Between my three gaming profiles, I’ve racked up about 120 hours of game time… and counting. I’ve been focusing on my main profile and continue to learn stuff about this game, not only from playing but from the Facebook group – they are very helpful to all of the newbies who are just now getting into the game.
Feels good that now I can answer some of their questions… while asking a ton of questions myself. My son-in-law plays the game and, sometimes, he’ll come into my game and work on stuff; I’ve been to his game once so far and it didn’t surprise me that he picked a world with the worst possible environment to call home; to say it’s as hot as hell doesn’t begin to describe it.
Once I get the game cranked up, when I discover stuff I know he’s gonna need to know, I’ll message him. I’m further ahead on the game’s main missions than he is… but he’s really good at stockpiling stuff and units (money) than I’ve been willing to get into… but I’m getting better at it and out of necessity. Early on in the game, you wind up collecting… stuff that, in those moments, you don’t need; they take up precious inventory space in your backpack and unless you have more than one base, chances are you can only create a 20-space storage unit. While like items will stack up together, there’s a limit to how many things – like Marrow Bulbs – will stack together before needing an empty space.
So you wind up selling or getting rid of stuff you don’t need… or you think you don’t need… then wind up kicking your own ass because, later, all that stuff you sold or disposed of now becomes the same stuff you need and, mysteriously, can’t seem to keep enough of on hand.
I just added two more storage units on my secondary base giving me a total of seven units… and I’m gonna need more. Let’s get to a literal game changing moment I experienced…
Eventually I learned that the galaxy – and existence – is a simulation (think “The Matrix”) and one created by a god-like entity called The Atlas. The Atlas is dying or breaking down and it told me that in sixteen days, the entire simulation will crash and everything – and everyone (including me) will cease to exist. That had me running around doing main missions (instead of hoarding all the goodies I could scrounge up), visiting many solar systems and, finally, faced with the option to reset the simulation and preserve existence… or walk away.
I chose to reset the simulation. As an aside, on one of my other profiles, I’m going to choose to walk away just to see what happens. I do a slew of other main mission tasks and, finally, get to the point where I have to “push the button” to reset the simulation. Certain characters in the game are telling me not to do it along the way but I push the button…
And it gets very trippy as the simulation shuts down and reboots. It restarts and I’m faced with four new objects that appear to be galaxies and I have to pick one and after looking at all four objects, I pick the very pretty red one and, more trippy, psychedelic cut-screen stuff and I find myself in the Calypso galaxy… and on an extreme hell-planet and my critical exposure time is measured in seconds and not the minutes I’ve experienced on other such planets. Then again, I’d collected stuff that makes it easier to survive on the more extreme planets…
And it’s all broken and damage. My entire Exosuit. All of the modules that makes it run. And my ship is nowhere to be seen. My Multi-tool is just as broken; I can’t scan anything, can’t mine anything and the only thing that saved me was there was a deep cave just off to my right – and I haul ass inside the cave to take stock of my very dire situation. In the real world, I’m panicking a little; I didn’t expect this to happen but after calming down a little, okay – this is like the very beginning of the game… only ten times worse. Now I gotta literally use my hands to collect stuff to start fixing everything that’s busted.
The good thing is I had some of it with me already… just not everything and, yeah: A lot of the stuff I needed a lot of was some of the same stuff I hadn’t been collecting a lot of. Karma, it turns out, is a bitch even in a video game.
Little by little – and being bombarded by major firestorms every few minutes that’s preventing me from going out of the cave for very long – I get my Multi-tool’s visor and scanner working; this not only allows me to identify stuff I need but it tells me where my ship is: It’s 690u (and whatever the fuck the “u” means) away and it’s even more broken. I utter a real-time curse because if I gotta walk to it in these frequent firestorms, I’m going to die and quickly. I work on getting the main components of my Multi-tool working: Both the mining laser and terrain modification laser; I need the first to collect items in the cave – and outside – faster than beating on them with my hand (get your head out of the gutter!) and once I got the second working, well, I’ll get to that in a moment.
I need to establish a base… inside the cave. I put down a base computer so I can build a wooden structure and, specifically, facing the direction of where my ship is. I spent long and dangerous minutes collecting everything I needed to do these two “simple” things and almost died once because I wasn’t paying attention to where I was standing: Too close to the entrance of the cave and exposing myself to the extreme heat. I duck inside my wooden “house” to recover… but I can’t stay here – I need to get to my ship so I can get the fuck off of this planet… but how?
Bring in the terrain modification laser. At the time, I was on a FaceTime call with my son-in-law and telling him everything I was experiencing and, being himself, at first, he was laughing at me… but as I described the conditions, he stopped laughing and said, “You’re screwed…” and I agreed because he was right. But it finally dawns on me that I can use the modification laser to tunnel straight through the rock to get to my ship! That puppy chews up rock and mineral deposits and the good thing is that the rock it destroys gets collected and is used as fuel for the laser. So I get to tunneling, trying to keep on as straight a line as possible – the terrain modification laser isn’t the neatest tool and a couple of times I was glad my jetpack was now working so I could lift myself out of a deep hole the laser cut.
I feel a strong surge of hope and when I broke through the last bit of rock, my ship was directly in front of me! I was elated something fierce! I dash to my ship while taking note of what’s around me because I know I’m gonna need this stuff. First, get the shields up and it took four quick trips to get everything I needed to do this. Now I’m protected from the firestorms which are coming with more frequency now. I have a plan: I need to get the engine components fixed so I can get off of this damned planet and even if it means having to land on a less hostile planet but what I’m hoping for is that there’s a space station out there somewhere.
