No Man’s Sky Review

No Man's Sky - Abandoned Outpost

That sense of solitude is part of what makes those first 30 minutes with the game so good. Knowing that you’re alone on this planet gives an eery feeling to it all. This is compounded by the fact that some outposts have been reclaimed by nature, with the systems inside barely running. Creepy moments like this made me want to explore the different planets that populate No Man’s Sky’s seemingly infinite galaxy. At least at first.

Not so unique

No Man’s Sky’s magic lasts only until you realize that what you’re seeing isn’t all that unique. Beyond those initial discoveries, everything starts to blend together. The crab-like creatures I saw on one planet began cropping up on other planets with slight design variations. In fact, I saw someone else with my exact same crab-like creature (on a completely different planet) on the internet. At that point, my experience was shattered because out of all the permutations that could be generated, I was seeing something that should have been a unique discovery on someone else’s adventure.

By the time I was finished with my first hour of No Man’s Sky, I was struggling to continue. Honestly, if I wasn’t doing this review, I probably would’ve stopped playing. The game is just too tedious. Your actions play out the exact same on each planet: mine resources, talk to an NPC, refill meters, and rocket off to the next planet.

No Man's Sky - Milestone

Nothing really feels like it has any meaning in No Man’s Sky. While exploring the galaxy, you’ll pass “milestones,” the in-game version of achievements. These milestones then take up almost the entire screen, removing any elements of the HUD. If you’re fighting a sentinel, say goodbye to the aiming reticle and any chance at not wasting ammo. Nothing about these milestones feels earned. I wasn’t quite sure why I should have cared about walking an arbitrary distance or earning 700,000 units when there wasn’t anything to show for it. Don’t get me wrong. Typically, I enjoy these moments of instant gratification. They’re fun for me. I like being rewarded for some made up accomplishment, because more often than not, it feels earned. Here, it doesn’t.

Even interactions with NPCs feel meaningless. Since you don’t know the three languages in the game, some of your time will be spent filling up your lexicon with the languages of the people. One word at a time. I was never able to fully grasp what anyone was saying, but it’s not like it mattered. No matter what the NPC might tell you, it doesn’t carry any weight on your journey. There was a part where I inadvertently agreed to marry one guy’s daughter or something. Did that come into play later in my travels? Of course not.

No Man's Sky - Extreme Weather

Planets feel very much the same. While using procedural generation as the building blocks of this game sounds good on paper, it doesn’t work well in practice. Despite weather conditions like acid rain, dust storms, or other hazardous elements of mother nature, after the first planet, you begin to realize that these planets are nothing more than palette swaps. That goes for the odd animals too. Very rarely was I impressed by an animal’s design to stop and stare at it for more than the time I needed to scan the creature into my database and earn a few units. The weather conditions and animals might change slightly from planet-to-planet, but never enough so that you approach each scenario in a different way.

Pointless upgrades

No Man’s Sky allows you to upgrade your weapons and ships, but you’ll be hard pressed finding a reason to do so since you never really feel like you have to. There’s no perceivable difference between ships or weapons. Despite some upgrades letting you mine faster or shoot quicker, you’re never placed in a scenario that necessitates these upgraded abilities. After obtaining my first new multi-tool, I was completely satisfied with its speed. Never did I want to allocate the limited inventory space to making it “faster” or “stronger.” The one thing that does feel necessary, though, is getting more inventory space.

No Man's Sky - Inventory Full

By default, No Man’s Sky starts you out with a pitifully low inventory space. Once you take into account the minerals you’re going to hold whenever you need to refill a meter, you’re left with barely enough space to do anything. For this reason, I spent more than an hour scavenging planets to add slots to my Exosuit. One slot at a time.

The worst part about No Man’s Sky is that there’s no story or real sense of urgency. While getting to the center of the galaxy might have been pegged as the overall goal, the game doesn’t explicitly tell you that until you go to your map and look at the path it charts. It just seems like an afterthought. In my 15 hours with the game, I wasn’t able to reach the center of the galaxy nor did I feel any reason to. So I looked it up online. I’m happy I didn’t use that as my driving force for this game.

No Man's Sky - Atlas Path

There is one thing in No Man’s Sky that slightly resembles a story. That’s the Atlas Path. Once you accept this mission from an orb you find on almost any planet, you’re able to travel down the aimless Atlas Path. This is supposed to get you closer to the center of the galaxy, but I never got the feeling that’s what I was doing. Instead, it seemed like I was just listening to my character string together sentences to sound deep and meaningful. They weren’t.

Conclusion

No Man’s Sky is a game that highly encourages the player to explore, but doesn’t provide them with the resources nor motivation to do so until they’ve sunk enough time to upgrade their inventory space. By that point, their drive to play this endless, repetitive, and disappointing game will likely have dissipated. Sean Murray and the team at Hello Games plan to update No Man’s Sky with base-building mechanics, but in its current state the game simply doesn’t have enough content to support its $60 price tag nor its near endless universe.

Pros
+ The universe is impressively large
+ Some of the planets are truly beautiful

Cons:
– The game is devoid is content
– Actions feel meaningful
– Ending doesn’t come close to being worth the investment
– Unbelievably repetitive
– Planets and animals feel the same
– Starved for inventory space for a long time
– No sign of promised multiplayer
– Survival elements kill any remaining desire to explore

Final Score

Score: 4/10

His mind is so blown he has no answer to the question, is it possible for other players to see each other in the game? His Twitter feed still doesn’t contain the answer to that question, but shortly before the launch of the game on PS4, Murray did tweet this.

Except, the tweet that follows completely contradicts the statement that the game is not a multiplayer game. He seems to channel his inner Peter Molyneux to once again leave the question with an open-ended answer that could be interpreted in many different ways.

