No Man’s Sky Review Round-Up

If ever there was going to be a game likely to split opinion it would be No Man’s Sky. Built on frankly incredible technology, and throwing a virtually infinite world at players to explore, there’s clearly something very special about Hello Games space-faring epic. However, does technological prowess equate to a good game? It’s here that things become less clear, with critics torn over what has actually been achieved.

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Eurogamer – Recommended

“With much of the No Man’s Sky’s structure having apparently been added in the final month of development, that’s not so surprising. (The patch notes are eye-opening; mere weeks ago, this was half the game it is now.) There is tremendous room for it to grow and improve. As it stands, it’s flawed but completely intoxicating, a unique work of engineering art to lose yourself in. Sean Murray and his team at Hello Games set out with one goal: to create a game that is science fiction. Mission accomplished.”

IGN – 6/10 (Review In Progress)

“No Man Sky’s biggest failing, though, is that after more than 25 hours played I’m effectively doing the same things I was doing in the first hour. The differences that have been introduced through crafted and looted upgrades haven’t done enough to change up or evolve the gameplay loop of exploring, harvesting, crafting, fighting, and limited interaction. Despite having traveled thousands of light years and passing through several black holes, all I’ve really discovered is more of the same. In a game that takes so long to reach its stated goal, that’s just not enough.”

Gamespot – 7/10

“No Man’s Sky is immediately a massive game with impressive seamless transitions from ground to space, and it will entertain your inner collector for a while. The more you get to know it, the more you recognize its faults, and it’s easy to fall so deep into the act of exploring and trading that your focus narrows to those aspects alone. If, however, you consider everything it has to offer and listen to what Atlas has to say, No Man’s Sky becomes more than a collection of slightly different worlds in a seemingly never-ending galaxy–it becomes an examination of the meaning of life in a way that’s more valuable than all the gold or starships in its virtual galaxy.”

The Jimquisition – 5/10

“Like Spore before it, No Man’s Sky is a game that promised far more than it could ever deliver, but I can’t even blame my tepid reaction on hype. I did not for a second believe Hello Games’ vaguely described spacefarer could be anywhere near as varied and expansive as promised. Even with my expectations guarded, however, I did not expect just another survival/crafting game that used randomization as a crutch to the point of losing all potential personality.”

Destructoid – 7/10

“No Man’s Sky isn’t quite what I thought it would be. It’s a fun sandbox game that’s full of wonder, until it isn’t. Unlike other similar titles, the magic fades over time, because 18 billion planets (sorry, 18 quintillion) don’t matter if it feels like there’s only truly 20 unique ones. I wouldn’t recommend No Man’s Sky if you don’t like getting lost — but for those of you who do, wander away.”

Videogamer – 6/10

“…for that first ten hours or so, for that sliver of space-time where all of it is new, it’s quite brilliant. The design decisions you can point to as flaws are always at least understandable. It’s full of great ideas and great moments, regardless of how long it takes for you to get fed up of them. So while it’s difficult to give it a glowing recommendation, it’s impossible to hate. On balance, it succeeds – for just long enough to be worth going in.”

Polygon – 6/10

“The magical tech behind No Man’s Sky has long been its selling point, so I guess the game’s nature as wide but shallow makes a lot of sense. Hello Games has built a set of tools that is amazing and unprecedented, something that could absolutely change the way huge games are made if placed in the right hands. But these powerful universe creation algorithms have been grafted onto a game that is, beyond its initial hours, so light on imagination. No Man’s Sky offers an incredible, impossible universe — but there’s little to do within it.”

Time – 9/10

“I’ve poured hundreds of hours into Minecraft and I’ve yet to visit “The End” or slay the Ender Dragon. Our ideas of what it means to play much less “finish” games like this look increasingly like scatter charts. Even if a hundred or more hours from now No Man’s Sky wears out its welcome, I’ll be grateful and still somewhat awestruck by what a tiny team of developers rejiggering decades-old design ideas managed to pull off.”

