Okay, so as much as the game has improved from launch, I did also want to acknowledge that No Man’s Sky does still suffer from some issues. Apart from the bugs, I think the grindiness of it is the biggest shortcoming.
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You can distill most games down to a very basic mechanic if you try hard enough; I could say Super Mario Bros. was only about running and jumping. It’d be true, but it also doesn’t tell the whole story, or mean that it wasn’t fun.
And while NMS was grindy at launch, it feels to me like they’ve added even more things to harvest and more things to build with the stuff you harvest.
That’s a good thing, to a degree, but it also goes to such an extent that it starts to feel like perhaps they’ve added a lot of busywork to compensate for the fact that, outside of that, they still don’t have much for you to do. The dogfighting is less of a pain in the ass than it used to be, I’ve noticed, but it’s also not (from what I’ve experienced) a particularly deep system. It’s a thing that happens as you’re out and about, but not something you could decided to do as a focus, for instance (perhaps being a bounty hunter or hiring out to protect convoys, etc).
Similarly, combat with sentinels or the occasional aggressive animal are none-too-complex either.
The alien species are still essentially computer terminals with skin; you don’t encounter them out and about on a planet anywhere, doing a thing. They’re standing or sitting in a building, waiting for you to talk to them.
So basically the majority of the game seems to be making a thing, and then making the next thing. And I’ll admit, it’s often enough of a carrot that I’ll disappear an hour or two just farming to assemble aforementioned things. Because I think there are different types of grinds, and No Man’s Sky, for me, is actually a pretty relaxing grind.
Sort of a “turn off my brain, relax and run around doing stuff” grind that can be pretty enjoyable in small doses. But that’s not to say I don’t think there’s still room to expand. For as far as they’ve come in the past two years, sometimes it does still feel a little barren.
Hopefully the response to No Man’s Sky NEXT, the surge of new players (and funds) will provide them with the runway for another two years of work and updates.
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