Retire 12th August, 2016 4th May, 2019
I recently went back to NMS to give it another go for the third time. As a basic overview, NMS has a practically infinite universe, stuffed with bazillions of planets which are all almost the same. The core gameplay mechanics revolves around grinding enough basic resource to make upgrades and survival tools. Since launch they've also added base building, underwater planets and fleet management. I do kind of want to see the storyline through to completion, but after 50 hours I'm still pretty much at the beginning, and I know I'll never be arsed to spend the dozens of hours required to grind the materials to make it to the centre of the galaxy, so it's getting retired. Again.
- The first time I found a completely wrecked ship and managed to repair all it's subsystems to get it flight-worthy again felt awesome
- Seamless transition between earth and sky
- Learning words so you can understand aliens is awesome
- Scanning and logging alien life is cool (but pointless)
- I really enjoy discovering new plants, but it feels really crap that once you've landed on a planet in one spot, you've seen the entire planet.
- View distance on planets is poor
- No oceans. All planets are 99% land?! (updated - ocean exploration is now pretty great, or at least on-par with land exploration)
- Constantly farming basic resources to charge life support, fuel & weapons is boring and grindy
- Inventory management is constantly annoying. They've since added storage on your freighter, but accessing and organising it is clunky
- Jetpack is weak (updated!)
- No manual takeoff/landing
- Space combat is basic, starship controls are pretty bad
With a game like this, you have to make a decision at the start about how many planets you're going to have; a hand-crafted small number, or 'lots'. Although NMS boasts an enormous number of planets, it doesn't actually gain anything from it. Because there are 18 quintillion planets, none of them are special or interesting, and they simply become a resource to gather. I love exploring in games, but only when there's cool stuff to discover. The difference between NMS and Subnautica for example is that Subnautica's world is entirely hand-crafted, and literally everything you can find in it is cool and awe inspiring.
I will give credit to the developers, I have never seen so many free content updates after such a terrible launch and they deserve credit for that. They did, however, still lie through their teeth about the game before launch and I'd never pre-order anything from them.