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

No Man's Sky Gameplay & Experience

In No Man's Sky, your character is stranded after warping to a brand new star system and landing on a strange new world. The game tells us the world is "undiscovered". Before we go further, as an aside, we should mention that to assess performance across the game's diverse amount of content we found ourselves warping to nearby star systems without properly managing resources for travel between jumps--don't do that if you want to play the game properly.

no man's sky 15
Beautiful, but no one to Netflix-and-Chill with...

So, we're stuck and not fully sure this planet has the rarer resources we need to get back among the stars. Even if it does, we're not sure we can find them in time. Our spacesuit and life support are not properly upgraded to efficiently stave off the radiation and frigid temperatures of this new planet. In 2:34 minutes we have to stop searching for resources for ship repair, so we can pull from a separate dwindling cache of resources to fix our suit.

no man's sky 24
Scanning For Waypoints

We pull out our trusty scanner and scan everything in range -- all of the odd plant life and bizarre wildlife -- and then quickly upload all "undiscovered" items to a connected system. It's sort of like a Federation of Planets-style establishment for managing currency. If we can't mine the necessary resources, hopefully we can find a willing vendor where we can buy the needed goods. It's not the most ideal way to play NMS, but technically you can be that reckless and just wing it. Yet before you can get into any of that...

no man's sky 10
Repair crashed ships for cheap transportation upgrades.

You begin your journey as a faceless space explorer on an alien planet. Your first order of business is to fix your small spacecraft  and leave the planet to explore the larger universe and what it has to offer. Then you're pretty much on your own and self-governed.

no man's sky 23
Worth holding on to in any game.

You're given a energy beam cutter weapon called a "Multitool", which you can use to carve away valuable resources from the surrounding plant life, rocks and minerals. Almost immediately players will realize the game is very serious about its resource acquisition and management. Everything you can make use of requires resources for its repair or power source. This is why we're currently stranded in-game, as mentioned above. 

no man's sky 19
All undiscovered items can be uploaded for in-game cash.

Many have complained that the beauty and world diversity can't be enjoyed in the face of the incessant resource and item management. We agree, mostly, and the opening scenario above speaks to that feeling of desperation. But the game is every bit a survival game as it is an exploration game. Moreover, to safely explore and soak in new worlds and their grandeur, you merely have to prepare for it properly.

no man's sky 20
The Pirate's life for you? Make sure your ship is dogfight-ready.

Pull up the Galactic Map. Pick a system to warp to, and like camping in the great outdoors, make sure you have the proper amount of resources for the adventure. This includes Hyperdrive fuel and integrity to sustain a 2-way trip and enough thruster integrity to quickly hightail it off a planet that is too hostile for either your weapons or your suit's level of atmospheric resistance. 

no man's sky 28
Starship inventory Management

Over time, you will amass a treasure trove of blueprints along your journey, which can be used to upgrade your tools, various aspects of your ship, spacesuit, and weapons. Of course, this makes things more daunting as you begin to craft items from these discovered blueprints. You can use these to upgrade your spacesuit's jetpack vertical boost duration, stamina to increase the distance you can run and more. We've found upgrades to a ship's Hyperdrive for traveling longer distances and weapon systems for taking down more advanced fighters and larger freighters hauling precious goods, to be the most rewarding.

no man's sky 14
Another world vastly different from the last.

It's a lot to wrestle with, but we've found each new world holds virtually every basic resource needed to at least get you out of a planet's atmosphere where you can then hit up that star system's space station. There is a trading post within, but you can also trade (items and ships) with each of the pilots as they dock for a brief a time on the station. Again freedom is the name of the game. You can be a explorer, or a pirate who attacks every passing cargo ship, freighter or fighter craft that passes by. Just make sure your ship and your hardware are upgraded for the task at hand, whatever you choose.

Related content