If you’re like me, having more games than you can shake a stick at doesn’t really cut it, you can have everything but still find nothing to play. I have come across this issue more times than I can count and it often ends with me buying a cheap indie game to simply fill time before I ultimately go back to Rocket League.
What I didn’t foresee was for No Man’s Sky to arise from the murky depths of my Steam library with another free expansion. Now, I had dabbled with No Man’s Sky a bit since the NEXT update but only enough to familiarise myself with the controls again, so I thought it was high time that I dove back in to see what had changed.
Jumping back into my ship, I wasn’t sure what to expect. What really caught my attention was the difference in graphics, vibrant colors, and focus towards finer details made the lackluster result from the initial launch feel light years away. With the new addition of the Abyss update, Hello Games’ efforts have clearly stood out, more so than many would have expected.
With a new mission in hand, I was whisked away to an ocean planet where I found a sunken ship and a crash log detailing a missing crew. My first task, to build my own submarine, aptly called the Nautilon, and explore the ominous waters below. I won’t go too in depth with the story simply for those who are yet to play through the expansion but I will say that it sets the tone quite nicely before leading into the latter features.
As previously mentioned, the graphics in No Man’s Sky have been given a new lease of life and the Abyss update has provided the developers with an excellent platform to showcase the new features. The underwater landscape has been completely overhauled, now filled with a huge variety of aquatic plant life, creatures and deep sea dangers to boot.
After getting my fill of exploring, I felt it was high time to build myself a deep-sea base that any Bond villain would be proud to call home. Though a lot of the structures bear resemblance to their land-based counterparts, each item has its’ own aquatic twist. Additionally, the crafting recipes follow suit, requiring ingredients found exclusively underwater. This is a nice touch given that it encourages players to explore the new features as opposed to using items they already have to hand.
One criticism, however, is that I couldn’t help but feel left wanting more. Fun as it was, the underwater base-building felt short-lived, after all the only difference is the surrounding environment. Additionally, there were some features which seemed unattainable, it was only after a fair bit of digging (and participation in the latest community event) that I found them on sale at Nada and Polo’s quicksilver store
Despite that, my latest experience with No Man’s Sky has been poles apart compared with the initial launch, general gameplay feels smooth, the UI is cleaner and the overall player experience feels a lot more natural than before.
I was blown away by the wealth of new features that had been added to No Man’s Sky since my last visit. What stood out the most for me was the new space station layout, each space center now feels like a genuine galactic marketplace, filled with interactive NPCs and stalls that cater for all of your explorer’s needs.
The bartering system feels much more dynamic than before, Nanite Clusters now play a much more active role in the game, being used to purchase upgrades for exocrafts, ships, multitools, and the exosuit. Additionally, players can now purchase multiple ships providing that they own a freighter to store them in, because who doesn’t want their own intergalactic garage?
Meanwhile, missions can be taken on for rewards which increase in value depending on their difficulty. Each mission is set by one of three guilds, completing these jobs as well as other tasks will increase the player’s guild rank and thus give them the chance to take on harder challenges. I have found from personal experience that these are an excellent way to earn Nanites and more elusive items (most of which are incredibly valuable).
Speaking of valuables, Units definitely make the universe go round and are absolutely essential if you want to get your hands on the best bits of kit. Now, I mentioned freighters, and thankfully they are now more than just a flying storage locker. As well as being able to build yourself an onboard base, it is now possible to create your very own command center.
On your travels you will come across a variety of smaller vessels for hire, though expensive for some, building a fleet has a lot of benefits. Your ships can be sent on long or short-term quests, ranging from combat to exploration overseeing these missions will open a lot of doors in the way of earning Units and items. The more tasks your fleet completes, the stronger they become, meaning that the dream of becoming the most feared being in the galaxy is well within your grasp.
This may all feel like an overload of information but there is so much more to discover since the updates began rolling out. Even though there are a few features that need tweaking, the progress that Hello Games have made means that No Man’s Sky is still more than capable of becoming an intergalactic hit.