So which is it? Is the game multiplayer or not. Well, from my perspective Sean Murray’s definition of multiplayer and the definition of multiplayer that most of the community is using are not the same. To Sean Murray, the ability to name things and see things that other people have named is multiplayer. That’s the features and easter eggs he’s talking about in this tweet.

So is the game multiplayer? Yes, in the sense that you are in a shared universe of people that have named a bunch of stuff in a database on Hello Games’ servers. But is it co-op in that you can meet up with people in the world around you, like in Elite: Dangerous, EVE: Online, or any other MMORPG? No, it’s not.

At his best, Sean Murray had intended for multiplayer to be in the game as the game was evolving during the four years it had marketing. At his worst, he intentionally misled the gaming community with some of his statements by not clarifying his definition of multiplayer in interviews that were much closer to the time the game released.

GameFAQs forums outlined the process of getting the glasses in order to make it to the inverted castle.

You need to get the Silver Ring in the royal chapel in a hallway with spikes. You break the spikes with the spike breaker armor which is in the catacombs.

The Gold Ring you receive from the Succubus, which she is in a room on the right on the tower that if you fall straight down it would lead you to the underground caverns.

equip both rings while in the same room as the clock and it will open, wear them when fighting Richter.

nerve to complain about this one on the forums. Speaking of which…

5. Why won’t my Batman glide?

Batman-Arkham-Asylum-Gliding

Rocksteady went a similar route with Batman: Arkham Asylum, leading sticky-fingered thieves to out themselves as the pirates they are when posting on the Eidos forums for support. The game included code that checked whether the game was a legitimate copy or not. If it wasn’t, the glide move Batman can do in the game was severely gimped.

As you can see from one pirate’s post describing what he calls a “glitch.”

“I’ve got a problem when it’s time to use Batman’s glide in the game. When I hold “,” like it’s said to jump from one platform to another, Batman tries to open his wings again and again instead of gliding. So he fels down in a poisoning gas. If somebody could tel me, what should I do there.”

The real kicker here is this guy was seeking help in the game before the official PC version was even released. Here’s what a mod on the forums told him in the greatest mic-drop in piracy history.

“The problem you have encountered is a hook in the copy protection, to catch out people who try and download cracked versions of the game for free.

It’s not a bug in the game’s code, it’s a bug in your moral code.”

4. Remedy’s philosophy is act like a pirate, dress like a pirate.

remedy-alan-wake-pirate

Remedy Entertainment is fond of releasing story-driven games that are exclusive to Microsoft’s platforms. Both Alan Wake and Quantum Break contain an interesting approach for those who decided to sail the high seas in order to play them.

Immediately upon firing up cracked copies of both of these games, players were greeted by the main character wearing an eye patch that features the famous Jolly Roger symbol that either means you’re drinking poison or you’re a pirate.

remedy-quantum-break-pirate

3. Hey, why is my gun shooting a bunch of chickens?!

Crytek decided to have a lot of fun with people who pirated Crysis: Warhead by changing one fundamental element of the game. Players who downloaded a cracked version of the game soon discovered their guns stopped shooting bullets after a while and instead, nothing but squawking flocks of chickens emerged.

Chickens don’t do damage, so this made the cracked copy of the game unplayable.

2. Good luck seeing a pirated copy of the Sims 4.

sims-4-anti-piracy

With the release of The Sims 4, EA’s official forums began filling up with strange bug reports. People said that when their Sims got naked and the blur filter that the game uses to cover that is exposed, it spreads across the whole screen making the game unplayable.

What people thought was a bug that had slipped under EA’s radar was actually intentional. Only cracked copies of the game experienced the problem, so anyone complaining about the issue on the official forums once more outed themselves and their piracy.

1. And the winner of the cruelest anti-piracy code is… Nintendo?!

DCIM100MEDIA

You might think of Nintendo as a family-oriented company a lot like some sort of Japanese Disney. You’d be pretty fair in that assessment, but in Nintendo’s early days as a video game publisher, they didn’t mess around when it came to piracy.

Beloved SNES RPG Earthbound is loved for its quirky story and battle system, but it also has some of the most ruthless piracy deterrent code ever written. So what’s so devious about it?

Players trying to play a hacked cartridge or a cracked copy of the game would immediately be presented with a message about piracy. If that didn’t deter them, the game then subjected the player to an exponential increase in the amount of random encounters in the game.

For players that managed to tackle this challenge head on, the real f*&k you from Nintendo came when players made it to the final boss, Gigyas. During this final battle, cracked copies of the game freeze completely and then wipe all of your save data before forcing a console reset. You can’t say they didn’t warn you!

No Man's Sky - Mining

In simplest terms, No Man’s Sky is about gathering resources – whether that’s by mining in your ship or on a planet or purchasing them from a trading center – to upgrade your equipment and get to the center of the galaxy.

What’s trading like?

No Man's Sky - Trading

In one word: vapid. In more words, trading in No Man’s Sky entails going up to a small orb-like device or talking to a lonely NPC in an outpost. From here, you can scavange your multiple inventories to sell items you don’t want for money, or purchase things you do need. You can also purchase ships you see parked in space stations or trading outposts.

What about combat?

No Man's Sky - Combat

Combat is very easy. Simply point and shoot your multi-tool at a sentinel or animal, or your space ship’s artillery at an object in space. In terms of weaponry, on ground, you have two modes for your multi-tool: mining and weapon mode (our terms, not theirs). Mining uses your mining beam to fire a laser at an object, slowly whittling away their health. In weapon mode, you have access to a more traditional method of combat with basic machine gun fire. There’s also a secondary fire that shoots grenades at a target.

