Trying to review No Man’s Sky is a pretty difficult task. Not only is the game impossibly huge but it’s built in an opaque manner that refuses easy categorisation, especially when it comes to the storyline.
Elements like the inventory system, resource shuffling and the Atlas waffle are all far more frustrating when you’re in a hurry. No Man’s Sky doesn’t respond to whim or agenda, it just sprawls outwards in every direction, willing you to explore at your leisure.
And so you should. I can’t get across just how important it is to develop this vibe if you’re planning on stepping up to the challenge of the game. Sit in your cockpit, take a breath and chill the feck out.
You’re quite simply not going to get anywhere in a hurry in No Man’s Sky, it’s every mechanic and methodology seems to have been designed from the ground up to deflect and dissuade forward momentum.
The best time I’ve had with the game so far was on a randomly named planet with a pleasantly red terrain and a heavy atmosphere. These globes spinning endlessly through the cosmos are heavy in atmosphere and tough on your health and shield, but also packed with materials to collect.
And so I did, whisking around in my ship (and never forgetting to hoover up Plutonium) from one tiny patch of civilisation to the next. Each location had the promise of intergalactic goodies, a new alien to meet or a station which would reveal nearby points of interest.
I spied ancient ruins from the atmosphere, soaking up their knowledge before visiting a trading station and offloading my junk. I mined Heridium at length, turning those shimmering monoliths into raw credits and leapt back to my sprightly ship. I found upgrade pods and downed spacecraft spitting sparks while spying strange creatures and naming them as my whim (and whimsy) commanded.
There are many awkward elements to No Man’s Sky but they all melt away if you surrender to the pull of exploration and discovery. Cruising under thruster speed above a teeming planet is the ultimate way to experience the game, at least for me, and a shining example of what Hello Games has created.
So don’t worry about Atlas my friends, that gigantic red orb can wait. Stock up on basic supplies, throw on your own favourite tracks, relax and head out into the cosmos at your own pace.