First off, let's deal with the elephant in the room.
As far as I can see, No Man's Sky arrived and delivered almost exactly what the officially released teaser videos illustrated.
It is an exploration game of the largest dimensions imaginable that you can approach as you see fit. Head to the game's target - the centre of the Universe - or don't. Up to you. Explore, log life forms, or fight, or all the above. Up to you.
It's almost a multiplayer game - almost. You are playing to achieve your own chosen goal. There will be no teams, no clans, no buddies Just you and the world. Well, when I say world, I mean Universe, and the No Man's Sky Universe isn't just big, it's mind-bendingly huge!
There are 18,446,744,073,709,551,616 individual planets in this particular sandbox. It's going to be like Elite, basically single-player, but writ huge
But hereby hangs the 'almost' part I mentioned. During development, it was suggested that it would be possible you would meet other players, but unlikely. However, this has since been proven to be incorrect. You won't meet another player - ever.
Predictably, gamers winged and demanded refunded for being lied to, and all the cobblers the great American society encourages.
So good. All you who moaned - bye bye. You won't be missed. Go play your Call Of Duty, and allow those who want to enjoy the game actually enjoy it.
When I first started to play this game, I was sorely irritated.
I was forced to tramp around a boiling hot planet with frequent storms, just to find some so-called common elements, just so I could get my Launch-Thrusters and Pulse Drive up and running. Supposedly, the elements required for basics are on all planets in reasonable quantities - but not on my one it seemed! To cut a long story short, my third 'first planet' was friendly enough not to boil, freeze, irradiate or send things to shoot at me if I even farted, and all went well.
Then you find out about logging creatures.
Now, this I do find more fun. Scanning for any red dots that indicate an undiscovered creature to add to your list, a complete list netting you hundreds of thousands of credits. Of course, you always find the last remaining species are about as common as rocking-horse shit, but you get there in the end, usually.
Whether you decide to get to the game's goal (the centre of the Universe), or just bumble about , the basic mechanics remain the same.
Keeping your stocks of certain elements up so you can recharge thrusters, life-support, mining equipment, etc. Discovering new locations in the hope that one of them may contain a trading post or a life-form willing to hand you a new piece of equipment or upgrade.
And this leads to a new problem. That being storage slots, or the lack thereof.
Your initial ship has precious few. Your suit has even less, and any new tech or upgrade fills one of these valuable slots. To get more slots you are forced to buy a new ship or shell out a lot of money (or it seems like a lot when you are just starting out) for an extra suit slot.
Making all this even more of a bind is that certain items simply do not stack. In fact, anything that isn't an element does not stack. So you find yourself running gout of slots amazingly fast.
My recommendation from the outset - farm rare elements - if you are lucky enough to be on a planet that offers them. Or be on the lookout for valuable knick-knacks hiding in containers. Make a few million or four, and hang around a trading post or any space station waiting for other ships to arrive. Then you can offer to buy a better ship.
Want to travel to another star-system? Then be prepared to fuel up your hyperdrive with elements you just know your local planets will not have. That is fun.
So what do I really think of it?
I cannot think of any major disappointments, as I was totally expecting what we ended up receiving. I wanted an exploration game writ huge, and that's what it is. And for those of us expecting only that - it really cannot disappoint.
Yes, you can get to a stage where it all seems like just a huge farming grind, and you really get to hate the sight of those red Plutonium shards, but what hasn't lose its thrill is the search for that one missing life-form, or wondering if that undiscovered new planet growing larger in your screen is going to be another God-awful acid-ridden hell-hole that's about as much fun as a tray of cat litter, or a lovely verdant wonderful planet
As a footnote, a pre-release preview article I had ready, had as its last line:
"I bet you any money you like, when I first spawn in the No Man's Sky universe, the very first planet I visit will be called Xx__Poo-World__xX - Discovered by CaptYoBtch".
Oddly enough, it wasn't, and I kinda missed that.
Lots of love - Mai