If you want to, you can upgrade your mini-tool so it shoots faster, bullets ricochet off objects, or has more ammo. In our ten hours with No Man’s Sky, we’ve not encountered a combat situation that made us want to devote resources, time, or inventory space to upgrades.

Ship combat works in a similar fashion. Your basic mining beam fires once before it needs to cooldown. Your machine gun works like a basic machine gun: shoot and don’t miss.

How’s space combat?

No Man's Sky - Space Combat

Like planetary combat, space combat is incredibly easy. Simply aim for a box right in front of an enemy ship and you’ll win most of the time. The only situations where we’ve lost were when we were swarmed by enemies after attacking a stationary freighter.

Can you meet other people?

No Man's Sky - Alone

At this time, it doesn’t appear as though encountering other players is in the game.

Can you freely fly to other planets or do you have to use the hyperdrive?

No Man's Sky - Pulse Jump

You’re free to fly to other planets with four speeds to choose from: basic, boost, Pulse Drive, and Hyper Drive. Your basic speed is the slowest. In most instances, we’ve found that travel from one planet to another can take at least an hour traveling at this speed.

While using boost, travel time is greatly reduced, although you might still be looking at a ten (or more) minute long journey. Because of this, we recommend always keeping your Pulse Drive topped up. This allows you to travel at a much faster speed, cutting the time it takes to get from where you are to where you need to be by about 80%. That said, this method of travel can only be used in space.

Can you call your ship from another side of the planet?

No Man's Sky - Ship Distance

In certain situations, yes. If you’re far away from your ship (the furthest we’ve bothered to venture is 30 mins away), you can find a shelter or trading outpost and hack a terminal to call your ship to you. Otherwise, you’ll need to follow the beacon on your HUD back to your ship.

Can you fly within the planet’s atmosphere?

No Man's Sky - Atmosphere

You’re free to fly within the planet’s atmosphere, although you can’t get too close to the ground or else the game leaves you hanging there like an invisible force is holding you in place.

Are takeoff and landing player-controlled or automatic?

No Man's Sky - Landing

For the most part, these are player-controlled. Once you hop in your ship, holding down the “accelerate” button (R2 on the DualShock 4) will lift your ship off the ground, and from there, you’re free to do whatever you please. Landing is done by pressing the landing button (square on the DualShock 4) after which your ship will land automatically.

Can you easily return to a previous planet?

No Man's Sky - Flying

Not necessarily. If you haven’t left that star system, then yes you can, but it might take a little while. Otherwise, it’s pretty much possible. However, if you have already embarked on a journey to another star system, you’re pretty much out of luck. Finding your way back to a previously-discovered star system is incredibly difficult.

How fun is it?

No Man's Sky - Accomplished

Well, that’s a question we’ll delve further into when we publish our written and video review in the future. For now, though, our answer is meh

Enderal mod for Skyrim is now available for download from the SureAI site and if you’re a fan of the general gameplay style of Skyrim, this mod is a must. It’s available completely free and is a total conversion mod, which means it uses Skyrim’s engine and some of its gameplay features to build an entirely new world with its own lore and story.

How does the mod play?

The world of Enderal is much more treacherous than the likes of Skyrim, due to some of the new mechanics introduced in the mod. You only regen health outside of combat if you’ve eaten food and only in combat if you swig a potion.

Unlike Skyrim, you won’t finish this game with tons of potions that you never use because the potions you find in dungeons are rancid and ineffective. If you want to be able to successfully manage your health while out and about, you’ll need to get familiar with the alchemy system.

Additionally, while the world of Skyrim was bleak and dreary much like the Nordic countries its landscapes attempt to mimic, the world in Enderal is varied. You’ll find grasslands, steamy jungles, a massive desert, and a beach near the ocean. There’s plenty of variety as you traverse more than 30 hours of content.

enderal-desert

What’s the story like?

The world of Enderal is a theocracy ruled by a caste of citizens who have set themselves up as gods. People in the world all follow their own caste, which are called Paths in the game. No one really steps outside of these Paths and it doesn’t feature the faction-based gameplay that most have come to expect from Skyrim.

The storyline is instead structured more like Mass Effect, in that it has a central questline players will follow, but there are available sidequests you can do to learn more about the world you’re playing in.

So why is it good?

enderal-main-city

For a fan mod that has been in development for years, the polish really shows. There are some rough edges in the tutorial area that may turn off some players, but once you get in the world proper, the quality of the environments feels very professional.

The voice acting is probably the best highlight of the mod, as some professional talent contributed their voices to the many characters you’ll encounter in the world.

People who felt Skyrim was too easy will find a lot to like about Enderal as well, as the world no longer levels as you do. Instead, quests will have a difficulty that you may need to level yourself up by doing other side quests before you can tackle the main challenge again. The resource management provides a real challenge as well since you’ll need to make sure you have enough potions before heading out to tackle those quests.

post-launch content, the inventory system needs to be reworked. Right now, you spend a lot of time in your inventory managing spaces for the things you carry. It helps that you can zap things back to your ship while you’re out and about, but getting new slots in the game is left up to chance.

You have to find triangle-shaped drop pods in order to upgrade your inventory, but the chance of encountering these is left up to the random generation of the planet. The planets are so large you’ll spend most of your time at the beginning of the game with a very small inventory unless you planet hop in order to find those pods as quickly as possible.

New technology is too random

No-Mans-Sky_20160810173107-1024x576

Finding new technology in No Man’s Sky is a frustrating experience because the new tech that you find to help you move toward smarter inventory management may not come in the first few facilities you break into. Because so much is left up to chance, the experience you have in the first few hours is largely dependent on your luck.