Guardian – 8/10

“The game that Hello Games has laid atop their incredible engine won’t be enough for some people. Fortunately, the developers have already said that they’ll add new features in future (free) updates, and presumably they’ll also fix the bugs, further tweak the balance, and hopefully adapt the UI for things like inventory management and location markers. But what’s there in the game as it exists today, the procedurally generated galaxy at its core, is incredible, and definitely worth exploring.”

Metro – 6/10

“…despite what seem like obvious failings you still get the feeling this is largely the game that Hello Games wanted to make. Whether they intend to use it as a foundation for more varied experiences to come is not clear, but even if they leave it as it is No Man’s Sky is still a game perfectly able to entertain and enthral for dozens of hours. But while the sky’s the limit in terms of its potential, most of your grander hopes and expectations will be brought down to earth very quickly.”

PlayStation Lifestyle – 9/10

“No Man’s Sky isn’t flawless. It’s probably not for everyone. Then again, No Man’s Sky is exactly as described by the eccentric Sean Murray. If you’ve ever dreamed of being a cosmonaut, of starting with practically nothing and amassing a fortune, of becoming a notorious space pirate, or had any other of the countless sci-fi fantasies out there, this is probably the game for you. Now, those fantasies might not play out exactly as you’d have hoped in No Man’s Sky, but this is a game that begs those who put in the time to come back just once more and see what lies just over the horizon. If this game is right for you, you won’t be able to put the controller down.”

We Got This Covered – 7/10

“No Man’s Sky isn’t the “game to end all games” that some fans have made it out to be, but that’s no cause for alarm. What Hello Games’ ambitious project does offer is the chance to savor the little details in a massive universe absolutely rife with them — a messy universe, to be sure, but one that’s not that different from our own in that regard.”

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Written by
TSA's Reviews Editor - a hoarder of headsets who regularly argues that the Sega Saturn was the best console ever released.

37 Comments

  1. Very mixed reviews out there. After reading the most negative ones and the positive ones I do end up feeling a bit disappointed. It seems to be very, very repetitive which is not always bad. I loved Minecraft (for a while). I guess the question in my mind. Is it worth full retail price? If it stays as it is. Probably not. If Hello Games keep working on it. Maybe. Glad I didn’t pre order. I think the price will slide.

  2. …and these reviews are just from the console version. The PC version is getting slated even more.

    I guess Hello Games have never heard the phrase, “under-promise and over-deliver”.

    • I don’t think they ever promised more than what is in the game. People just hyped it too much.

  3. Some of those reviews are obvious click-bait. Like the one that was obviously rushing to be the first review and gave it 5/10 after obviously not playing it long enough.

    It’s a definite 8 or 9, with potential improvements coming which could push it up to 9 or 10.

    But, it’s not for everyone. And you need to stick with it after the first couple of hours until the point where you suddenly realise you’re going to be playing it for far too long before you go to bed.

    Pretty much delivers exactly what was promised, which may or may not be what you want, or even what you thought they were promising.

    I could just fly around the universe for weeks, experiencing all the little things you find. Parked my ship up a tree by accident, headed off to a giant egg made of gold, got attacked by aggressive tentacled crabs, made my way back to my ship, at night, in a storm, finally get back into the warm ship, fly off into space, get attacked by pirates, kill them, make my way to a spacestation, sell stuff for lots of money and (I think) get engaged to a sexy lady alien by mistake. (I was trying to be helpful).

    The thing is, for the first few hours, you’re just getting to grips with things, running out of inventory space, and learning how it all works. And giving it 5/10 reviews.

    And the music is lovely. Mostly very calm and relaxing, sometimes gets all exciting, or weird, and then the main piano theme creeps in.

    Oh, and the planets rotate. You don’t just have it getting dark or light at set times. Getting a bit cold because the sun set? Hop in your ship and fly towards the sunset and it’ll soon be light again. Until you rotate back into darkness.

