No Man's Sky remains one of those sad releases where the controversy overshadowed its capabilities. While it was by no means the groundbreaking release everyone was hoping for, the bold faced fabrications by its developer made the competent, if unremarkable, game seem like a disappointment. However, the game does still retain a small and extremely loyal following, and the Path Finder update has proven Hello Games is determined to stick to its promises from here on.
Veering towards the Mass Effect end of space exploration simulation, the game offers players the opportunity to traverse the landscape in a variety of vehicles. Each has their own benefits and strengths, and even the opportunity to customise them to the needs of each player. While this might seem redundant at first given the spacecraft on offer, the speed-boosters, terrain capabilities, lower costs and fuel consumption means they have a definite role to play in this game. It certainly helps that they can be left with the many outposts you can found on each world, removing the reliance you previously had on one or two ships at a time.
Many of the outposts added in Foundations still follow something of a Subnautica vibe, there is more to work with here. New items, upgrades and accessories allow you to make real use of the modular systems, and the welcome addition of new merchants means you’re going to be dumping far fewer resources than usual. These can even be shared online now, giving some slight degree of crossover between players. It’s a push towards giving the setting a much more lived-in sense, with more options and ideas, and even the ships have seen a few minor upgrades favouring certain professions.
However, many of these are merely building upon the core aspects of the game rather than fixing its innate flaws. While vehicles might speed up exploration and bases are a very useful bonus, crafting still remains an irritatingly unintuitive system, and progress is still frustratingly slow. While the step forwards towards new ideas is welcome, they're hard to enjoy when the old ones clearly still need some work.
No Man's Sky still doesn't live up to its hype despite the Path Finder elements, but they are a big step in the right direction. This finally adds some much needed flesh to its bones, and combined with the elements Foundations added to the game, if offers more of the exploration people wanted from the start. If you have held off on No Man's Sky because of its negativity, now is the time to give it another chance.
NO MAN’S SKY - PATH FINDER UPDATE / DEVELOPER& PUBLISHER: HELLO GAMES / PLATFORMS: PC, PLAYSTATION 4 / RELEASE DATE: OUT NOW