Right now, if you're a gamer, you're aware of either Pokemon Go, Overwatch, the new Destiny thingy, or No Man's Sky, and everything that the developers said they would put in it, and didn't. Dirty fuckin' liars!
Maybe it hasn’t been everything I wanted it to be. But it’s everything I expected it to be. The division over this game is extreme. Unlike so many people who have been following this game for (years!) up to it’s release, somehow this flew under my radar right up until a few weeks ago. I mean, I’d heard the name, and I was aware of “something something epic space exploration”, but other than that, it had really not made more than a blip on my radar. I caught an article about it on Kotaku, and on a whim, I picked it up.
The first few hours were intense! I was on a super toxic planet, which also had extreme levels of radiation. I could survive for about four minutes and forty five seconds outside of my ship, gathering materials and mining for resources before I needed to recharge my life support and escape the radiation. This presented problems, as some of the resources needed to fix my ship were more than 5 minutes away by foot. Then I learned I could re-charge my life support on the fly, and hide from radiation in caves. Neat! I resisted the urge to look up “how to” stuff online. This kind of game (at least to me) has the fun torn out of it if I just google “how to” everything. I’m not fixing my kitchen sink or replacing a sensor on my Jeep. I’m playing a game and I want to experience everything.
So I fixed my ship, I documented some animals and plants. I take off. I land on some other planets. I mine some more materials. I learn how to warp jump to other solar systems. There appears to be about a few dozen sentient creatures per solar system, and no cities. Upgrade your ship, explore a few planets, wash, rinse, repeat. I thought “this is still pretty neat, these planets are cool, and upgrading stuff is cool, but this is getting a little tedious.”
Am I playing this game right? Am I doing what I’m supposed to be doing? Am I getting max fun out of this? Is everyone online right that Hello Games didn’t deliver what they promised?
I jumped to the next solar system. I got ambushed by space pirates. My ship was badly damaged and I couldn’t leave the solar system. I needed materials, and couldn’t find any, or find anyone that had any for sale. I landed on a planet that was actually relatively stable and habitable, and named it after my dog. I set about looking for the materials I needed, and in the meantime, started documenting every weird-ass plant and animal I came across. I found a 15 foot tall turtle, that had praying mantis legs. “Mantis Turtle”. I fed it, and it smiled and made some weird sounds. I upgraded my gun with plasma grenades, and dug a huge tunnel/mine complex into the side of a hill, just for the heck of it. No, this is not Minecraft-lite, but it was fun making my own mine/tunnel system. I got a distress call/beacon. While I couldn’t hyperdrive out of the system, my ship (and guns) were still operational. I jumped into my boat and jetted out into the void. Space pirates were attacking some huge freighters that looked like the ship from the old 70's Movie The Black Hole. (awesome!) I helped them fight off the space pirates in a pretty cool dog fight. I got the materials I needed off the downed ships of the space pirates. However, I went back to the planet I named after my dog (Planet Argo) and explored some more. I named a settlement after my dog (Argotopolis) and upgraded my gun, and due to a really bad situation with language barriers, agreed to an arranged marriage with an alien that has two really large blue proboscis things coming out of her (I hope.....) face. I hope that part actually isn’t in the game. Please God, don't let this actually be in the fucking game.
I found a lonely Vy’Keen warrior who has been told he has to go fight in a war. He asked me to fight in his stead. I told him to sack up and go fight like a man (or .....whatever). He sadly accepted his fate. His people now look upon me more favorably....whatever that means? I made another tunnel system with my grenade gun. It’s quite well hidden, in the side of a hill. I hope to hide here when I’m called to marry the squid face.
I got attacked by 5 space pirates while trying to leave the Argo system. My shields got destroyed. While drifting, I tried to restore my shields. A lot of players online complain that you should be able to restore your shields while flying. I say that if you’re alone in your ship, is it really realistic that you’d be able to repair your shields while you’re blasting away AND flying/piloting your ship? The end result is that I got blown up, and as the screen turned to black, a profound quote from Stephen Hawking about the soul-crushing void came on the screen. I had to go back out there and retrieve my stuff (which didn’t take long....and honestly didn’t feel like much of a penalty for dying).
Based on what I’ve seen and read and heard about things that were promised, I can’t say that I wouldn’t welcome those features that aren’t in the game. But they aren’t here, and I’m still having a great time with the game. I trust that the dev team will deliver the things they say they can deliver when they get done patching the initial bugs. I look forward to the addition of base building. Then I’ll have more places to hide than just round tunnels.
There’s no “right” or “wrong” way to play a game like this. If you aren’t enjoying it, you’re rushing through it, and not taking the time to do more than mine for materials and try to get through the main story paths. The story paths, frankly, are the most boring part of the game. Maybe I’ll eventually run out of things to do, but until then I’m going to enjoy the ride.