Tuesday, November 29, 2016

No Man's Sky Foundation update: Survival impressions

No Man's Sky has had a rather large update after months of silence. I've been playing around with it, and here's what I think so far:

1) Every single action in the game now has a lot of weight behind it, and I mean every...single...action.

The first half dozen planets I spawned on before giving up were all extreme temperature / weather conditions. If you don't craft your scope quickly and *really* look in every direction before setting out, you're going to run out of life support and die. If you don't zig zag looking for the smallest outcrop of rocks overhead in order to ward off radioactive / cold / heat effects, you're going to end up exposed and die. If you make the wrong choice in terms of the elements you pursue first, you're going to die. If you stagger your last to the one single chunk of heridium on the planet so you can take off, only to realise it's a thin outcrop laid over a regular one and you fall short by like 6 units...you're going to die, and yes this happened to me twice.

The average distance I spawned in from my ship tended to be around 14 or so minutes walking time, so factor in trips in various directions to harvest resources and you have quite the challenge. I eventually *just* managed to crack it on a radioactive hellhole, and got the ship up and running with my last sliver of life support about to keel over.

Getting that damn ship repaired, stocked up with loot and - finally - off the ground was one of the hardest and most satisfying things I've done in a game.

And then I was immediately shot down by space pirates.

2) Taking off now requires 200 units of Plutonium, which is now hard to come by. That's right - you get to take off once, and then your thruster is empty. Micromanaging where you take off / land has never been more important - the suit upgrade down below may be incredibly tempting, but there's no plutonium in sight - should you land and not find any, you're stranded and locked into a load/die/load/die loop.

Bases with landing pads are now crucial, as well as using them as anchors of operation until you can establish a base of your own.

3) Asteroid mining is now important as you're likely to run out of fuel when moving large distances between planets. Which also means you're probably going to run into a few pirates and oh god now you're dead and you've lost everything aaaargh

4) Space stations / buildings / whatever now have more alien frog things in them, which is cool.

5) I've had a brief dabble with base building in Creative mode (my main character on Survival is spending their days living in a cave eating moss off the floor and the occasional pink bug) and it seems to work well - there's a lot of categories, a lot of options and a fair amount of customisation. Seems like a mashup between Fallout 4 and Subnautica, which is fine by me. I haven't touched the Freighter stuff yet but it all looks good so far, and being able to hire alien frog things and tie upgrades to said frogs can only help.

6) The animals look a little bit less like "here's what happens when you glue ten random body parts together".

7) Minerals and resources in the game world look more distinct now, and act a *tiny* bit more like how you'd expect them to in sort-of-but-not-quite real life. Terrain generation seems to have become a touch more adventurous, too.

8) I was expecting (hoping) that the base would, at best, be a huge ship so it can go with you - no point having a game about exploration and moving forward if you immediately go and live on a dustbowl. They exceeded expectations by having both land and space bases and tying them together with teleporters so it doesn't matter what part of the Galaxy you're in. This is awesome.

And hey, if you WANT to just pitch sticks on a dustbowl, you can do that too. Don't tell us what to do, maaaaan.

All in all, I'd give this 8 lovely man beards out of 10.

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