Ever since we got our first peek back at VGX 2013, No Man’s Sky has been one of our most hotly anticipated releases. Developed by Hello Games, a small British studio known for creating Joe Danger, this massive procedurally generated galaxy offers a level of visual splendor that makes it stand out among a sea of indies vying for attention. Now that the game is on store shelves, it’s time to see just how well it holds up.
Unfortunately, most outlets haven’t spent very much time with the game just yet. Sure, some early copies of the game made it out to the public, but the day-one patch was only made available this week. Don’t expect to see many final review scores for the next couple of days, but you can read about the early experiences with the game over at IGN’s review in progress.
From what we’ve seen, the first impressions run the gamut from distaste to love at first sight. Where you’ll fall on the spectrum will likely depend on your expectations and personal preferences. If you were banking on No Man’s Sky being the single greatest video game of this generation, you’ll probably end up disappointed. On the other hand, if you’re just looking to explore new worlds, collect tons of resources, and fly around a beautiful galaxy, early reports point to this being $ 60 well spent.
This game is definitely a looker, but how does it stand up from a performance perspective? Eurogamer’s Digital Foundry put the first few hours of No Man’s Sky to the test on the PS4, and found it to be stable most of the time. Running at a full 1080p, it delivers a solid 30fps in all but a handful of situations. When hoofing it on lush garden planets, the smooth v-synced gameplay hardly ever budges from a perfect 30fps. Even when zipping around space, the frame rate is solid.
However, there is one situation where the frame rate absolutely tanks: Speeding across the ground in your ship while the game is still generating the landscape. If you arrive on a new planet, fly low, and don’t let off the gas, the frame rate can drop into the teens. While that’s far from optimal, the problem solves itself quickly when you decelerate or begin exploring existing terrain.
The folks at Digital Foundry were also slightly disappointed that motion blur isn’t available in this release, but it doesn’t bother me in the least. In fact, I tend to disable motion blur when at all possible. It simply comes down to preferences here. Hopefully, Hello Games will eventually be able to implement it in a patch for the pro-blur constituency.
While the PS4 version is available digitally and on disc today, the PC version won’t be available until the 12th. We’re still waiting impatiently to see exactly how well the Windows version performs, but it’s safe to assume that this game will look even better at 60fps with a longer draw distance.