Welcome to our weekly open thread for the discussion of gaming plans, nagging questions, and whatever else we feel like talking about. No matter what the topic, we invite everyone in the comments to tell us: What Are You Playing This Weekend?
This weekend I—like many of you, I suspect—will be playing No Man’s Sky. Hello Games’ long awaited and highly anticipated space exploration game has been making waves across the internet for just over a week already. My Gameological review is coming soon, but in the meantime, I thought I’d offer some best practices and tips for those of you who are going to be spending this weekend sailing through the stars.
When you first begin your journey through No Man’s Sky you’ll be surrounded by resources rich for the exploiting, but you’ll also have nowhere to put them. Your inventory size is extremely limited at the beginning of the game, and upgrading it involves hunting down rare drop pods and forking over considerable wads of space-dough. To compensate for your shallow pockets, don’t pick up anything you don’t need in the moment, and don’t be afraid to throw stuff away if you aren’t using it. You’ll want to have some plutonium (found in red crystals) and zinc (harvested from yellow flowers) on you at all times to fuel some of your vital equipment, but other than that you can just pick up what you need as you need it. The goal is to live off the land, not to keep an entire chemistry set in your back pocket.
The planets in No Man’s Sky are, to put it mildly, rather large. Every one you come across is going to offer plenty to see and do, whether you prefer to hunt down mysterious alien monoliths, catalogue the local wildlife, or load your ship with the local resources. But remember: There are a lot of planets out there. Do what you need to do, but don’t feel the need to stick around and turn over every rock. If you’re getting tired of looking at the same old 5-meter-tall radioactive mushrooms, or if you can’t track down a planet’s final life-form no matter how hard you look, or if the relentless acid rain is starting to damper your astro-holiday, there’s no shame in jumping in your ship and flying to the next planet or solar system over. If you ever feel boredom or frustration setting in, a change of scenery is often all it takes to make the galaxy seem fresh and exciting again.
When Sony first announced that the PlayStation 4 was going to have a dedicated “share” button for uploading screenshots to social media, I couldn’t roll my eyes hard enough. Now I use it all the time. No Man’s Sky is the game this feature has been crying out for—a parade of gorgeous, bizarre, and unpredictable landscapes and life-forms. The planets in this game are scattered so far apart and interstellar travel demands such a large investment of resources and time that if you find a cool world, you might be the only person to ever see it unless you take a picture and show it off. The algorithmically designed creatures are an even sweeter treat, frequently demonstrating the kind of endearing awkwardness that a fussy designer would never approve of and makes them seem even more profoundly alien. So the next time you see a beetle the size of an elephant, make sure to snap a picture, because it might be the only thing of its kind for light-years in every direction.