This leads to a frustrating experience that is hard to identify because of the procedural nature. It’s hard to pinpoint why someone loved or hated certain aspects of the game until they start describing their first few hours and you realize the person who doesn’t like the game too much had a pretty bad experience in those critical hours.

Still too many technical issues on PC & PS4

The PC version of the game is barely playable for most people. To Hello Games’ credit, they are working on an experimental patch to some of those issues, but the state of launch for the PC version really shows that most of the development time was spent with the PS4 version of the game. Which also has its fair share of problems.

The game needs to be made playable for those who have purchased the game as-is before any new content such as base-building or freight ownership is considered. I’m eager to see what content the team is working on, but these technical issues need to be a priority before extra development.

Download it and install to see if it works for you.
Fix 8: Try setting the NMS.exe file to High Priority in the Windows Task Manager. Some people are reporting this helps solve framerate problems not solved by any of the methods described above.
Fix 9: Try disabling the Steam Overlay. Some people are reporting that it can cause issues with the game stuttering.

The game keeps crashing!

no-mans-sky-10

Unfortunately there’s not a lot you an do to fix this until Hello Games releases a patch for the game to address the issues in the first place. Despite that, some people are reporting marginal success in fixing their crashes by trying some of these fixes.

Fix 1: There’s an experimental patch available on Steam. To access it, right click on No Man’s Sky in Steam and select Properties. Then go to the beta tab and enter the code “3xperimental” without the quotation marks. This will let you select the experimental build from the drop down box so you can see if it works better for you than the currently live client.
Fix 2: Make sure your graphics drivers for your card are updated. This shouldn’t have to be said really, but you never know.

GameFans app so you can keep track of the things you love without wading through a ton of what you don’t.

The newest build of the GameFans app on the Google Play store now features notifications, so you can subscribe to the topics you want to follow. You can choose to follow subjects as broad as the entirety of PC gaming, or maybe you just want to receive updates about Destiny because you’re stoked about the Rise of Iron expansion.

Either way, we’ve got you covered. Anytime we publish a new piece of news in a topic that you’ve chosen to follow, you’ll receive a notification on your phone as soon as we publish the news. There’s no limit to the number of tags you can follow to receive notifications immediately, either!

So what are you waiting for? Our most requested feature from the GameFans app beta is now implemented, go download the GameFans app and tell us what you think! We’re working hard to build the best gaming news app so you’ll be on top of the news as it happens, no matter where you are.

No Man's Sky - Creature 2

Before leaving my planet, though, I did a little bit of soul searching. Ok, I wandered around aimlessly, but you get the point. My first discovery was new life. If I wanted to, I could’ve named the creature anything that I wanted, within reason. Things like profane words won’t slip by Hello Games’ censors. They thought abou that. After cataloging the creature in my book, I quickly took out my multi-tool and killed it.

I’m not exactly sure why I killed it. I guess it was an instinctive reaction, or I wanted to test out the Sentinels, the patrolling robots that prevent you from stripping the planet dry of its resources or killing off animals into extinction. However, after killing the beast, I was overwhelmed with a sense of sadness. I felt really bad about what I had just done. That’s something I’ve never felt while playing a game. I realized that, at that moment, I had no clue if there was more of it on my planet. I might’ve just killed off the last of its kind. My stomach lurched at this thought. Just a few seconds after this realization, I stumbled upon more of the same species. To make up for my gross act, I fed the creatures some minerals and went on my way. By the looks of things, they were pretty pleased.

After my rendezvous with the planet’s wildlife, I spent the rest of my time on this planet mining resources. Once I was done, I hopped in my ship and rocketed straight into the air. This was one of the most surprising things for me. Those moments in early trailers where the player would seamlessly go from planet to space? That actually works. I was taken aback by how easy all of it was. There weren’t any load times or waiting either. I just kept speeding forward and before I knew it, I was in the dark, cold nothingness that is space.

No Man's Sky - Planet

The first thing I did from here was turn my ship around to take a look at my planet. It was ginormous. I’d go as far as to say that it was about the size of the Earth. From my experience, that seems to ring true for most of the planet in No Man’s Sky. That’s not necessarily a good thing, though. I’ll explain why in a moment.

Once I was done marveling at the technical accomplishments of the game, I set off from my starter planet to a space station. I wanted to sell some goods to the locals.

Landing on one of the space stations for the first time actually scared me. Everything was quiet. The whole place seemed deserted and not knowing what to expect creeped me out. Was there going to be a hostile alien onboard? Would I have to fight my way back to my ship? Ultimately, there ended up being three or four doors I couldn’t open, so I guess I’ll never get the answer to that question.

No Man's Sky - Space Travel

Now, it was time to go to another planet. I saw what appeared to be a mostly water planet nearby. Actually, no, that’s not quite right. At normal speed, my radars indicated that it’d take an hour to get to the planet. No Man’s Sky is huge. However, I used a hyper speed to get there faster (although I should have just used my Pulse Drive to cut my time by around 80% but oh well).

Once I got to the planet, I looked around briefly, went to a depot to trade and sell some of my minerals. Again, I mined the place and set off to a new planet. The same thing happened at the next planet. If you’re noticing a pattern, you’re paying attention.

The most interesting thing I’ve done happened at my most recent planet: KO-35 (shout out to Power Rangers In Space fans). When I initially landed, I started going through the same motions again: look for a depot and go from there. The first depot I stumbled upon had two sentinels patrolling it. Surprise surprise, they are been alerted that I was hostile from my last skirmish on planet Hell. Or so I thought. In reality, KO-35 turned out to be a planet filled entirely with hostile sentinels. Just my luck. I quickly dispatched those two and ran into the depot before backup could come.

