No Man’s Sky NEXT – Vastly Improved But Still Not Perfect

Back in 2016, I had the daunting task of reviewing one of the most hotly anticipated games of all time – No Man’s Sky. Pre-release hype had built up collective anticipation to astronomical proportions, and despite the fact that the finished product was actually pretty decent, it failed to live up to the impossible expectations of fans, subsequently becoming known as a huge disappointment. Since then, Sean Murray and the Hello Games team, to their great credit, have been quietly slaving away to address each and every shortcoming in the original release – first with the Foundation update in November of 2016, and followed in March 2017 by Pathfinder.

Now comes the NEXT update – a huge laundry list of changes and additions so extensive, it makes No Man’s Sky a virtually new game, and has won back a lot of fans with its many improvements. So, I thought I’d put on my space-suit and dive back into the sci-fi exploration game to see what it has to offer after 2 years of updates; in my 40-plus hours since NEXT dropped, I’ve found a hugely-improved game, and Sean Murray and his team deserve credit for what is shaping up to be one of gaming history’s biggest turnarounds. But not everything is hunky-dory, even with all the new fixes. Let’s take a look at what we love about this latest version of No Man’s Sky – and what still needs improvement.

Things We Love

  1. Base Building

Although the ability to settle down and build your very own base was added with the Pathfinder update in March of 2017, it’s been greatly expanded with NEXT. First off, players can now jointly build bases with up to three other players in addition to doing quests and exploring together. If you’re playing solo, base building has also been given an infusion of over 100 new base parts, allowing you to construct bigger, taller and more complex structures out of a variety of materials, from wood to metal to concrete. New customization abilities allow you to decide the color of your new home and add decorations like lights, windows and furniture. Install a Teleporter, and you can even hop easily between all of your various bases, or visit space stations if you like. I’ve invested a lot of hours in the game’s base-related quests, and it’s a really fun feature that’s so deep now, it’s almost a full Minecraft-like game in itself and you might find yourself forsaking exploration to just chillax in your very own home sweet home among the stars.

No Man's Sky

  1. Improved Space Stations

Perhaps no aspect of the original No Man’s Sky epitomized the game’s shortcomings as much as the Space Stations. They were huge, empty boxes out in space, with little in them save a couple of aliens sitting around a Galactic Trade Terminal doing nothing in particular. That has definitely changed with the NEXT update. Visit your local Space Station now, and you’ll find that it is a true hub of activity, with two sides instead of one. One side has the good old Trade Terminal but also groups of aliens with lots of local side missions to offer. You can also talk to and trade with individual aliens to get rewards and information. On the other, recently added side of the station, you’ll find a bunch of new merchants offering upgrades and rare items for sale (hint, get the S-Class Visor Upgrade for huge discovery money payouts). Finally, you can meet any number of NPCs who constantly come and go in their starships, trading for valuable materials or even a new starship. And as mentioned, the ability to build a Teleport Module in your base means you can now fast-travel to Space Stations and back to your base easily, eliminating a lot of tedious back-and-forth space excursions.

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  1. Multiplayer

One of the biggest disappointments of the original No Man’s Sky was the lack of a true multiplayer. Even if you enjoyed No Man’s Sky (as I did), there’s no doubt that the experience was a lonely one (ironically, that was Sean Murray’s intended vision, but I digress). Now, with NEXT, multiplayer has finally arrived in full. Players can team up in groups of as many as four to explore the galaxy together with in-game chat enabled, or choose to join a random player’s game and maybe visit their home base. Don’t expect a giant MMO-type experience here; you’re not going to see hordes of other players zooming past you as you explore a planet – it’s a more limited experience that will be most fun when experienced with small groups of friends. As for the random drop-in feature, that’s a side of multiplayer that still needs tweaking, with cases of base vandalism and griefing causing some players to simply turn their Network Play settings to Off. No doubt, Hello Games will iron out the bugs with a future fix, but overall Multiplayer is a big and welcome new addition to the No Man’s Sky experience.

Click Thru to Page 2 to See the Things We Still Don’t Love About No Man’s Sky!