No Man’s Sky’s upcoming update is looking to fulfil the promises of the original game.
No Man’s Sky had a tough launch. It certainly wasn’t a bad game by any means, but when it was made playable to the masses in 2016, most people felt that it was a sour disappointment compared to what its developers Hello Games promised. According to the game’s criticis, several major features were missing, what was in the game felt repetitive and bland, and it was plagued by several niggling and persistent flaws that brought down the whole experience. But these days it’s become a trend to take disappointing base games and revitalize them with massive post-launch updates. The Division did it, Destiny did it, and now, No Man’s Sky is attempting to do that with NEXT as well.
And while the team at indie developers Hello Games isn’t nearly as large or has near as many resources at their disposal as the guys at Bungie or Ubisoft, so far it’s definitely looking like they might just be able to turn things around for their ambitious title. Here in this feature, we’re going to take a look at the fifteen biggest and most significant changes, additions, and improvements that No Man’s Sky NEXT brings with it.
Of course, the first and most obvious thing you will notice after downloading NEXT and booting up the game is going to be its shiny new graphics. No Man’s Sky was a beautiful looking game to begin with, but NEXT is making noticeable improvements. Everything from the water and the clouds to the terrain and even the rings around planets looks sharper and more detailed, while similar levels of details have also been added to models for ships and NPCs.
The absence of multiplayer in No Man’s Sky was a major sticking point for the game’s critics when it launched back in 2016, and with NEXT, Hello Games are finally bringing that feature to the game. Players will now be able to play with and agains other players, while you can now also build a party of upto four players, yourself included. What’s more, all players of the party bring all their equipment and items with them intact from their own game.
These parties of four are structured in a very interesting way. There’s no party leader, for starters, and with each player having equal privileges in the party, any player can invite any other party member to complete missions with them. The one requirement, of course, is that all players in the party must be playing in the same mode, however, you can join a party as a guest. In such a scenario, the game will provide a default loadout of things for you. The most interesting bit about parties, though, is that there is no range limit to how far party members can be from each other. So conceivably, each of your four party members can be in four different corners of the universe.
No Man’s Sky NEXT also adds sharing features to the game. You can now transfer items across inventories, meaning you can send any item in your inventory to any member of your party, and they can, in turn, also do the same with you. That said, sharing does not apply to star ships- these are strictly assigned to just one player, that being whoever their owner is, while they still don’t have a passenger seat either, so you’re still always going to be all by yourself inside your starship while flying (this, of course, doesn’t apply to freighters).
IMPROVED SPACE BATTLES
No Man’s Sky’s NEXT update’s multiplayer brings several exciting prospects and opportunities with it, but perhaps the one that will excite players more than most is improved space battles. That’s right, players can now engage in improved space battles, with freighters and ships and what have you, fighting with and against other players. That means you can make them as large or small scale as you want. Be it individual dogfight chases or massive battles reminiscent of Star Wars and Mass Effect, the game is giving you the tools to enact all of it.
EXPANDED BASE BUILDING
Base building is also heavily expanded. Players can now own multiple bases, and these bases can be built anywhere. Literally anywhere- underwater, on top of mountains… if you can see it, you can build a base there. You can even build one within a capital ship, as long as it is owned by you or a party member. But even more interesting, perhaps, is the fact that these bases can be positively massive, sprawling structures with ridiculous options for building and customization. There is a total of twenty thousand indivudual pieces for you to choose from while building bases.
BASE BUILDING MISSIONS
Bases now also come with a sort of progression system tied to them. For instance, you will be constantly rewarded with new pieces for using older and different ones while building stuff. As far as ownership of bases goes, the party member that constructs the very first block or component of a base is its owner, but all other party members can keep adding to that base by building on it and expanding it further.
THIRD PERSON VIEW
Another headline addition brought to No Man’s Sky by NEXT is the third person view. The base game that launched back in 2016 was completely first person, but that’s no longer the case. Third person is available even while you’re in your star ship, in fact. And while it’s definitely looking like this might become the default way of playing No Man’s Sky, you can always toggle back to first person view using the game’s contextual menu at any given time.
CUSTOMIZABLE PLAYER CHARACTER
It looks like NEXT really wants to capitalize on all the improvements it is making, and wants to make use of them as well as it can. As such, with third person view also comes character customization mechanics. You can change the look of your character whenever you want now- all you have to do is go to special terminals that exist solely for this purpose. These can be found in every space station in the entire game, and you can also build these terminals in your bases and your freighters.
But just how deep does this customization going to go? Well, it goes deep enough. You can, of course, change your outward appearance to the extent you would expect to, with things such as your helmet and your exosuit all being open to customization. The one really interesting bit, though, if that you can choose your species as well. You can play as any of the game’s aliens if you want, now. Also, and this is a tiny detail, but one that is definitely appreciated- depending on whether your species is supposed to be taller or shorter, your view in first person perspective will change accordingly.
Here’s another big one. No Man’s Sky NEXT allows you to spend spend serious in-game dough – if you have enough, that is – to purchase entire fleets. You can now own multiple freighters, and you can send each of these freighters out on separate missions for rewards. These missions, of course, will play out in real time. Interestingly enough, if you assign a freighter to a mission, it won’t just disappear for that duration- it will physically go to the place within the game’s universe where that mission is supposed to take place.
NEXT also adds a improved photo mode to the game, and if you’ve ever played No Man’s Sky, you know that that’s nothing but good news. No Man’s Sky is a stunning game, visually speaking- it’s the kind of game that can hugely benefit from a improved photo mode, and with all the visual and technical improvements NEXT is brings with it, the added bonus of a improved photo mode becomes that much sweeter. And here’s something else that’s interesting- photo mode can be activated while the rest of your party members are still playing and still moving around in your vision.
One other addition that NEXT makes to No Man’s Sky is a scanner view, and while it may not be as, let’s say, marketable as something like a new multiplayer mode or a third person view, it’s still going to be pretty important in the future to what becomes the game’s new core gameplay loop. With the scanner view, players can now scan and detect subterranean treasures, which are now scattered and littered under the surface throughout every world in the game. You can dig these up by using your terrain manipulators to get various rewards and items.
The way repairs are handled also changes with NEXT, and is made, all around, much easier and more accessible. While earlier in No Man’s Sky to make critical repairs to their suits and their ship, players had to hoard all the resources that were required and then use them all at once, now players can just make use of what they have, and then go looking for more of what is required. Ideally, and most notably, this should help a great deal with freeing up inventory space, which could become a bit of a problem in the original game.
Finally, and this may not be as major as some (or most, if not all) of the other changes and additions, but the HUD in No Man’s Sky has also been tweaked with NEXT. This involves not only a sleeker and more streamlined contextual menu, but also makes other minor visual improvements, such as reducing the size of pop ups and making them less intrusive while you acquire new items and resources.