No Man's Sky PC Review: Gameplay And Performance Explored

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Getting to Know No Man's Sky

No Man’s Sky, the interstellar survival/exploration title from Hello Games, hit the PC and console platforms this month, roughly two years after its now infamous reveal at the 2013 VGX Awards. There it received exuberant praise and took home several awards—including a “Special Commendation for Innovation.” During that showing, what impressed industry insiders most were its seamless transitions from outer-space travel to atmospheric burn-in, to boots on the ground. No Man's Sky features a massively open environment that remains one of the cooler aspects of the game--it never seems to get old once you've had a chance to experience it. And experience it, we have.

no mans sky 16
Damn you, Google Maps!

While NMS offers much to enjoy, the game's launch has been far from smooth. Frame rate stuttering, players getting stuck in menus and in-game, rampant crashing and other issues are plaguing many PC gamers. Somewhat surprisingly, some have reported flawless performance. Developer Hello Games is hard at work trying to clean things up and have already kicked out a number of patches and potential workarounds. Despite it all, NMS makes good on the initial vision by company head Sean Murray—to create a virtually endless space exploration game, that captures the sensation of being the first human to explore a new world and observe odd new lifeforms. Though, obviously, it's a notion most terrestrial-bound humans only feel vicariously through sci-fi media.

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Warping to a new system. Hope there's a restroom.

Due to the sheer scale of the game and seemingly endless procedurally generated content, it's virtually impossible to see everything in No Man's Sky. More on that in a bit. The pages ahead offer a glimpse of what to expect from gameplay and graphics performance with a few benchmarks, from a handful of graphics cards.

NMS test rig

For this we have an updated test rig comprised of an Intel Core i7-6700K, installed in an MSI Z170A Gaming M9 ACK motherboard, equipped with a 16GB kit of Corsair Vengeance 2666MHz DDR4 memory. Windows 10 is installed on a 256GB Corsair Neutron Series XT SSD and our game files are installed on a 1TB Corsair Voyager Air.

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