The launch of No Man’s Sky has been just as divisive as creator Sean Murray predicted, and then some.
During the no doubt agonizing wait for my personal opinion on the year’s biggest release so far, let’s talk a bit about what the rest of the Internet is saying about one of the most controversial game releases in recent memory.
After an advance copy of the game made its way into the hands of one particularly eager fan, many were dismayed to hear that he had accomplished the game’s primary objective — an intergalactic voyage to “the center of the universe” — within 30 hours. While it’s a robust length of play on its own, it was a far cry from the pre-release pronouncements of near-infinite playability.
Admittedly, the player in question was sprinting through content to ensure he was the first to reach the game’s natural conclusion. He didn’t do a whole lot of sightseeing, which seems to be a primary motivating factor for many of the game’s most ardent defenders. But what exactly did he miss by rushing toward that end?
According to many accounts, not much.
No Man's Sky seems to be doing well on steam. Wait. Thumbs UP means good? My bad.
Still very pretty.
— PixelMetal (@PixelMetal) August 13, 2016
This is more accurate. Everything about No Man's Sky says "ooooh this looks really pretty and VERY boring" https://t.co/gMJ5fUYsD9
— Jesse Cox (@JesseCox) August 8, 2016
Also I can finally say – THAT's the game that got people *so* worked up?
— Jim Sterling (@JimSterling) August 9, 2016
no man's sky confirmed for boring.
it looks like the side missions from the first mass effect :/
— Dan (@danmappart) August 9, 2016
The E3 2014 trailer for Hello Games’ opus depicted a world rich with interconnected systems of flora and fauna, all existing naturally alongside one another in a procedurally-generated world among billions upon billions of others. It was, understandably, a carefully primed conceptual introduction to the ideals of the game’s creators. But the stark difference between that original vision and the resultant experience — even in a curated tour of the content — was just as understandably jarring.
— Britbong (@Britbongreturns) August 15, 2016
The Steam reviews have reflected this general response, with a tepid “Mixed” user score at the time of this writing. Professional reviews range from glowing to scathing, and Twitter is abuzz with every possible take you can imagine. Polygon (of course) took time to chastise the game’s creators by equating its resource-gathering focus with strip-mining, calling what is arguably the most mundane part of the game “a bit outdated, if not downright ugly, in 2016.”
This hasn’t dissuaded the most enthusiastic of No Man’s Sky fans. For the thousands of approving voices in Steam reviews and elsewhere, the game’s sense of wonder and exploration is, in and of itself, the reward. Some have used the virtual space to memorialize the lost, and at least one waxes poetic with ardor for the game and disdain toward its detractors:
The launch of the PC version has been more than a bit bumpy. Jim Sterling compared it to Arkham Knight’s horrendous PC debut. By all appearances, Hello Games is pushing themselves to address the massive frame hitches and crashing that has disrupted the experience for many customers. As of now, there is an “experimental” patch that hopes to address the worst of the wide-ranging technical hiccups on the PC port.
Of course, if you want the most important opinion on any video game, you obviously have to get to Church. As soon as I sift through all of the noise — both positive and negative — I’ll have a definitive verdict on this lonely trip through the twinkling expanse.
Follow Nate Church @Get2Church on Twitter for the latest news in gaming and technology, and snarky opinions on both.