No Man's Sky - NEXT
Flying from planet to planet in search of the universe's rarest materials and technologies in No Man's Sky NEXT scratches an exploratory itch. It still carries a lot of caveats: It's mechanically repetitive no matter what planet you're on, the dull combat should be avoided whenever possible, and bugs are plentiful. But buying new ships and building new things is enough motivation to make it entrancing – for a while, at least.
The updates have brought definite improvement, but even after two years the huge scope and ambition only serves to hide how simplistic and repetitive the gameplay is.
With Next, No Man's Sky blossoms into the game that was promised.
For some, the grind is worth it so they can explore the infinite. For others, the grind itself is the infinite.
Despite all of my qualms, everything seems to fade away each time I warp to a new system or enter an uncharted planet's atmosphere. If you felt the original No Man's Sky had promising ideas but ultimately let you down, NEXT is the perfect time to jump back in. No Man's Sky and its NEXT expansion prove that there is equal parts excitement, dread, and anxiety in exploring the unknowns of space.
NEXT is the step forward that No Man's Sky needed since it was made available two years ago, the online options as well as the third person perspective are both well received additions, however, completely redefining the procedural system of the game is a very difficult task that, in the end, makes it aim for a particular type of player.
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If you're new to the game it's going to take a lot of time to get past the surface scratching, but once you've caught up there's plenty to love. And if you're coming back to No Man's Sky, things have changed quite a bit, but embrace it and explore with much more of a reason to.
No Man's Sky is tough to recommend because it doesn't nearly have mass appeal. It's a grueling game for far too long and even after that its loop is still too freeform for most players. For the right kind of player, however, it can be an exciting adventure filled with memorable moments and a real sense of discovery.
As before No Man's Sky is a game that I enjoyed the most when I was moving under my own steam, plodding along as a leisurely place. The NEXT update brings a lot of great new features to the game and as a result it now feels more complete than it ever has. It is also the perfect time to release the game on Xbox to a new audience that may not have yet had the chance to play it.
No Man's Sky has reached a point where not only does it meet initial promises, it now exceeds them.