If there is, I have enough units (and stuff I don’t wanna sell but will have to) to purchase the things I need to fix pretty much all of my gear. I almost die like four times running around in the terrible heat to get my engines fixed and with a shout of triumph – and one that had my son-in-law laughing his ass off – I lifted off the planet and into orbit to look for the space station.
It was only at this point where I remembered that, um, some solar systems don’t have a space station. I know that I don’t have enough of the things I need to build a teleporter – I tried that on the hell planet – and I feel some panic starting to set in because on the ship’s HUD, I can’t find the station icon. While kinda floating in place, I manage to fix the ship’s scanners and scan the other planets in the system… and they’re just as bad as the one I escaped from but with different hazards; one was extreme cold, the other extreme radiation.
And only now do I realize why there were four items to pick from and that the colors of the items precisely matched the conditions of the planet I was gonna land on in this new galaxy. Red, blue, yellow, and green. Heat. Cold. Radiation. Toxicity. Shit. I sigh to realize that no matter which color I had picked, I was fucked right out of the gate. Shit. Okay, where is the damned space station?
I’ll tell you now that I totally forgot something and I forgot it because when you play this game, you really get immersed in it; as I’m fighting to survive and escape the hellish heat of the planet I found myself on, I’m really sweating like a fiend and feeling the “panic” and desperation of my situation and kicking my ass for the decision I made… while knowing that I could have put the controller down and even ended the game.
Did I mention how addictive this game is? What I forgot is that I could call for the Space Anomaly because, during my trips to reset the simulation, I wound up in a few systems without a space station; I summoned the Space Anomaly… because it has an intergalactic teleporter that I used to get back to my home base. And I totally forgot about it but it was moot because I did find the space station – and they all have a teleporter.
When I got there, I had over five million units… and I used all of it except for 240,000 units to fix as much of my gear as I could, kicking myself in the ass because the devices you can buy stuff from doesn’t always have what you might need. Off to my right, I can see the blue glow of the teleporter – and now it dawns on me that I might not be able to connect to my home galaxy and planet; in the forum, a player asked about this and I couldn’t remember how they were answered. But, okay – let’s get shit fixed first then worry about getting home. I don’t have enough stuff to make a lot of warp fuel so I hoped the teleporter worked the way it’s supposed to work.
I approach and activate it… and sigh a great sigh of relief because there’s my home base at the top of the list. My son-in-law is still laughing his ass off and I don’t mind because, now that I’m safe, it’s pretty damned funny… and I know that when he reaches this point in the game, he’s gonna have the same experience – he’s just gonna be better equipped because I told him that when he starts to reset the simulation, stock up his backpack and ship with all the stuff he needs to repair both things.
I select my home base in my home galaxy… and a few seconds later, I’m home. If I could have made my character drop to his knees and kiss the ground, I would have done just that. I’ve played a lot of games that have hairy situations in them… and none of them matched or came close to how being in this situation made me feel in the real world. You’d think that after this ordeal, I’d shut the game down and find something else to do, right?
Nope. Didn’t do that although I did get up and go to the bathroom and walked around for a moment to clear my head and realize that, wow, I was really and seriously into the game and more than I had expected to be. The bad part? At some point – and according to the more experienced players on the forum, this is going to happen again because there are an untold number of galaxies to be found and explored by continuing to reset the simulation.
I can now and better see why so many people are hooked on this game; it only “ends” when you get tired of playing it. I’ve been doing some of the secondary missions; I’ve been running around my home galaxy doing an important main mission task and, even more important, collecting and storing all of the stuff I can and in as much quantity as possible. I’ve used my trips to the many solar systems to visit space stations – when there is one – and add more space to my backpack and at a cost that takes a huge bite out of my units.
The thing about this game – and probably the thing that makes it so addictive – is you don’t know what you need and what you’re gonna have to do before you need it and do it; it makes you very aware of how many times you’ve screwed up – and didn’t know you did – early on in the game. The more experienced players on the forum, who have proven to be very helpful, also laugh at us noobs because they’ve already gone through what we’ve been experiencing and they give us tips and hints on how to play the game better.
As reported before, the game is available for PC, Xbox, and Playstation. On Xbox and via GamePass, the game is still free to play – for now – and if you have an Xbox and you wanna play a game that is going to test your survival skills, forget the zombie-type games. If you play Minecraft, that’s gonna help. Get the game. Play it. Find out for yourself what it’s like to be immersed and, yeah, even addicted to a game that, in a way, doesn’t make a whole lot of sense other than you have a mission to get answers about why things are the way they are… and you’re gonna have to survive in some of the worst conditions I’ve ever seen in a video game.
When I first saw it on GamePass, I said two things. One was, “This looks interesting!” and the other was, “How bad can it be?” Famous last words. Because it can be very bad. Frustrating. Can have you sitting and asking yourself, “What the fuck am I supposed to do now?” Pay attention to how long you’ve been playing the game when you go into it and select your last saved game; I thought this was in minutes when I first saw it but, no – it’s in hours:minutes and this time will pile up and depending on how much time you have to play it.
If you’re still sheltering in place and with nowhere to go, I recommend this game to keep you occupied when you need something to do. So now, if you’ll excuse me, I gotta go play the game. Yesterday was a very productive day playing it – I got a lot of stuff done that I wanted to do which makes me warn future players to have a plan for every time you play the game. Work on main mission stuff one day; work the secondary missions another day; plan to do gathering of stuff and if you think you’re not going to need it – and depending on where you are in the game – collect it and store it anyway. Lots of it.
And have fun… because I’m having a grand time playing No Man’s Sky.