Aug 19th, 2016

With No Man’s Sky now out for the better part of a week for PS4 owners and a week exactly for PC owners, a lot of you ┬ámay still have questions about the game. Some may be wondering “what do you do” in No Man’s Sky, whereas others might want to know more about the game’s specific mechanics. Today, I’m here to help clear up some of those questions to hopefully give you a better understanding of the game.

What do you do?

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