    • Don’t get me wrong it does look good and how you describe it makes me want to rush out and buy it. But even the positive reviews criticise the having to constantly gather resources just to survive. I am just not convinced it’s full retail value. Seems more like a £20 PSN game. Not a £40 purchase.

      • The resources thing isn’t as bad as some people would have you believe. Different resources are used to fuel different equipment, but some stuff has several uses. Collect everything you see, you’ll run into trouble with inventory space quickly. Learn what each thing does, and you’ll manage. Learn to send stuff back to your ship (where each inventory slot holds twice as much). Learn how to get more inventory space in your suit and ship.

        Yes, it’s a problem to start with. But not so much of an issue later. Which leads me to suspect some of those reviews that mention it might not have been playing long, in a rush to get the review out.

        As for the price, it’s absolutely worth full price if it’s your sort of game. It’s not some £10 PSN game that you finish in 5 hours (nothing wrong with that either). It’s dozens of hours of game, probably even hundreds of hours. Worth the price.

        But only if it’s the sort of game you’d like. Which it sounds like it is in your case.

      • It does sound a bit disingenuous that they are criticising a survival game for the fact that you are constantly gathering resources for survival.

      • I am not sure people ever knew it was a survival game until it released. I think people knew your suit would need repairing but it seems most planets appear hostile environments.

      • Admittedly they kept their cards close to their chest all along which probably didn’t help but a couple of days before the game launched Sean Murray posted this just in time for the reviewers..

        http://www.no-mans-sky.com/2016/08/what-do-you-do-in-no-mans-sky/

  4. I’ve just spent 7 hours on my first planet, and i’m not in any particular rush to leave yet.

    Nothing on this scale has ever been done before and yet some folks are hating it for what it isn’t. \_(ツ)_/¯

    • 7 hours on 1 planet? 18 quintillion planets to visit?

      I think you’d better get a move on there.

      By my calculations, at that rate the (real) universe will be a million times older than it currently is by the time you’ve finished.

    • I thought it was just me! I’ve played about the same amount of time, over 3 evenings, and I’m still exploring my first planet. Haven’t felt any need to rush off to the rest of the galaxy yet, I’m still finding interesting things here :)

      (I might have moved on sooner if my first planet had been less benign …)

      • Yep, my first planet is littered with gold eggs so i’ve been mining them for trade. Once you start following waypoints the upgrades start flowing. I’ve bought a new ship with more slots and better tech, a better multitool and have also upgraded my suit a little (more soon now that i know to look for drop pods)

      • You can upgrade your suit with an extra inventory slot at every space station. But I’ll leave you to work out how. ;)

      • Space station? That involves leaving the planet.. drop pods for now .. ;)

  5. I truly agree with IGN review for once. It’s a very do the same thing just on a different planet kind of game. Another hype train

    • But then look at some big FPS game. IGN gave Codblops3 a 9.2. And that’s just doing the same thing on a handful of different maps. A quintillionth of the number of maps, really. (I’ll assume any single player portion to a big FPS game is not what most people are interested in)

      So they should have given NMS several quintillion out of 10 by that logic.

      • Yeah, because you’re going to meet other players and put your skills and equipment to the test on all those planets. Oh wait.

  6. Depth seems to be the key word. Hello Games promised a lot of it, and in actuality there’s not that much of it (allegedly). I don’t think that makes it a bad game, but obviously it was promoted as an ambitious project and it’s proving to be not quite so. I don’t think the question has ever been of content or scale, the quintbillion planets is great, but is there quintbillion things to actually do, and further is there quintbillion different properties that exist in the game. Otherwise I’m not sure all the planets make sense.

    The next move, at the very least, has to be including multiplayer interactions. Maybe pour all of what is unique and varied in everyone’s own game into unpredictable and fun PvP and PvE battles.

    • How long will it take though to add some decent MP features? Probably too long for the majority of players who will have moved on, or got it refunded on Steam at least.

