To Infinity and Beyond: No Man’s Sky Review

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Written by: Nick Porter

 

The vastness of space has always captivated the imagination of many for thousands of years. When one looks into the night sky, questions of the possibility of different life forms, civilizations, and galaxies run rampant. Media has greatly influenced that imagination, from Star Trek to Forbidden Planet in movie cinema to Colony Wars and Space Invaders in video games, space has always been the “final frontier.” When No Man’s Sky was initially announced, the thought of exploring space was too intriguing not to pass up. Actually playing No Man’s Sky, I got just that.  

No Man’s Sky is from British game developer Hello Games. You play the role of an unnamed and ungendered person. The main plot of the game…well, is there one? The point of the game is to explore the many galaxies and get to the center of the universe. How many you say? Hello Games managed to put over 18 quintillion, yes quintillion, planets into this game.

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More specifically 18,446,744,073,709,551,616. To put that into perspective, you would need over 5 million years to visit each and every planet. There’s never been a game in recent memory that boasted this many planets to visit and explore.

When you initially begin No Man’s Sky, there’s no beginning video sequence, no backstory, no introduction to the game. You are placed on a random planet and forced to basically survive. The game doesn’t give any kind of tutorial or instruction. It’s literally survive or die. And that is the main theme throughout the game. During your voyage through space, you can mine a variety of minerals such as iron or plutonium, meet and learn about alien races, and map different species of plants and animals. You can also name these discovered species as well as the planets and galaxies, thereby cementing that specific name in the No Man’s Sky servers (P.S. if you come across a galaxy named “House of St. Laurent” it’s yours truly).no-mans-sky-screenshot

The game isn’t without faults. There have been many times that the game simply froze up on me. Not sure if that’s just latency or an issue with the game itself.  I would have like the monoliths to be greatly different while visiting each alien races rather than similarly alike.  One of the major hopes I’d love to see in the games is actually seeing other gamers while traversing the galaxies. Reminiscent of Demon and Dark Souls series. Rumors that some kind of multiplayer aspect have run rampant across the internet, let’s hope that some part of the rumor holds true.
Now some people would say that there’s not enough action in No Man’s Sky to warrant its purchase. And that’s a fair assessment. This game will not be for everyone. However, if you’re looking for something that is unlike what’s out, I’d highly recommend this game. No Man’s Sky is one of those few games that let you loose on the entire cosmos and discover its many mysteries. That feeling of discovery and piecing together ancient civilization’s history is something I have never found in a video game. I highly commend Sean Murray and everyone at Hello Games in introducing wonderment and imagination back into space games. Let us hope that, that kind of ingenuity will be injected into all genres of video games.

Shoot ‘Em Up Style: Overwatch Review

From the first moment I loaded Overwatch and the thunderous John Williams like music boomed from my TV, I knew this game was not your typical first person shooter.

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Overwatch is from developer Blizzard Entertainment, most famous for World of Warcraft and Diablo. It was released on 05/14 for the Xbox One, PS4, and PC. The game pits players on teams of six into competitive modes on exotic locales throughout the world. At first, the game has a level of simplicity that appears to be behind the time of modern day first person shooter, however I was so wrong.

Overwatch has a very deep gameplay that’s not found in today’s FPS’s. With a roster of over 15 shooters each with different abilities, the game is completely unique in every way. In fact, it brings something new to  FPS.

Ingenuity.

Characters are split into four different categories: offense, defense, support, and tank. Players can swap different heroes on the fly in combat after death, whether it be the French speaking sniper, Widowmaker, or if you need a healer in the way of Mercy. Changing heroes during the middle of a battle can literally mean the difference between victory and defeat.

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What I believed to be one of the greatest accomplishments Overwatch achieved was the inclusion of so many different women. Recently game developers have come under justifiable scrutiny for not including women as playable characters.

Developers at Ubisoft, creator of the Assassin Creed series, mentioned in a 2014 interview that creating main protagonist women characters are “too difficult to animate.” Which is particularly “interesting “considering they’re the same company that created Assassin Creed: Liberation which featured a woman as the main protagonist. There have been many games as the main characters, but that is another story.

However, what’s missing from their roster of badass women is a Black female character.  Hopefully, this will change in the updated versions.

The gameplay is fast and the graphics pop out like a fluid Japanese inspired cartoon. With more content and characters on the way, Overwatch will be played throughout much of the year. It is very much a contender for game of the year by many.

Written by Nick Porter