No Man's Sky - Abandoned Outpost

The depot was a mess. There were tentacles everywhere and a circle thing just sitting in the middle, begging to be touched. So I touched it. The thing informed me of something. My character said something and I hopped in my ship on the search for the next depot. I found it, rinse and repeat, until I went in to this depot. I paused just as the doors opened. This one was in the same condition. “What the hell?” was my initial reaction, followed by a slight tense feeling in my body. I felt like I was on the set of the original Alien movie and something was going to attack me.

I apprehensively made my way deeper into the depot, taking note of the now-open door to my left. As I crept toward the end of the hallway, I prepared myself to high-tail it out of there in case whatever was terrorizing this planet hadn’t finished with this depot.

The tentacles wrapped around the room, engulfing anything in their path. I was terrified, but hey, a box! Oh wait, no, I didn’t have any inventory space so I couldn’t get anything from the boxes. Go figure. Inventory management is a huge problem in No Man’s Sky. Oftentimes, I couldn’t grab a certain item because I was completely out of inventory space. There’s also a very annoying survival element, for some reason. On each planet are different weather conditions. You’re not a native to the planet, so the Exosuit you’re wearing takes care of any oxygen and general living things you need to survive. That means a constantly depleting meter that you have to refill with resources like Carbon and Plutonium. That also means a robotic voice repeatedly telling you when you’re low on energy. It’s annoying.

No Man's Sky Inventory

The inventory and meter management mini-game are huge factors preventing this game from being completely fbogThey bogg down the exploration. Instead of focusing on my discoveries on a new planet, I’m more concerned with how I’m going to make room to open a box that might not even have an item worth all that trouble.

As I walked toward the last box, something struck me from above. I reeled back and instinctively jabbed the right thumbstick on my DualShock 4 up, ready to blast that thing back to kingdom come, except I couldn’t use my multi-tool in here. Gah. Luckily, the thing was a stationary tentacle, seemingly protecting the box. I didn’t really care to approach it again, so I retraced my steps and emerged back on the surface of KO-35.

No Man's Sky - Combat

So yeah, something like that was interesting. There was a slight mystery and narrative to the moment. This brings to light another problem I have with No Man’s Sky: there’s no narrative.

I’ve seen the Three Paths patch notes, but what I haven’t seen is any sign of that in the game. There’s also nothing to indicate that going to the center of the galaxy/universe is your overall objective. Right now, the only thing I’ve done during my four hours with the game is go from planet to planet, mining resources. That’s it and frankly, I don’t think it’s that fun. Yeah, I’m still doing it for some cynical reason, but I’m not really enjoying myself too much.

Perhaps the biggest problem I have with No Man’s Sky is the promise of 18 quintillion planets, yet largely my planet-to-planet experience has been the same. Take those trailers from the early days of the game. They showed ginormous wildlife, quick travel to another planet, the most beautiful varied planets yet I haven’t seen any of that. It feels like my planets are just palette swaps of each other with sometimes aggressive drones.

At this point in my playthrough, I’m convinced that No Man’s Sky is boring. The survival elements keep the small fun elements from flourishing, but even those elements lose their spark after you realize you’re doing the same thing over and over again.

here, but I’d use these services with severe caution.

Android

Google is coming down hard on any Pokemon Go radar apps that pop up, either voluntarily or because Niantic is having them taken down. Either way, in order to use these apps on your phone, you’ll have to enable Unknown Sources in your settings menu before you can install them.

PokeRadar

poke-radar

PokeRadar sprung up on GitHub and has been actively developed since PokeVision went offline. You can download the .apk and if you’re concerned about security, you can even see the app’s source code.

PokeSensor

pokesensor

PokeSensor functions mostly how PokeVision worked and the best part is it’s available on both platforms. The app is pretty well designed and seems to be actively maintained as well. You can download the iOS version directly from iTunes, but you’ll have to download the .apk for the Android version from GitHub.

PokeAlert

pokealert

PokeAlert doesn’t just let you track Pokemon on a map, it’ll send you notifications on your Android device to let you know when a Pokemon you want is nearby. Since you probably don’t want your phone buzzing every five minutes to tell you about that rattata, there’s also a Pokemon filter available so you can select only the Pokemon you really want to be notified about.

iOS

PokeRadar

poke-radar-ios

PokeRadar is perhaps the best known iOS Pokemon Tracker because it’s at the top of the lists for iTunes every since Pokemon Go has released. It’s still working and still functioning for iOS users, so give it a download if you’re wanting some help in catching them all on your iPhone.

Go Radar

go-radar

If you don’t like the way PokeRadar functions, Go Radar might be a bit more to your taste. It seems to be better designed and features Pokemon sihlouettes rather than showing their full sprites from the Gameboy games, so the maps are a bit easier to read.

Uncharted 4 title

Since the series’ inception, Uncharted has always had a strong focus on bringing together elements of other games, while adding a bit of its own flavor to them. Uncharted 4: A Thief’s End keeps up this formula, but instead of staying toward a linear level design, Naughty Dog borrows heavily from their other popular game: The Last of Us by opening levels up. The success of The Last of Us has changed Uncharted in a colossal way. This isn’t the Uncharted of old, and that’s not a bad thing either. Uncharted 4 is far more open, far more emotional, and far more personal than previous entries.

While inherently a third-person shooter, the Uncharted franchise has always had its fair share of platforming and general adventuring. As the series progressed, Naughty Dog began to open levels up more. With Uncharted 4 turning the series on its head and completely redefining what Uncharted is, this approach is none the more apparent here. Platforming and exploration are at the forefront of Uncharted 4. Gone are the small, corridor-esque levels. Now, players explore open levels, with tons of collectibles ranging from journal entries to the familiar treasures to nab along the way. Combat is now on the backburner, being focused on less, but far more polished than in previous Uncharted entries.

