The quandary of No Man's Sky has provided an interesting week for many gamers, for some they have been given the Sci-fi romp of their dreams and others, the hype train came crashing off the tracks in an explosion of disappointment.
No Man's Sky is possibly one of the most divisive games I've seen in years, I am very disappointed to report that my opinion of the game is overall not a good one. I had anticipated the game would have some shortcomings or quirks, but the sad fact is that this highly coveted title from indie developer Hello Games has fallen well short of the mark for me. The PC version has arrived in a fairly unoptimised state with many crash bugs and glitches: while this poor PC version is in itself not good enough the problems I have with the game are much deeper and can't be patched so easily. The first trailers for No Man's Sky set the gaming world alight with intrigue and hope, was this the game we'd all been waiting for? Every fibre of my being was telling me this was too good to be true and that the team wasn't nearly big enough to make this kind of game. Just taking a look at the previous titles from the studio, it's mind blowing how they went from a sideways scrolling game like Joe Danger to a game with the magnitude of No Man's Sky. For the most part, gamers ignored all these facts and jumped on the hype train with both feet: like our old friend Mulder - we wanted to believe.
There are some impressive elements to No Man's Sky, the sheer scale of its game-space has never been matched by any other game. The fact you can see a moon from a planet's surface and within seconds be hurtling toward that moon is astounding. This entire universe was obviously not hand crafted but instead generated by a 'superformula', a procedural algorithm that has allowed eighteen quintillion planets to be generated with only the 'rules' of creation set by the developers. As impressive as this is I do think that when you use procedural maths to make everything, gamers will very quickly become tired of seeing the same basic templates stretched over a slightly different world. Surely it would be better to handcraft chunks of the game world and then use procedural content to fill in the gaps between? The best of both worlds if you like. If you want to read my full review of No Man's Sky for PC, please check it out here.
There are a few other reviews lurking around my site this week so if you are stuck for something to play why not check out my thoughts on Helldivers and ABZU: both reviewed very well. Helldivers is one of the most polished and fun twin stick shooters I've played in recent times: just make sure you have a few friends ready to jump in with you. ABZU is an absolutely exquisite game that feels like the spiritual sequel to Journey, you can check out both these games in the reviews section.
As summer starts to fade and the Autumn makes itself known we enter a quiet month, which has been great to take a break and catch up with a few smaller games (and a cheeky visit to London). However this year still has some big games left to release, notably Deus Ex: mankind divided, Watchdogs 2, Mafia 3, Battlefield 1 and Dishonoured 2. This year has certainly left me a little more wary of having high expectations for games, The Division seems to have vanished from the world and now No Man's Sky has left many gamers feeling deceived/letdown. Out of remaining releases, I pray Dishonoured 2 will be good because the original is one of my favourite games of all time. I think we know what to expect with Battlefield 1, it will sell well, have some bugs to start with and eventually end up fairly polished. It is actually Watchdogs 2 that really has something to prove this year due to the first title falling very short of what was originally shown, this was the game that (for me) displayed in neon lights how dishonest game developers can we when showing off their wares in staged trailers. Come November I shall be taking a very close look at Watchdogs 2 with a full review but also comparing it to the usual hype videos.
This week the world's gaming press has descended upon Germany for Europe's biggest gaming event: Gamescom. Due to a combination of factors (money and health being the main two) I have had to once again miss this year's event but, of course, that won't stop me covering the games and announcements from HQ back in the UK. I shall be pouring over every trailer, interview and reveal looking for all the news and information that pertains to PC gaming. With the EA press event kicking off in a few hours (at the time of writing) I shall post this and head to the bunker: let's hope we see many awesome games.