eventually landing on a planet where there is a ridiculous amount of fauna/flora is inevitable. It’s cool realizing that a menagerie of alien-creatures’ roams anywhere and everywhere on a planet just touched down on. Being surrounded by all sorts of alien life doesn’t become uncommon. Speaking of diversity, let’s talk about those planets. It might be those fresh eyes returning, but planets have become so much fun now. Sometimes the unexpected will happen, like getting the ship rode in on stuck on a massive floating land mass in the sky. Luckily, with new features like being able to call the ship to a specific location, getting that ship unstuck doesn’t become a problem. Unless the ship has no fuel, in which case another great feature can be used that doesn’t require reloading a previous save, terrain manipulation.
This might be one of the best features now in No Man’s Sky. Not only is it useful for creating massive structures to get back to that ship, but it also requires few resources to charge and it can be used for other useful purposes. Need a shelter on the fly because a heat storm just hit the planet and it’s now 654F outside? Not a problem, just build a quick nook of a cave. Or take that same cave idea and make a personal bat cave, as one reddit user shows, not only does it cut out those pesky environmental problems but it looks cool. The terrain manipulator is just plain fun and adds one more way to just chill in this wacky universe.
The good times don’t stop with just the features outlined above. All those new tutorials were put in place for a reason. There is a myriad to do and see and going through those tutorials will help in the long run. One feature that is on the back burner for my specific playthrough are missions. When No Man’s Sky launched, the universe felt sparse for how impressively massive it is. It’s the reason many people set it down. It became grating warping into systems only to be greeted by the same thing seen in the last five systems before. Now, however, with actual mission NPCs found throughout space stations it’s never been easier to become the space bounty hunter only dreamed about. It might not be as complex as say “insert space sim here,” but part of the fun of No Man’s Sky is how user friendly it is. It doesn’t want the game to be difficult (unless playing Survival or Permadeath), it just wants the player to sit back and have a good time with whatever they might do. Missions now being one of those features perks up the ears and once a more powerful weapon or ship is obtained, it’s hard not to feel the pull of blowing up a few sentinels for that Gek.
No Man’s Sky has stepped up to the plate again and hitting where it missed the first time. It might not be knocking it out of the park, but that’s not what it’s trying to do. Hello Games has been working quietly while delivering quality content that has improved quality of life in all areas of the game. One can only imagine the conversation around this game had it been early access and it released now instead of last year. It still might not be for everyone, but it doesn’t need to be. No Man’s Sky seems to be happy to keep rolling out quality content that will continue to improve upon what was an extremely rocky start. I still don’t have a vehicle yet, which will be quite exciting because there are different classes of vehicle just like there are different classes of weapons/ships. And knowing that the Atlas Rises update brings thirty plus hours of gameplay with other great features means the space exploration won’t stop anytime soon. If it’s been on the mind to come back to this game, just check it out, it’s worth it. Oh and all this content is free.