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No Man’s Sky Review

No Man’s Sky ventures in to a new frontier with a universe full of unique planets. It allows the player to “go where no man has gone before.” Unlike Captain Kirk, you will not be able to surround yourself with a crew of friends physically or virtually. This is a game meant to be played alone. Although the video game community is split on whether or not this game is an epic success or an epic failure, no one can contest a few key points.

First, the game does not contain all the elements promised in the pre-launch campaign—of course few games do.

Second, if you try to play the game is traditional manner trying to reach an objective, solve the puzzle, climb the levels, conquer the game and its opponents, you are setting yourself up for a frustrating few hours.

Third, using an algorithm to create limitless flora, fauna and biomes has broken a barrier that could be an evolutionary step in video game development.

No Man’s Sky allows users time for solitude and reflection while being engaged and entertained. Strategies are not for survival, but creation and exploration. Players build their own space ships for esthetics, rather than better weapons or more speed.

The game taps into the part of us that needs to carve a quiet place out of our day where we can retreat and no one else can follow. Playing No Man’s Sky reminds me of a friend of mine who rakes their Zen garden every day for 30 minutes. Or my grandfather who used to walk the perimeter of his farm every night after dinner. If you like to run or ride your bike for miles just because, you will love this game.

This is not a video game where there is a clear objective, like collecting items to save the princess, kill everyone on a level to reach the next one, navigate a battlefield to save your squad. If you move quickly through the game trying to reach new planets and doing a cursory check to see what lives there and what they look like, you will be very disappointed with this game.

If you enter the new universe as if it was your new home, and slowly absorb and name each element of the planet, you can embrace the wonder of the journey. Stand still and feel the pulse of your new world.

It is an unusual and contradictory game, one that asks very little of its players while simultaneously demanding a great deal. It’s a frustrating failure in many ways, technically unpolished and seemingly unfinished. It’s full of perplexing design decisions and half-realized ideas. It gets a few big things right and a hundred little things wrong. It draws you in with a promise of endless splendor, then swiftly reveals itself to be something much more ordinary.

No Man’s Sky is a fascinating game, in part because of its novel concept—to fly through near-infinite space, exploring a vast, uncharted universe on your way to its center—and in part because of its tangle of expectations, hype, and controversy.  Relaxing and flowing with the game, allowing the quiet creation and exploration can restore your peace of mind at the end of the day.

You won’t fit every resource into your inventory at first, so here are the most important things to collect in the first couple hours:

Carbon
It is the most essential element in No Man’s Sky, able to recharge your mining tool and your life support — both of which can take any red-clad isotope, but seriously, only use carbon. Carbon’s also used when interacting with random alien encounters. So far, every planet we’ve gone to has had an abundance of carbon. When in doubt, shoot all the plants and trees. Keep some on you at all times.

The other isotopes (red elements): Plutonium and Thamium9
Both are essential for specific tasks — Plutonium recharges your ship’s launch thrusters, while Thamium9 recharges your pulse engine. Both are considered “rare” although it’s easy to spot plutonium (red crystals, same on every planet) and Thamium9 is ridiculously common once you’re in outer space (shoot any asteroid). Whenever you find these, it’s best to transfer most / all back to your ship immediately (hold down triangle when in your menu) to keep your exosuit’s inventory clean.

The oxides (yellow): Iron, Zinc, and Titanium
Iron is in every rock, and though it’s essential for early-game repair and crafting, its usefulness lessens after you leave the first planet. Zinc and Titanium, the rarer oxides, can also be used to recharge your hazard protection (although a cheaper solution is to run indoors or hop in your ship, if those are options). It’s always good to have a bit of zinc on you, if nothing else, and trust that there’ll be a nearby rock if you really need Iron.

Heridium and other silicates (blue)
Heridium is crucial when you’re preparing your hyper drive. It’s also perhaps the most annoying part of the tutorial, which asks you to walk far away from your ship in search of the element. Feel free to transfer additional Heridium to your ship as soon as you get it — you won’t often need it on hand.

Green elements
Okay so… this is a very long game, and maybe later on this will mean something else, but at this point all green-tinted elements and items only seem to exist for selling in the galactic market. And while sometimes the market favors one element over the other, given the sparseness of inventory slots, it may not be a bad idea to sell these often. Same as with the silicates, feel free to transfer to your ship as soon as you get it, to keep your exosuit inventory clean.

There’s good money to be made on the galactic market. Every system’s space station (and a few random terrestrial spots) provides a place to buy and sell items and upgrades. Prices vary based on each store (a helpful prompt tells you whether or not it’s in your favor). That’s one of the best ways to make money. But here’s an even better way: hold L2 to look at and analyze every creature you see. The galactic library is trying to chronicle everything in the universe, and it seems to have unlimited funds. Press option to open up your library, which lets you rename and upload everything you’ve found. Systems and planets give you the most credit, but you also get paid for discovering creatures and plants.

Ultimately, if you are a person who loves to build and create. If you loves to unwind by relaxing, then you will enjoy and appreciate this game.