No Man’s Sky has been out for two weeks. In that time, the game has become one of the most divisive releases of all time. One glance at the game’s Metacritic page shows you exactly how polarizing it has become. While critic reviews are mostly mixed to mildly positive, fans seem to fall into either the “love it” or “hate it” camp, with little to no in-between. Yet even the staunchest defenders of No Man’s Sky have to admit that the game isn’t perfect. While it may be unrealistic to expect the game to deliver on the hype it generated before launch, the title definitely has potential. With just a few improvements and tweaks, No Man’s Sky could be so much more.
Since launch, developer Hello Games has been hard at work on bug fixes for critical issues that are preventing people from playing the game. Once they do get these bugs and technical issues under control, here are some improvements and new features for No Man’s Sky they should consider working on next. This list doesn’t include massive features like synchronous multiplayer that fans on places such as Reddit are demanding and arguing were originally promised. Instead, this wish list focuses on several quality-of-life improvements that should (theoretically) be much easier to implement.
Better Inventory Management
When No Man’s Sky was first announced, people were thrilled at the prospect of an open-ended space exploration game that let you go wherever you pleased in a vast universe full of diverse planets and alien lifeforms. One thing nobody was excited about was the inventory management system in the game. And yet, that is what you spend a majority of your time doing in No Man’s Sky. If you aren’t constantly managing your inventory slots, removing unwanted resources and focusing only on what you need for a specific upgrade, you’ll soon find yourself running out of space in both your exosuit and your starship depositories. Most of the time, this just feels tedious and unnecessary. Here are a few different ways the inventory management system in No Man’s Sky could be improved.
There is an option to stack certain resources in your inventory, yet it’s limited to a very select group of item types. Why not expand this ability to include two or more of any item, including Bypass Chips and other crafted components? Every extra inventory slot helps, after all.
Two-Way Ship Transfers
No Man’s Sky lets you transfer items from your exosuit inventory to your ship inventory from pretty much anywhere on a planet. However, in order to transfer from your ship to your exosuit, you have to be close to your ship — at a distance that isn’t clearly defined, I might add. If we are to suspend disbelief and buy into the fact that there is an in-canon technology that allows us to instantly teleport items from one place to another, why would that same system not work both ways equally as well? Opening up two-way ship transfers would save a ton of less-fun time currently spent running back and forth to and from your starship to transfer items.
Add the Ability to Instantly Sell Items
Nothing in No Man’s Sky feels like more of a chore than slogging all the way back to a nearby outpost or space station just to sell off some resources. Games like Torchlight II figured this economic issue out and implemented a system that let you instantly sell off unwanted items from your inventory. If you still want to incentivize players to visit dedicated trade spots, you could reduce the selling price to below market price when done directly from inventory, similar to how traders can currently pay below market price for some resources.
Upgrades Shouldn’t Take Up an Inventory Slot
It’s easy to understand the logic that new weapon types or ship parts should take up an inventory slot. However, there’s little reason the technologies that serve to enhance these items should also use up an inventory slot. The effect should just apply as soon as you craft the technology. Which leads to the next issue…
Make Upgrades Feel Like They’re Actually Doing Something
Some upgrades, such as the Boltcaster Ricochet or Homing Grenades have an immediately recognizable effect. However, a vast majority of the upgrades for your ship, exosuit, and multi-tool don’t really feel like they’re doing anything. Upgrades like the Stamina Enhancement are barely noticeable, and if given the choice between using up an inventory slot for one of these upgrades or freeing it up for valuable resources (such as gold) to sell later, it almost always makes more sense to go with the resources. It doesn’t help that there are Sigma, Tau, and Theta variants of the upgrades, each with negligible differences in power.
Freely Transfer Items Between Ships
One of the most exciting moments in the early game of No Man’s Sky is coming across a starship that’s a major upgrade from your current vessel. As previously mentioned, inventory slots are in short supply, so going from a ship with 16 slots to one with 20 can feel like a huge difference. But your elation from making this new upgrade will soon turn to frustration as you realize that you have to recraft all of the upgrades from your previous ship, including weapon systems and even warp cells to fuel your hyperdrive.
Are we to believe that our character can somehow craft upgrades, engine parts, and weapons from a few bits of ore and space junk, yet somehow can’t figure out how to transfer a part from one ship to another? You can transfer resources, so it seemingly shouldn’t be that difficult to allow the transfer of upgrades as well. The current system just feels like something meant to pad out the play time and keep you busy in a game that really doesn’t offer a ton of different activities to occupy your time.
Add World Maps
How can a game about space exploration not include a world map for each planet you visit? Right now the only thing the game offers is a compass that includes waypoint icons for nearby landmarks. No Man’s Sky could greatly benefit from the addition of a mapping system for planets. While we’re at it, the ability to manually add landmarks and notes on locations for future reference would be extremely useful.
Add More Building Variety
No Man’s Sky has several building types, including shelters, trading posts, manufacturing facilities, and more. Each of these building types usually has one or two activities you can participate in before moving on. But after awhile all of these building start to look the same, and you know exactly what to expect when stumbling across a new outpost or abandoned building. A little variety between building types could go a long way and make discovering these locations more exciting. That drop pod may house an exosuit upgrade, or it could include a puzzle that rewards you with a blueprint, or even directions to a nearby abandoned ship.
Allow Mining From Your Ship Within Atmosphere
One of No Man’s Sky‘s worst uses of video game logic is the fact that you can mine asteroids in space using your starship’s phase beam and photon cannons, but these weapons have no effect on mining deposits within a planet’s atmosphere. Shouldn’t the same weapon that atomized a giant asteroid a few hundred miles up in space do the same thing to that giant hovering chunk of emeril right in front of your ship? This would save a ton of time currently spent mining with your dinky multi-tool laser and schlepping resources back to your starship.
What other quick fixes do you think Hello Games should implement in No Man’s Sky? Let us know on Twitter @getfandom. And be sure to visit the No Man’s Sky wiki for everything there is to know about the game.