No Man’s Sky and me have a bit of a… Complicated relationship to say the least. Then again, isn’t that the case with everyone who owns this odd little title?

Having gone from a barebones release that I tried to get refunded on the basis of false advertisement to an extremley competent (Albeit buggy) multiplayer experience is a story unlike no other… Yet Hello Games have achieved it. They’ve done extremely well in turning this game around.

Yes, we still don’t have the vast sand planets or that one giant snake seen in the initial trailer… But everything else surrounding No Man’s Sky has been slowly building up to this generation’s most poetic redemption story – Is Hello Games totally redeemed? No. Far from it… But they have made a significant amount of progress towards that target. So much so that I would say that, given another year or two, No Man’s Sky could finally match the astronomical expectations set by its initial marketing.

So what’s new in BEYOND? What makes it stand out, and why should you care about it? Well… A lot, really. I think the best place to start would be with the changes made to the Anomaly, which was once a small, singular room with a single purpose – To give you a mission and to serve as a permanent place to find two specific NPC’s… Now, however..?

Well… Take a look for yourself.

Wow. It’s a hell of a difference! Now fitted with cosmetic merchants, blueprint merchants, reward givers, mission givers (Both solo and multiplayer), and a feckin’ alien Gordon Ramsey who judges your cooking skills (Yes, you can now cook), the Anomaly has gone from a single room to a single village, entirely comprised of neon, glows and glass – It’s a sight to behold, and serves a secondary purpose… It’s now your hub for meeting your mates, and other players – People in your galactic cluster will, when transporting to the Anomaly, be grouped into iterations of the Anomaly to meet eachother – If you’re with your mates in a party, you’re garunteed to be with them, and can meet all sorts of characters and see all kinds of new ships!

Combine this with the newest innovation in No Man’s Sky – VR controls – and you’ll soon have people grouping up on the Anomaly for an interdimensional dance party. I had one experience where I had a player wave at me, and begin mimicking emotes that I could do, just in VR; it was surreal, it was odd… But it was so cool.

Another key innovation, however, is with the increase in player count – You can now have 32 players in a single server on PC, meaning that – theoretically – if you were to all group together, you could begin work on a futuristic mega-city, host a day at the races, go dogfighting or play some space-footie. That’s cool as hell.

Not just this, but you also now have a purpose to find all those cool animals you’ve seen on your travels – You can capture, tame and ride certain animals, with some getting stupidly big. Like, trading station-level big. This new focus now means you can search out for your ideal intergalactic pet – Want an eldritch wolf hybrid to pet every now and again? Go for it. Want a baby dragon? Sure, go find one. Want a colossal vampire-looking beast? Uh… Ok… Sure..!

Missions have now also been greatly expanded, with new quest lines, NPC’s, stories and words to learn, with a slew of new materials and items to obtain to make life amongst the stars just that little bit easier… But what about bunkering down? Creating that wonderful home under the asteroid ring? Well… BEYOND has you covered. We now have buttons, electric power cables, motion sensors, batteries, solar panels, new building items and even more decorations than ever before… Given enough time, I’m certain you could recreate the interior of the Enterprise inside of a big enough freighter…

…I guess that’s why you should care about No Man’s Sky: BEYOND. The sense of discovery has been ramped up like mad, and arguably that was the core focal point that many flocked to No Man’s Sky to begin with – Is BEYOND buggy? Yes, beyond belief – I’ve had dozens of crashes in solo and multiplayer sessions, and even had my entire account wiped at one point… But Hello Games have been more than proactive in patching these issues; so much so that there’s nearly a patch a day – Is the game lonely and boring on your own? Probably. Make sure you play with friends – Is the game still a repetitive grind? Well… Yeah. That’s kind of No Man’s Sky’s thing… But it’s not going to change soon. The game will still be a grind a year from now… But it’ll feel less like a grind due to the lowered amount of environmental repetition. One minute you could be farming larval eggs off a moon, the next you could be on a hexagonal hive planet comprised of nothing but golden hexagon plates – Then you could be off to a neon pink vaporwave-like planet, or a scorched, destroyed planet, or an Earth-like planet, or an eternal ocean… That’s what makes BEYOND so spectacular.

That in spite of all it’s flaws, and it’s history of lies, it’s found a truth for itself.

A true identity.

A game that is good on it’s own.

For this reason I give No Man’s Sky: BEYOND a:

8 / 10

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