With NEXT update, No Man’s Sky finally brings it all together

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Enlarge / Space is pretty.

Nearly two years after its rocky initial launch, No Man’s Sky still has a long way to go. But after three major updates and the recent pseudo-relaunch in the form of No Man’s Sky NEXT, it finally feels like a game that deserves to go that extra distance. That’s assuming you can put up with a lot of turbulent interstellar travel in the meantime, anyway.

Like a lot of folks, I whipped up a fresh save to coincide with the new NEXT update after barely touching the game’s reportedly great additions (base building, freighters, and a whole new story campaign) over the past two years. The restart immediately felt both familiar and bizarrely off, somehow. My silent avatar still started on one of 18 quintillion procedurally generated planets with nothing but a mining laser and a damaged ship.

But there was a new, subdued urgency to those opening seconds. The game casually drew my attention to a half-full energy meter on my user interface. I only had seconds to find sodium and refuel it, or I’d start taking damage from the superheated planet’s surface. Finding sodium, however, meant I needed to repair my multi-tool’s malfunctioning scanner. That required a material that was new to me, Ferrite Dust, and much futzing with reams of menus and inventories.

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