INTRODUCTION

Uncharted 4 - Eating Dinner

Uncharted 4 is a lot more grounded than previous Uncharted games. Nathan Drake is a family man now, with responsibilities, a job, home, and most importantly, bills to pay…I assume. The bottom line is this: the adventures are over and Drake’s left that life behind. In this regard, I found it interesting just how long Naughty Dog chose to expose us to the mundane elements of life, something that too many of us are all too familiar with. Getting to experience just a bit of Drake’s new life helped develop the character, cement his new outlook on life, his actions throughout the game, and the length that he’ll go to save his brother’s skin. Oh right, Drake now has a brother named Sam. This thought-to-be-dead brother is the catalyst that restarts Drake’s dangerous, adventuring life.

Sam is a pretty decent character. At first, I wasn’t sure if I would like him, but as the game progressed, and I got to spend more time with the character, I realized that Troy Baker and Nolan North as Sam and Drake respectively really sold the whole brotherly angle of the game. The way they almost effortlessly pick up where they left off the last time they saw each other made Sam feel more like another piece of the Uncharted family, rather than a whole new character. The jokes Baker and North play off one another made me feel like I was actually interacting with Sam myself, rather than through Nathan Drake.

Uncharted 4 - Villains

 

Sadly, I can’t say the same about the villains. I would love to rave about how great they were and how Uncharted 4 had the best villains in the series, but I can’t. I’ve struggled with articulating just what was wrong with them and it comes down to one thing: Rafe. Rafe is a villain driven by a desire to prove that he’s more than his money, but that’s all he really has going for him. I liked the character because he has a connection to Nate and Sam, but beyond that, there isn’t much else to him. There’s also Rafe’s hired help, Nadine. She’s entirely forgettable. She’s strong, yes, and could possibly hold the game better than Rafe, but alongside Rafe, she’s all-too-forgettable.

You don’t need to play the other Uncharted games to understand the events of this one, but it would help some. Veterans of the series will appreciate the callbacks made to Nate’s other adventures and to a certain degree, why he went into retirement in the first place. You’ll appreciate the game more if you played the other titles, but again those elements are small so it’s not entirely necessary.

GAMEPLAY

Uncharted 4 - Vista

The level design is no longer linear with small paths offered to the player between their travels from point A to point B. Levels in Uncharted 4 are far more open, offering different points of attack and collectibles throughout. If you’ve played The Last of Us, you’ll have a general idea of what to expect. While there’s still a clear path from destination to destination, the opportunities along this path have been broadened tenfold. Players are encouraged to explore the world Naughty Dog has created for the series’ swan song. You’ll want to journey off the beaten path and look at every square inch of this very large world. Some of this exploration is facilitated by the introduction of a new jeep that lets you traverse the sweltering heat of Madagascar. The jeep controls relatively well, although it does tend to slip and slide a lot.

With subtlety playing a key role in Uncharted 4’s design, the battles have been revamped. In fact, a good portion of the first half of the game sees the player go without shooting an actual gun once. This is spent mostly fleshing out Drake’s home life and introducing some of the game’s new mechanics to the player. Mechanics such as the rope swing, targeting, and more dynamic stealth kills.

These new additions make the battles in Uncharted 4 more exciting. The player is given so many options to tackle combat scenarios that thinking is now important in an Uncharted game.

Uncharted 4 - Stealth Kill

Starting with Uncharted 2, Naughty Dog began to edge the player toward a more stealthy approach. Yeah, you could go in guns blazing, but due to the dense amount of enemies, that wasn’t always the best option. In Uncharted 4, stealth is at the forefront of combat, allowing the player to easily use tall grass to get the drop on enemies.

That said, doing so can still be difficult on the harder difficulties. On my first playthrough, I went through the game on hard and found myself struggling to stealth my way through various encounters. My setup was just about perfect: I would grab someone from cover, or lob a grenade one way to divert attention away from me for a quick few kills. However, there was always one unforeseen variable that prevented me from escaping unharmed. Sometimes this would be an enemy I hadn’t seen, while other times, I simply wasn’t quick enough. In moments like this, it wasn’t long before the rest of the crew was on me like white on rice.

Uncharted 4 - Marking

Thankfully, keeping track of enemies is far easier than before. Taking a cue from Metal Gear Solid V’s book, Uncharted 4 allows the player to spot enemies by pressing L3. This places a white marker over the enemy’s head so you’re constantly aware of their position when you’re trying to be Mr. Sneaky Sneaky. The spotting mechanic helps facilitate the “anything goes” approach that Uncharted 4 has going on. Whether you’re being stealthy or trying to be the next Rambo, throwing a tracker above an enemy and keeping an eye on his position can be quite useful in a pinch.

Interestingly enough, one of the things that help drive the “anything goes” approach to Uncharted 4’s combat are the enemy animations and improved AI. In one instance, I was hiding in the bushes, surveying my current situation. I had a few dozen enemies in front of me, so I marked each as I saw them before taking action. When I was ready, I moved to a side of the map and lobbed a grenade far over their heads, enough to act as a distraction. As I thought, the grenade blew up, and everyone turned their attention that way, granting me enough time to rise from my grassy haven and pounce on an enemy. Because I wasn’t paying quite enough attention, I alerted an enemy just behind the guy whose lifeless body I was standing over. As fast as I could, I whirled around and pistol-whipped him in the head, unfortunately, it wasn’t fast enough. Before my pistol connected, he had already let out a cry for help, alerting the others who had gone off to check on the noise my grenade had made. At that point, I took an offensive, yet still tactical approach.

