No Man's Sky Review
PS4* | PC
No Man's Sky Cover Art
System: PS4, PC
Dev: Hello Games
Pub: Hello Games, Sony
PS4 Release: August 9, 2016
PC Release: August 12, 2016
Players: 1 Players
Screen Resolution: 480p-1080p Fantasy Violence

If there's one area in which procedural generation absolutely fails No Man's Sky, it's the music. It is largely procedurally generated, just like the planets, and it's supposed to reflect what you're doing at any given moment. Maybe my experience with the music is a judgment on my playstyle, then, but I found it uniformly dull and completely lacking in any sort of emotional swell. I found it one step worse than the usual "atmospheric" mediocrity that's found in far too many space games, and I quickly switched over from using my surround sound system to turning the sound down and playing my own music instead. I didn't find the sound effects particularly crucial to survival, so it's no big deal to play that way.

No Man's Sky Screenshot

So overall, how does No Man's Sky feel to play? I'm a bit torn. I'm just the kind of nerdy, exploration-loving player that this title is aimed at, but even I'm not sure I'll be able to hang on long enough to make it to the game's end. To my surprise, it's not because I find the procedural generation algorithms lacking. Rather, it's the fact that there's just a bit too much micromanagement required to advance regardless of your gameplay goals, and it can simply take too long to get things done with the limited inventory you're given to work with (yes, it can be expanded greatly, but that takes money, and money takes time).

Giving a final opinion about No Man's Sky is a bit like reviewing an MMORPG... there were so many huge additions in the day-one patch that I have to assume it will be incredibly different a year from now. Consider this, then, a state of the game at launch report. There are wonders indeed to be found in the No Man's Sky universe, but not everybody will be willing to put in the time and effort needed to discover them. This game is a technical marvel that patient, detail-oriented gamers will love. As-is, however, it demands a bit more time than it deserves. The universe is vast, but your inventory is small, and not everybody is going to want to make the long trudge necessary to become a galactic superstar.

Becky Cunningham
Site Editor
Date: August 11, 2016

Though space itself is a bit plain, the planets where you'll be spending nearly all your time are gorgeous and load almost seamlessly in the background.
Hello Games has done a decent job of mapping a complex series of systems onto a controller layout. Things run fairly smoothly once you figure out how it all works.
Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
This will partly depend on taste, but I found the procedurally generated soundtrack hopelessly dull.
Play Value
There's so much to see and do, but it can get repetitive and there's too much micromanagement of durability bars and inventory space. This one is going to be best if you play for a bit at a time, then take a break.
Overall Rating - Good
Not an average. See Rating legend below for a final score breakdown.
Review Rating Legend
0.1 - 1.9 = Avoid 2.5 - 2.9 = Average 3.5 - 3.9 = Good 4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy
2.0 - 2.4 = Poor 3.0 - 3.4 = Fair 4.0 - 4.4 = Great 5.0 = The Best

Game Features:

  • Explore a universe of possibilities - With over 18,446,744,073,709,551,616 (18 quintillion) possible planets, No Man's Sky's procedurally generated galaxy gives players an unparalleled opportunity to explore worlds that no one has ever visited before. Exploration is entirely seamless, with no loading screens, whether you're flying from space to a planet's surface or even warping between solar systems.
  • Forge your own path to the center of the galaxy - Whether you consider yourself a trader, an explorer or a fighter, there's no limit to how you play No Man's Sky. You may slip between play-styles freely, from pirate to miner, bounty hunter to surveyor, but know that any action can have lasting consequences.
  • Discover a social galaxy - The galaxy is a living, breathing place, with trade convoys travelling between stars, pirates, police and military ships ever ready for action, and planets teeming with life. The same galaxy is also shared by every player of No Man's Sky. Perhaps you will see the results of their actions, as well as your own?

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