Like many, I bought into the No Man’s Sky hype early on. The promises of a vast universe to explore, of unique worlds to conquer, strange creatures to discover and mysteries to be unlocked spoke deeply to a pioneering spirit that lurked within me.
And just like so many others after the long wait and delayed release, I was left with one thing: disappointment. I gave No Man’s Sky a meager 20 hours of gameplay and walked away disillusioned. There were outcries and promises were made, but I was cynical. Hello Games already had my money, what were they going to do?
Listen. They would listen.
Over the past year, Hello Games has been releasing major update patches for No Man’s Sky to try to bring us back to the stars. While the previous updates introduced new vehicles, base building mechanics, and fixes to graphical issues, No Man’s Sky’s 1.3 patch focuses on developing the story, new ways to play the game, UI improvements, and some MAJOR quality-of-life components.
While there are many parts to the Atlas Rises update, in this review, I will be focusing on these four elements of the update.
One of my biggest complaints about the original release was story. It wasn't enough for me to create my own way across the universe, I needed purpose. Atlas Rises seems to give a bit more of that. There is more intrigue than before. It’s slow, but with the massive expanse of No Man’s Sky’s universe, it makes sense,
The downside to the injection of story is this: if you have already begun a save file for the standard play mode, you will pick the story up somewhere in the middle. If you’re not attached to your current ship and multi-tool or you really want to experience the story to the fullest extent, it means deleting your existing save file… or creating another profile on your system!
New Ways to Play
When No Man’s Sky was originally announced, I had visions of taking on the role of the smuggler - carting contraband from star system to star system, building a name and a reputation worth enough credits to keep my ship afloat. You know the sort, “aiming to misbehave.” Well, throw on your brown coats and flex that blaster finger, because now you can!
Smuggling not enough? How about searching the ruins of crashed freighters or unlocking interplanetary portal? Not feeling like exploring? Take to the sky and terrorize some space pirates.
Not only has Hello Games handled the graphical issues and made an already gorgeous game even more so, they have also updated the UI. By adding quest tracking, a revamped galaxy map, and a new, easier to use menu interface, retrieving information is much easier than before.
Quality of Life Improvements
Next to story, this is one of the areas in which Hello Games has made some significant improvements to No Man’s Sky. Three of these quality of life improvements which stand out are an updated inventory management system with inventory spaces dedicate to tech and cargo, the ability to summon your ship to you at any time, and a terrain modification enhancement for your multi-tool.
Yes. You heard me right: terrain editing!
This tool advances the possibilities of No Man’s Sky’s Foundation update, giving you more options for planetary colonization. While the terrain editor has it’s limitations, it certainly helps you create the perfect location for your home base.
With the improvements to the story, gameplay options, and quality of life improvements, the Atlas Rising update is a very positive way forward for No Man’s Sky. While the game still isn’t the one we were promised in development, it’s getting better - much better. Instead of a hype-machine-turned-bargain-bin-stuffer, this update helps move No Man’s Sky back into the realm of games worth exploring.
As for me, I’ll see ya star-side.