Released in 2016, To mixed reviews, Space exploration game, No Man’s Sky went VR last year – making the game available on every gaming medium except mobile. The massively open world – presented in virtual reality – offers an experience that gives one a sense of the vastness of space, as they go exploring through procedurally generated worlds.
No Man’s Sky, developed by Hello Games (backed by Sony on the promotional and publishing font,) first saw public release in 2016, with critics heaping praise on the interactive work’s technical brilliance – in the game’s 18 quintillion procedurally generated environments – while others decrying the system as monotonous, and predictable.
Available on PlayStation 4 and 5, Windows PC, and Xbox series X and S – as well as VR – the game is an action-adventure/ survival based game that will keep players busy with surviving, exploring, combating, and trading their way through an overwhelmingly vast universe – in first, or third-person perspective.
The universe is one’s oyster, as a user takes control of a customisable character, referred to – throughout the game – as Traveler, who is a humanoid in a spacesuit one ought to pay attention to upgrading. The Traveler’s Odyssey through uncharted space begins at the screen of a crash site at the edge of the galaxy, that is where one is equipped with a spacesuit, jetpack, and, super-useful multitool (all the better to scan, collect, mine resources, as well as kill one’s enemies with, my dear.)
The Traveller also has a Spacecraft that he can climb in, and out of, repair, and must refuel in order to get to all the various destinations within the game. The player is free to carry out the base activities of the game in any way they like; Trader, Bandit, Explorer, or what have you? However getting-by means getting ‘units’ (in-game currency) which one can get through exploring, selling resources they mined, or stole, as well as, trading trading.
The planets one can explore, as well as discover, on-game are teaming with unique animal, plant life. Some are inhabited by sentient beings that the Traveller will find, either welcoming enough to collaborate, and trade with, or hostile enough to warrant the delivery of a space age smiting. A good number of the planets the traveller will land his exo-suited behind on will house atmospheres that are extremely dangerous, and could prove corrosive to the survival suit – detrimental to overall, staying alive. Keeping the Traveller from kicking the bucket requires continuous upgrades to the suit, that means running about the galaxy, collecting blueprints to craft said upgrades.
As previously mentioned, No Man’s Sky’s gameplay is pretty open ended, but there is a sentient being at the centre of the No Man’s Sky galaxy, which guides players here and there. The fact that one finds better resources towards the centre of the universe – where the entity known as Atlas can be found – suggests that there may be more to this being than meet the eye. It certainly seems central – in some obscure way – to the overall arch of the No Man’s Sky narrative.
No Man’s Sky On VR
No Man’s Sky delivers incredible graphics, and visuals on any screen, console, or PC, but the immersive experience of Virtual Reality is where this bugger really comes alive. While other headsets render the game’s graphics with high resolution graphics, the gameplay has been reported to suffer from Immersion Sickness inducing choppiness. PlayStation VR, on the other hand, seems to offer the smoothest experience, though the graphics are a tad grainier – while the Valve Index is said to offer the best of both.
The No Man’s Sky: Beyond VR patch, for Xbox, PlayStation VR, and PC (released 2019) made it possible for fans of the game to immerse themselves in the No Man’s Sky universe and experience it in a whole new way. The VR experience of the game gives one a full sense of just how immense a 18 quintillion procedurally rendered galaxy truly is. Just the scale of objects, from standing next to a spacecraft, to facing-off with a giant creature on a planet one has just landed on, to the sphere size of some of the rocks one sets foot on while playing this game, everything is just so amazingly almost-real.
The game offers a variety of movement options. Allowing one to, either walk around as normal, or zip about VR style – if one has the stomach for it. The Hello Games team clearly paid a lot of attention to detail, as the game controls very intuitively, though controls are very different to the screen version of the game. Sitting in your spacecraft’s cockpit, flying through space, or fending off marauders is where the VR experience of No Man’s Sky really shines, however.
The VR No Man’s Sky has the makings of a cult classic that informs the evolutionary direction of VR gaming. As the patch simply renders an, already, expansive title for VR gameplay. Future VR titles could become longer, and more elaborate. It certainly sets some standard, in terms of the intuitiveness of controls.