No Man’s Sky was released by Hello Games back in 2016 and has been at the centre of controversy since then. Hailed as one of the worst received games of the last decade, the team have worked tirelessly to release the game they promised for so long. I narrowly missed being hit by the hype train back then as I waited to see if the game delivered the content we so desperately wanted: unlimited exploration and freedom in space. I’m sorry to say I was put off buying NMS until very recently; the details of the NEXT patch really peaked my interest and I wondered if it was finally time for NMS to be the game I wanted it to be.
It absolutely was.
Adding new meteor showers around planets, more planetary and character customisation options and a general overhaul of the look and feel of the game, NEXT has elevated NMS to a level of excellence I didn’t think possible. It almost has an RPG feel – depending on your style of play, which is definitely its greatest feature – and allows me to interact with almost everything in sight. Whether it’s gathering resources, feeding the many creatures on the planet, interacting with aliens or being a spacefaring vehicular menace, NMS lets you curate your own story on your own, with friends or indeed by following the new 30-hour story addition which surprisingly still allows for a certain amount of freedom as opposed to the rigid tick-box style completionism of most story modes.
I’ll admit that I’ve gone a bit overboard with the whole customisation thing. For those not in the know, I’m a massive fan of cats – a cat enthusiast, you might say – especially my red son, Steve. Therefore, it was only fitting that I made the majority of my customisable options cat related, including but not limited to:
- Creating a cat character to resemble my best son, Steve
- Naming planets after Steve
- Naming plants and animals after Steve/ cats
I also named things in relation to where they were found and their temperament. The only things to have escaped this rather niche name pool were my frigates, where I’ve sought inspiration from the Halo franchise and created awful parodies of their vehicle names.
Feeding animals and having them follow me with a little happy face above their heads is also a favourite past-time, as animal friendship is the key to a happy life, especially when you’re a crazy cat lady:
Exploration is at the heart of NMS and if like me, you must visit every single waypoint/ planet/ anything then this is definitely the game for you. There is so much lore in this game that I can’t even give you an opening gambit to entice you in. I’ve met the three species, Korvax, Vy’keen and Gex, and am beginning to understand the races better. The Korvax seem hellbent on collecting information and searching for missing people, who are conveniently only a planet away or in the same fucking room. The Vy’keen are a bit on the war-mongering side of life; think Krogans or Klingons. The Gex are just a bit odd so far; I’ve only met two and one is Polo, the space frog who likes to collect my information and another vagrant-type guy who keeps asking for nanites.
On the planets I’ve visited, there are plenty of ancient alien monoliths to visit which often grant you knowledge, such as word, or some kind of technological gift or even warp fuel. You can also gift individuals items to learn a word, help with their data collection or to ask for directions. Trading is always an option as well as having a wee fight, but I’m trying to build a reputation as a Good Boy™, not a space pirate.
There are also graves of past travellers you can visit, which give you more lore and a special insight into the heart of what this game is about. Much like the Dark Souls and Bloodborne series, the lore is all around you, rather than stored in a codex like an encyclopedia of horror. Speaking of horror, there’s also the aptly named “Biological Horror” that chases you until you are either dead or flying away, screaming.
I’m only about 20 hours in so it’s a little overwhelming to think of what space adventures are out there waiting for me, as well as what other materials I can use to build my ultimate base for Space Steve. I’d like to keep updating this page as I go, whether that’s continually adding to this post or making a series of posts on the matter, so stay tuned for the next episode of Cats in Space.