Snapshot: No Man’s Sky

Wandering the planets in No Man’s Sky is a bit like scouring the beach for something beautiful, a nice looking shell, a colourful stone. You never know what the tide will carry ashore and you never know what each planet will generate to explore.  The limitation of repetition become apparent not through an inability to create compelling terrain, which is satisfactory – bar the apparent materialisation or omission geological formations right before your eyes. This could be forgiven by virtue of the sheer scale of what is trying to be achieved and doesn’t dissuade from exploration. What frustrates is the inability to populate spaces with a convincing variety of flora and fauna that differs enough from that found on the previous planets you have visited – this is all based on an experience of 50+ hour’s game play. In an alleged universe as large as is claimed, this might be considered unwarranted, but shouldn’t that make repetition more unlikely? Furthermore if you consider the types of planets you can encounter, I have yet to come across the extremities of a completely inhabitable planet. I know that would prevent useful game play, but part of the allure of vastness of space is surely how remarkable the discovery of new life would be? Not a vending machine of planets, where in each spherical egg I’m virtually guaranteed to find a bunch of phallic shaped mineral deposits, beanie babies with ridiculous A.I, and Daftpunk clones playing I-pads in sheds every 2 minutes. To borrow one philosophical quip from the game ‘With the chaos of the infinite, we must cling to the probable’. There manages to be enough of interest to keep your attention, the constant speculation, the lack of any immediate answers to anything, but many will grow weary of this mine-em up’ long before they have the opportunity to meet anyone else. The humbling truth is they probably won’t. There is a loneliness to the game that calls for you to explore rather than tell you what to do at every turn. Maybe Space is too much space.