Uncharted 4 - stumble

Now, my objective wasn’t solely on survival or stealth, but rather on carefully aiming my shots at key points on the enemies’ bodies. With Uncharted 4, enemies react differently depending on where you shoot them. Sink a few bullets into their legs, for instance, and they’ll stumble back, free arm flailing while they try to train their gun back on your agile body . This small window of opportunity oftentimes gave me a chance to shoot them in the chest and take them out. Enemies might still take a few bullets to the chest to take out, but they’re no longer exactly “bullet sponges.” With a few well-placed bullets, taking out a single enemy isn’t that hard.

That said, combat scenarios where there are a lot of people before you are still challenging, as they should be. Because of this, going in guns blazing might not be the best tactic, even when you’re spotted by someone. Uncharted 4 allows you to de-escalate an encounter if you’re quick enough to break the line of sight between an enemy and yourself by hiding in cover. Sadly, you can’t retreat back into the grass when an encounter begins. In cases like this, you have to wait until enemies can’t find you, then when they go back to patrolling their posts, you can revert to a stealthy approach.

Like the companions in all the other games, Sam will help the player in battle. This means team melee attacks, helping you get out of a choke hold, getting your back sometimes, and so on. The buddy AI is certainly better than before, but just like The Last of Us, the immersion of stealth sections are broken by the AI. There will be parts where you’re sneaking around in the tall grass like a lion stalking its prey, meanwhile, Sam will run around briefly and enemies will pretend like he doesn’t exist.

Something else to note is the amount of combat in Uncharted 4. While yes, it does begin to pick up a bit as you approach the game’s conclusion, it never quite reaches the amount of enemy encounters as previous games. It seems Naughty Dog really thought about this when developing the game. Now that Uncharted is more story focused, combat kind of takes a back seat. You’ll exchange blows with enemies less often, but this direction makes those inevitable firefights far more exhilarating and rewarding.

Speaking of rewarding, I can’t go without mentioning the set pieces. Since Uncharted 2, they’ve undoubtedly been a highlight of the series. They’re back and for the most part, better than before. I say for the most part, because while Uncharted 4 alone has some phenomenal set pieces set in different regions of the world, I don’t think I’d go as far as to claim they’re better than Uncharted 2’s. Still, though, sliding through the mud and picking off enemies on motorcycles or running through a collapsing cave is loads of fun.

Uncharted 4 - Madagascar 2

But enough about the combat, because it’s time to talk about what really makes this Uncharted so special and so unique in the franchise: the world. There’s an actual world to Uncharted 4. Yes, that might seem like a weird statement to make, but just stay with me for one moment. The open levels and less combat allow the player to breathe and spend more time taking in this world, something that by comparison, you didn’t do much in any other Uncharted game. This means, while the path from point A to point B is linear, there are an infinite amount of opportunities to wander off the beaten path and explore the road not taken. This game doesn’t push you to do so, as much as it encourages you to. You’ll want to stop and smell the roses because of how lush and beautiful they are; break off a conversation because of a sneaking suspicion that there might be treasure nearby, or even just sit back and snap a few pictures in photo mode. Everything about Uncharted 4’s varied locales screams time and effort. The sweltering heat of the Madagascar, the breezy cliffsides of Scotland, and the sunny, paradise that’s a cluster of islands are few of the areas in the game. This is an Uncharted game that’s meant to be taken slowly and really combed through, lest you miss something and there’s actually quite a bit you can miss.

Uncharted 4 - Tower

As I just said, you could miss a treasure or a journal entry. These journal entries aren’t pertinent to understanding the story, but they serve as a nice method of fleshing out the game’s narrative by piecing together the history of the events that unfold. I’ll be the first to tell you that I typically don’t enjoy going around, searching for little trinkets in games. They have to be very special for me to take time out of the story or gameplay to go get them and, for me, these journals were special. If you liked Ish’s story in The Last of Us, then you’ll probably want to collect the journal entries here. Additionally, collecting more things and talking to more people as you progress through the game will let you unlock bonuses like filters and cheats to use in future playthroughs or behind-the-scenes character art.

GRAPHICS

Uncharted 4 - Madagascar

Uncharted 4 is the most beautiful Uncharted game yet. The environments are filled with life like whales jumping from the water in the distance to little monkeys in the multiplayer mode, playing around in all the carnage. I couldn’t begin to tell you how many times I just stopped to smell the metaphorical roses.

Hello Games might be in trouble for using.

Like No Man’s Sky, Spore had a massive hype machine that quickly turned on the game when it didn’t deliver every promise gamers had hoped to see. Now its legacy is one of broken and cutesy dick creatures and disappointed hopes and dreams. It remains to be seen whether No Man’s Sky will end up that way or if it will live up to the hype.

Minecraft

Minecraft is the game responsible for kicking off the survival craze. It’s grown into its own genre and at its core, No Man’s Sky is definitely a survival game. It’s got all the trappings of the original Minecraft formula of being stranded in an unknown world and having to make your own tools and upgrades in order to survive.

No Man’s Sky takes it a step further, as you’re not exploring one world but many. And the technology you’re making doesn’t allow you to build your own base on a tiny planet, but rather explore the cosmos cataloging species like some kind of space Charles Darwin. It’s got its roots in the Minecraft formula, but No Man’s Sky definitely stands on its own.

Diablo

diablo-screenshot

Diablo might seem like an odd choice to say it influenced the direction of No Man’s Sky, but it’s really the game that set the “loot pinata” genre of games going. Blizzard combined the unpredictable nature of random drops with extreme difficulty to get a winning formula with it.

