After putting No Man’s Sky off for a while, I decided to get a take of it from other gamers in my house. My household consists of a couple of gamers that range from hardcore, to casual, to complete mobile gamers. Each of them have their own preference in what they play and how they play it. It was surprising to see that they actually loved No Man’s Sky, dare I say even more than me?
This got me thinking that maybe us gamers who are used to games like The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, Destiny, and other massive immersive experience, need to readjust our standards a little bit. Sure it is normal to get our backs up when a game’s price tag is close to R1000, and it fails to deliver its original promises. But there is so much good behind No Man’s Sky, that those who were not exposed to the original concept, found it extremely enjoyable. After taking a new approach to the game, a more casual approach to it, I have to say that it is rather fantastic, and best played while relaxing with a good show or movie in the background, and glass of wine.
Could No Man’s Sky be targeting a casual audience?
Well, after a couple of hours, it seems so. No Man’s Sky has a unique experience that eliminates violence and death, for a journey through a galaxy that is like no other. Everything that the game revolves around, is a solo experience, that is best done at a gradual pace. No Man’s Sky, like I have said before, reminds me of a game that does not rely on any sort of skill to play. You grab the controller, and head into the galaxy to explore planets and billions of stars that await. Everything that it stands for, is assisted by some sort of hidden mechanic to help you along the way, and it is designed in such a way, that there will always be something nearby to aid you.
While exploring new planets I came across some really ugly ones, but at the same time there was always beauty somewhere to be found. Be it the floating islands scattered across the red barren wasteland, or the sheer magnitude of the caves that hide the rare resources you need to refill your life support. There was always this feeling of excitement as I slowly descended a new planet, and the land ahead loaded in. As my spaceship landed, and I exited the cockpit, the sense of loneliness set in.
I loaded up the Oblivion soundtrack on my soundbar, and went off exploring the planet without any real objectives. While many may hate this, I found it the game’s biggest strength, the casual take which very few games offer. You can either play a game because you are so skilled at that specific genre, or you can’t. No Man’s Sky breaks that barrier by setting you off on your own adventure, in a simplistic universe.
Tread carefully though as the game does not hold your hand all the time, but when the time comes to fight back, aim assist will help you. Sentry drones and hostile creatures you come across will try and attack you, but a simple magazine of your Multi-Tool will take them down pretty fast. You can be aiming anywhere near the target, and it will help you defeat it by targeting bullets to its location. Aim assist really makes the game’s most difficult mechanic, so much easier to get your head around, and you will seldom die because of a shot to the head from a sentry.
No Man’s Sky really offers a journey that will speak to our inner astronaut. I often think about what lies out there, and if it is worth exploring and calling home. No Man’s Sky is probably the closest I will ever get to exploring another world, and imagining what it would be like to venture the unknown. The best part about it, is that you can do it with no real effort. Just load up the game, put a good stream on your laptop next to you, and head on out. I literally played the game while watching my spirit animal, Kristen Wiig, wreck a giant cookie in Bridesmaids. No big deal.
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