No Man's Sky
No Man's Sky was released in 2016 to a rocky start that expanded across the galaxies. An ambitious title marred with unmet expectations, the free-roaming galaxy exploration title received negative reviews at the time for failing to promise guaranteed features at launch. The initial lack of communication between the developer and player base, especially for a live service title, meant the game was at risk of failure. Years of the developers learning how to right their wrongs slowly regained the trust of the player base.
As of right now, it's the best time to get in on the experience with many of its glaring issues fixed via free updates. Coming from someone who has zero experience with No Man's Sky, I was skeptical about such a massive title being ported on the Nintendo Switch. On the subject of "goodwill," most companies have done the opposite when it came to porting their titles on the Switch. Last year I've discussed World War Z as an example of the developers "doing their best." The result was lackluster, to say the least.
Perhaps the biggest offenders are sports titles as it seems every single year there are titles that are exceptionally lazy in comparison to other versions. Since then I decided if the developers aren't going to go the extra mile to ensure all versions of a game are up to a respectable standard, why should I as a reviewer? I would assume 2K Games would dislike my NBA 2K22 review in that regard...
So, my first-ever experience with No Man's Sky is on a console that is prone to having the "weaker version," but you know what the biggest surprise is? No Man's Sky has to be the best port of a game on the Nintendo Switch right now. Imagine, a game where you travel between multiple random planets, finding materials to craft and ways to survive, would be great on a console that lacks the performance of its other consoles. It's more likely than you think although there are corners that were cut from the original game.
On launch, there's a lack of multiplayer which is the main component of No Man's Sky. In my opinion, this is perfectly fine as a large-scale exploration title on the Switch is perfect for on-the-go scenarios. You're not going to be connected to the internet all the time with a Switch as you are expected on consoles or PC. The other glaringly obvious corner cut is the graphics. Compared to what I've seen from other versions, the textures are muddles, the colors are muted, and the physics is a bit off. However, for someone with no experience with the game before this, the gameplay is sound and resolute.
I was able to understand how to survive, where to go for materials, and not feel as if I was being strung along in the middle of nowhere. You have two gauges to monitor, which are your oxygen and your environmental suit. On planets that are cold, you have thermal protection. Planets that are toxic have noxious protection, and so on. Occasionally severe weather, like a blizzard, will drastically increase the depletion of the barrier. Likewise, sprinting will quickly deplete your oxygen levels. To refill either of these requires minerals that can be harvested with your blaster gun.
The game's tutorial does a good job of allowing the player to find materials to craft objects and build gadgets to help the player along the way. Repairing a ship required to travel between planets is also a top priority as well as finding new leads or signs of life. Wildlife tends to act accordingly to its traits. Some will leave you alone unless you decide to pick fights, only to go on the defensive. I've played roughly an hour of No Man's Sky and I can tell this is a game meant to be a timesink one can expect for years to come.
This is why there's no excuse as if the developers are able to cram so much content on the Switch, other developers should be able to do the same. I know there are things like game engines and other scenarios that make this easier said than done. But this is No Man's Sky, the one thing I can compare is if they place an entire MMO on the console--- Wait, they have, haven't they? Yeah, there's no excuse. Developers with enough time and care can port their best games on a "low-performance" console should they have the motivation to do so. I tip my hat off to Hello Games for doing the "impossible."
No Man's Sky is now available on the Nintendo Switch. It is also available on PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X/S