No Man's Sky Next really is a whole new game - and it's wonderful
"We always wanted No Man's Sky to grow and develop after it released. I'm happy we've been able to do that, that the press and the community have stayed with us for the journey, and now we’re able to bring the game to the Xbox One community too. After four major updates, No Man’s Sky has become broader and deeper, and now supports many different play styles. Each update brought back many who saw the potential in our procedurally generated universe" - Sean Murray, creator of No Man's Sky and founder of Hello Games
The surprise announcement that No Man's Sky was coming to the Xbox One when its latest big update ships was met with lots of excitement - and having spent a few hours now with No Man's Sky on Microsoft's console its easy to see why.
This new update which, as with all of the previous updates released by Hello Games, is not only free to existing players on Playstation 4 and PC, comes as part of the base game on the Xbox release. And it really does reinvent the game taking it from an impressive procedurally generated, but ultimately hollow, experience into something that is a well rounded and very playable game.
Everything feels new - the visual overhaul makes the alien landscapes look even more stunning, and now in crisp 4K and HDR on both the Xbox One X and PS4 Pro it truly looks like something that pushes this generation in the right direction. The third party view point is immeasurably nicer to play than the old FPS only option making you feel like you're actually playing a character in the universe rather than a disembodied head.
The tutorial/intro to the game - which took up most of my playtime so far - is much better and introduces you to exploration, crafting and base building in a friendly and enjoyable manner. Even previously players would benefit from jumping in at the start and learning about the new mechanics - the new 'refiner' that allows you to create new elements from those you gather as you explore, is key to understanding the game going forward.
You can now swim under alien seas and even build your base on an ocean floor if you choose - or maybe you'd rather build a base on a freighter orbiting a distant world. It's entirely up to you - there's a whole, massive, galaxy to explore just as before - and the opportunities have now gone beyond the endless that they were in the original game.
Then there's the biggest update of all - PROPER multiplayer - something we haven't even had a chance to try out yet, but for the first time you and a small group of friends can work together to build your base and start exploring the galaxy. At the immense size of the galaxy, meeting up with randoms is still pretty unlikely, but you can now join your friends or have them jump into the game with you and collaborate.
It's going to take a LONG time to get a full handle on everything that's new, but we're confident enough right now to say this is the game that No Man's Sky always wanted to be but didn't quite get there until now. The wait was more than worth it though and Xbox One owners should be jumping at the chance to play one of the generations best games so far.