I am low on resources and short on time as I slingshot my way toward an unknown planet. The planetary scene during my descent doesn’t look promising; a dark and fiery red planet awaits my first steps. I find a good landing zone and put my ship down and take my first look at the vast world that lays before me. No other human has ever set foot on this world; I am its sole population.
I start to run as fast as I can to gather resources when something bright and shiny catches my attention, a gold resource vein shooting up from the surface of the planet. I spot another, and then another, until I notice that the radiation filled planet that I have discovered also has a staggering amount of gold to be mined. Gold veins as far as the eye can see stop me dead in my tracks. Gold equals units, units equal currency, and currency equals stuff. Stuff for my suit, stuff for my mining tool, and most importantly stuff for my ship. Stuff is upgrades, fuel, energy, and discovery. So I am torn with a dilemma. Do I risk it all and bank as much gold as I can? Do I gather the resources I need and jump to the next star system, effectively leaving the gold behind? I just can’t leave all this gold here, yet my mere presence on this planet will most certainly bring my demise. Also, there is a school of giant hopping mushrooms milling about the gold filled radiation planet. I appropriately name this planet “Gold Death Planet- with Mushrooms.”
This is No Man’s Sky.
The controversy surrounding this game is something I think people should take with a grain of salt. The game is, for all intents and purpose a survival/discovery game. No Man’s Sky boasts 18 quintillion planets for players to discover, gain knowledge and resources from and to help categorize an intergalactic catalog of various planets, flora and fauna.
The game is a grind.
Farming resources on various planets to build better ships, stronger weapons and mining tools, as well as upgrades for your exo-suit allow you live longer, discover more, and be more efficient. For me, the discovery aspect of the game is the greatest reward. Going to an undiscovered planet and being able to name it, name the animals and plants on it, and leave your mark on the intergalactic playing field is quite empowering. There is an underlying story about other races of aliens as well as your main journey to get to the center of the universe. However, the meat of the game is going from planet to planet, star system to star system discovering new living beings, alien languages and collecting resources from procedurally generated objects with limitless possibilities.
Those who have been burned by the promises the developers made early in this games development are right to feel betrayed. No Man’s Sky is not a multiplayer game, it is not a shooter, and it certainly is not a game you should brute force. The game is best played in short increments, maybe a planet or two during an hour session. I am enjoying the biggest most fulfilling aspect of No Man’s Sky, the unknown. I plan to keep playing this game until I reach the center of the universe. Maybe while you’re playing No Man’s Sky you can discover “Gold Death Planet- with Mushrooms.”