Wed. Jun 7th, 2023

Five years ago, the name “No Man’s Sky” was that of ridicule and mockery. How could it not be? From the perspectives of those who played the game, it was substandard at best and a literal con at worst. There was even a lawsuit against “No Man’s Sky” for false advertising about  how different the end product was. In the end, I think everyone fully expected the game to go into maintenance mode and be updated sparingly, if at all.

However, many, many changes later, the game is still going strong, with yet another massive update. Now offering a new game mode alongside the plethora of other updates, the game is now shaping more towards the original vision of the game’s advertising.

This new update is dubbed “expeditions” and fully lives up to that name. How it works is that on a new save file, you are given a completely new character with additional random perks like longer flight or life support systems. Everyone (and I mean everyone) who chooses this mode starts on the same planet and the same rendezvous points throughout the journey, pretty much guaranteeing that people will be meeting each other during the journey. Each major event in your journey, like your first time out of the atmosphere or your first trip to another solar system, is called a milestone. With every milestone comes a number of benefits, such as the reward of additional inventory slots, nanites, upgrades for your suit or ship and certain structures.

It also starts differently, giving a very streamlined experience by providing fewer tutorials and story elements unlike the other game modes. This allows you to traverse the universe at a faster pace than other game-modes, getting players to the meat of the game faster. When I first started, it could take someone a couple dozen hours to get to any part of the game that they enjoyed, like building enough to take anomaly missions to simply crafting a home, which, despite how much grinding it takes to go anywhere in the game, who would’ve guessed that the part of the game with the most is where you don’t move?

That said, the resource grind to get to those points aren’t as bad because of the milestone system and this streamlined experience, meaning that you don’t have to spend so many resources preparing a base or scanning for salvageable tech or whatever else you want to find. Instead, the new mode gives players the experience of exploring a group of systems with not only friends, but the rest of the server as you meet countless other players experiencing the same journey as you.

Generally speaking, “No Man’s Sky” is a more lonesome affair, as you very rarely meet people outside of the designated multiplayer zone. With this new mode, you can often see dozens of players from planet to planet with how plentiful the server is.

However, despite all of these positives about the mode, there are certain things that I wish to criticize: mainly, the stability of the game. I began to encounter bugs that I’ve never seen before, such as people losing their portable refineries, which is an essential tool that allows players to move up the tech tree as well as create essential materials needed to progress in any direction. The frame rate also seemed to suffer heavily and crashes were a lot more common than my normal playthroughs.

In short, I am very pleased with the new mode and I think it’s the perfect mode for a player who isn’t as interested in the story aspect of the game, which often feels like an extended tutorial for the game, rather than an engaging narrative. However, due to the many oddities and issues with it, I understand why people aren’t as happy as I am with the release of this update and I hope that Hello Games can fix them to allow people to play more comfortably.

Edward Park is a third year student with a BsED writings track.

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