It’s amazing what’s going on behind those walls, right?
Like all the other things in the new No Man’s Sky patch, it’s easy to find and use thanks to a new help menu thing. If you’re browsing the entry for side quests in this new menu, you can click a button to generate a quest that’ll point you directly to the nearest counter.
Clicking on the counter opens a list of side quests. These are randomly-generated, and offer rewards as well as reputation bonuses with different guilds and factions.
This is great! In addition to the easy-to-follow new storyline, these side quests add some much needed “Stuff to do” to No Man’s Sky.
The quest in that screenshot wants me to “Exterminate Planetary Creatures.” I thought at first that it would then point me to creatures on a specific nearby planet…but it turns out any creatures will do. I know some people might not like this lack of specificity, but I kind of dig it.
It’s the perfect balance between giving you an objective and yet still allowing you to explore.
My time in the game is now evenly balanced between working towards my goal in the main storyline, completing side missions, and taking photos in the photo mode. I am never at a loss for stuff to do, and all of that stuff now provides tangible and useful rewards. Advancing is no longer just about farming resources.
Further, I can still stop the progression at any time if I want to do some chill exploration.
There’s still some weird things in the gameplay design.
My destruction of random planetary creatures drew the ire of the flying robot sentinels.
They still can’t follow the player into buildings.
Here, one of them is stuck just beyond the doorway, and the other two are looking for me.
Since No Man’s Sky launched, I always thought it would be cool if it had shooting missions located inside. Like, it’d be great if I blew off the door to an old installation, and some long-dormant robots woke up and tried to get rid of me.
Now, with all of the other extensive improvements to the game, the lack of interior combat is all the more apparent. Dungeons a la Fallout 4/Skyrim are the last thing on my personal wishlist…and if we never get them, I’m still tremendously happy with all the new context and fun the game now has.
And boy, these new high-resolution terrain textures sure look cool!
I’ll be checking in on my progress in No Man’s Sky at least once a week, in part to force myself to actually finish the game this time. The ethereal nature of the game means that this series won’t be as diary-like as my Fallout 4 Fridays and Skyrim Mondays articles.