Or, the Foundation Update to this past summer’s smash hit. We’ve heard a lot about No Man’s Sky in the three months that it’s been out, and most of it was that it was pretty lacking. And chances are, if you’re reading this, you know exactly what was missing. Since then, Hello Games has been on a bit of a trip. Out of the office, off of social media, and even into territory some (most) would call a PR Nightmare.
The tweet in question, albeit proven fake, was a distinct look into how much of a mess No Man’s Sky came to be. Initially, I wrote about how No Man’s Sky was a pretty relaxing game if taken at face value.
I still stand by that. No Man’s Sky can be pretty relaxing if you forget all of the hate that the Internet’s thrown at it. Some of it, like the mild distaste with the release of an objectively bad game, is justified. The threats, the call for the ASA investigation for false advertising… as a whole it definitely went too far.
That being said, I did return to No Man’s Sky after the Foundation Update was released. If you listened to our podcast this week then you’ll understand some of my feelings on it as a whole. I did say in the podcast that I hadn’t found a base yet, and that was quickly remedied after I got home and played for a total of 10 minutes. If you’re stuck on PC, press Z and build a signal booster. You’ll find a base much, much faster than just walking around aimlessly.
Please note that for the rest of this article, I’ll be talking about Creative mode. I haven’t had the chance to play the Foundation update in either Survival or Normal modes. If you’d like to hear me actually process thoughts on the update, that can be found in episode 42 of our podcast (linked above).
And now, on with it.
If you’re here for a short sentence: I like it.
What the Foundation Update did for No Man’s Sky was, at first glance, make it a lot like Minecraft. This was my original gripe with the update, and that’s what the patch notes sounded like. You can build things, you can craft things, and most importantly, manage your inventory. No shame in trying to reinvent the wheel unless you’ve got bad PR to work with.
What burnt me out entirely on Minecraft, though, was that it all seemed very finite. Farming, redstone crafting, and other “advanced” techniques didn’t appeal to me and produced little gain since, surprise, I played in Creative mode 90% of the time. I didn’t want to fight and kill countless enemies to get hundreds of one item that leads to the “final boss” when thrown. Minecraft got really boring if you weren’t into both crafting and mining, and I didn’t (still don’t) have the patience to build massive structures block-by-block, even though I appreciate what people can do in the game.
What burnt me out on No Man’s Sky initially was, honestly, all the negativity surrounding it. I’m pretty easily influenced, so even though I liked the game, I didn’t want to say I was playing it. After all, it’s a bad game, and Hello Games is a bad company for publishing the game and stringing its fanbase along for the ride, right?
Improvements and Additions
The update brought on a bunch of things that the game was missing. A home base, arguably something that every space explorer needs, is the most obvious addition. Finally, in this massive expanse of space, there’s a place to call home. That’s huge. Among other things, it offers access to better technology for the ship, mining laser, and exosuit, a way to fast travel to space stations, a place to trade rare materials directly from your base, and interaction with other beings. You can now hire aliens to work on new blueprints for you.
If I recall correctly, there are new elements and blueprints for crafting, though maybe I hadn’t reached that point in Survival mode, even after twelve hours in. Farming provides constant access to rare materials, provided you have enough for the plant in the first place. Upgrading ships and the multitool is far easier in Creative mode: there’s no cost associated with the trade. This goes for drop pods as well for extra suit inventory.
Control-wise, ships still sail like boats. It’s something we just have to get used to at this point.
As far as diverse environments go, I think there’s a lot more variety in how planets are generated and the flora and fauna they contain, too. Creative mode lacks combat and I think I’ll stick to it for a while, and the one thing I really want is a toggle for combat in Normal mode as well. At this point it’s the one thing keeping me from going back.
I look forward to playing No Man’s Sky for a while to come. The first and foremost thing that the update did was demonstrate that Hello Games is actually interested in making the game better. That alone says that there’s something there, despite their obvious blunders.
I’m still pretty hesitant to say that I like No Man’s Sky without any justification, but here I am. I do like it, for the most part. Like anything, it has its flaws and it’s not perfect. But it’s better, and it’s getting better. I look forward to a time where people really overlook the flaws it has and take it at face value. Unfortunately that’s not going to happen, but hey, I can dream.