So how does No Man’s Sky benefit? The loot system itself is very reminiscent of how you would upgrade and kit out your characters in Diablo only instead of relying on drops, you’re upgrading by exploring. The more you explore, the more technology you find and the better gear you can make yourself.

Elite:Dangerous

elite-dangerous-space-station

While Elite: Dangerous certainly isn’t the first game of its type, I feel as though the concept of exploration and trading in an open galaxy influenced by events that are happening to make a living galaxy is a pretty big influence on No Man’s Sky. Similarly to it, in Elite: Dangerous you explore a galaxy filled with stars and planets, but unlike it you can’t land on any of the planets.

Starship captains are confined to the blackness of space until the planet exploration module for the game is out, but the ability to pursue your own path in the game makes it worth the wait. You can be a smuggler attempting to deal in illegal goods inside spacestations, or an honest space-trucker just hauling goods. Or maybe the pirate life is for you? Those sorts of decisions await you in No Man’s Sky as well.

Pokemon Snap

pokemon-snap-charizards

Whaaaaaat, how did Pokemon Snap influence No Man’s Sky? Well, it’s probably one of the first games that encourages the player to walk around and snap photos of things you find in its world. For Pokemon Snap, that meant trying to get the perfect picture of your Pokemon.

For No Man’s Sky, you’ll be using your camera to survey species both plant and animal so you can upload your discoveries to the central databse in order to get units. Units are like galactic currency that you’ll need to finance your adventures, so you’ll definitely want to make sure you upload not only your discoveries, but the planets, galaxies, and even waypoints you find.

Borderlands

BL-Gun

While Borderlands and No Man’s Sky both share a space setting, where No Man’s Sky borrows from Borderlands is the extreme customization available to your multi-tool, spaceship, and suit. Borderlands itself borrowed these concepts from Diablo, but they perfected the use of randomly generated loot to create unique guns with so many different attributes, no two rare guns felt the same.

No Man’s Sky borrows on that same concept in the multi-tools you can acquire throughout the galaxy, but it takes it once step further through the technology modules that you can install on your tool in the game. These change everything about it, from making it a mining master to a killing machine. If you have the technology blueprint, you can build any multi-tool your heart desires, so long as you have the slots.

FTL

FTL_4

By now you’ve probably heard a bunch of people on the internet complaining about No Man’s Sky’s lack of story. No doubt if these people played FTL: Faster Than Light they felt the same way. You see, No Man’s Sky uses a very roguelike formula to create a story for yourself. There is no story to be told because this is the story of you, space Charles Darwin, running into aliens in outer space.

How you interact with them and the objects you find on the planets you explore determines the story you make for yourself. Everything is procedurally generated in this game, why wouldn’t the story be, too?

factions in the game for a while now, but Hello Games has been pretty secretive about them. What we do know is that each faction will have its own language and customs, as well as their specialization. Some might be more militaristic than others, while another might be more interested in trading than fighting.

The unique thing about these factions and their languages is that Sean Murray stated in an interview with Polygon that it could take hours and hours of interaction within a faction to learn that race’s language so you can communicate with them.

“I think most players will never become fluent, unless it’s specifically something they’re seeking out.”

2. The gameplay is seamless and contains no loading screens.

nomanssky-space

One of the most captivating things about No Man’s Sky is that it is a galaxy exploration simulator that has no loading screens. When you hop into your spacecraft and blast off through a planet’s atmosphere, there’s no loading screen to wait before you’re popped into space. Everything is seamless and while there have been some pop-in issues on the streams that have been going on over the weekend, the lack of loading screens is truly magical.

1. It’s a single-player game, but there are multiplayer rumors.

When you start the game you’ll be alone in a vast galaxy that can be explored by millions of other players, but the possibility of running into a planet that’s been named by someone else is extremely small.

That being said, we don’t know if there is a multi-player component or not. The official word from Hello Games right now is no, but one of the rumors that’s cropped up around the game ahead of launch is that when you make it to the middle and activate the New Game+ feature of the game, you’ll be able to explore the galaxy in co-op mode. Once again, keep in mind this a HUGE rumor that has not been confirmed by anyone! We won’t know if it’s true until tomorrow.

DLC shitstorm” cost them quite a bit.

“Yes, there was excitement. There was also disappointment – for players and for us. The DLC shitstorm hit full force and washed away people’s enthusiasm, dragging us further and further from that first magical pick-up-and-play experience. We want that magic back and we aim to make it happen.”

Overall, Evolve Stage 2 seems to be doing okay as people are actually playing the game, but only time will tell if the game has staying power with its new free-to-play model and slightly less egregious DLC.

1. Dungeon Keeper

EA decided it would capitalize on the massive nostalgia gamers have for Peter Molyneux’s dungeon keeping simulator and on paper, the format seems like a perfect fit. You build dungeons that are filled with traps and minions that foil unwary adventurers and other never-do-goods who invade your space. There’s some amount of waiting involved in the originals, but EA took it to the extreme.

dungeon-keeper

The game is littered with long waits that make it unplayable if you DON’T purchase the game’s premium currency that is conveniently available for prices ranging from $0.99 all the way to $99.99. And the developers at Mythic had the balls to try and hide this blatant money grab under a cheeky coat of paint with a Keeper that says metaphorically, “Yeah you can actually play the game if you give us money.”

Not only that, in the true spirit of the Keeper who has some questionable ideas about humanity, he calls the suggestion that players should spend more money “polarizing.” The game openly mocks the negative attitude microtransactions have garnered while holding out their fists and demanding payment.

Jim Sterling summed up just how bad the game is in one of his Squirty Play videos.