    • No, it doesn’t need any sort of multiplayer stuff. It’s a single player game, in a universe shared with loads of people you’re never going to meet due to the size of the place. (Ok, we’ll ignore the people that tried to meet, just because ;)

      It was always supposed to be single player (or effectively single player). Why add multiplayer when there’s so much else they could add?

      • Because of the excitement actually running into or spotting another player would add? Or because the developers said it would be possible?

        Now, it could be server issues. But seeing the devs only respond in cryptic PR talk is dissapointing.

      • Ah, the thing where they said it was incredibly unlikely it would ever happen, then it did happen (because almost impossible things are pretty much guaranteed to happen), and something’s obviously there to deal with the unlikely event, but the servers couldn’t cope and so some people turned it into a big conspiracy theory.

        But that’s the internet for you.

      • “that’s the internet for you”

        Well the devs should have been better at communicating what exactly it was then. Clearly, people are annoyed as they felt it would have more features and be better than it is, hence the poor reviews from critics.

      • The developers quite clearly communicated exactly what it is. Some people clearly weren’t paying attention though. And some were hoping for something different to what was delivered.

        If they don’t deliver what they say, people moan. And if they do, people still moan because they wanted something else. Even though what was delivered is exactly what was promised.

        As for the reviews, I don’t think they can be described as poor, can they? A few poor quality click-bait reviews, desperate to rush out a review before anyone else while obviously not playing it enough. But 2/3 of the reviews on metacritic currently are 70 or above. And that’s poor is it?

      • “But 2/3 of the reviews on metacritic currently are 70 or above”

        Huh? The whole point of metacritic is it gives an average, which is currently 69. Ignoring 1/3 of the scores because they are bad is pointless.

        Ok, maybe 69 isn’t “poor”, but it’s certainly not what I was expecting.

      • The whole point of Metacritic is that it gives some sort of weighted average based on some secret formula. The real average of those 28 scored reviews is 71%, not 69%.

        They also have a strange thing where under 75 is “mixed”, unless it’s films, in which case it’s under 60. Because their whole system is weird and secret.

        And the scores get dragged down by reviews that are obviously just click-bait.

        In this case, even the developer admitted it’s not a game for everyone. And yet people are reviewing it as if it was, and marking it down for that. Just look at the user scores for evidence of that theory. All seem to be either love it or hate it. Not much in the middle.

      • @MrYd You’re effectively saying that if someone doesn’t like a game their review isn’t valid because they didn’t like it.

  7. Basically a game for gamers who dont have ADD.

    IGN giving this game 6/10 for being repetitive but they give COD 9/10 or 10/10 every year for the same reason :D

  8. I’d give it a solid 8/10, purely because I feel like I needed my hand holding more in the opening stages. MrYd, I think you’ve got your head around what this game is and described it really well. Maybe others have wild expectations due to not being told enough by Hello in the run up to release, maybe they were expecting another Freelancer rather than neon Elite? I’m enjoying NMS, the scope is mind blowing, I’m thinking of it more as a procedural survival where my own imagination fills in the blanks and it’s working well for me.

  9. Sounds like they may have been better off creating a smaller universe with a more reasonable number of planets (say 25ish) that have actually been designed with secrets, enemies, increasing challenges etc like a elder scrolls style world rather than the procedurally generated world’s. The lies over it’s alleged multiplayer made them look microsoft level deceptive. Coincidentally when asked about a Xbox version Sean Murray gave a ms style “I can’t really discuss that” answer. If it comes to Xbox I’d buy it despite the middling reviews as I could probably get immersed in it for a while.

  10. I’m not surprised the reviews on average are not brilliant. But it sounds a lot like the game is judged in many of the reviews against the reviewer’s expectations, which were fed by the enormous pre-launch hype. That, in my view, doesn’t do the game justice, especially as these indy developers really had a vision and we’re trying something new. And stupid gits like IGN and others are now sort of working hard to kill off innovation in the games industry.
    I didn’t get the game, as it didn’t seem like a game I needed from day one, but it sounds like it doesn’t deserve these kinds of reviews.

    • *were* – stupid autocorrect…

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