No Man’s Sky is a massive game. There are an almost infinite number of worlds to explore and harvest for resources, and at the beginning your limited inventory and understanding of the game can make getting started a tall order.
Thankfully we’ve had the chance to try out the first few hours of the game, and we’ve been able to make the mistakes on your behalf, so you don’t have to.
Over the next few pages we’re going to outline the top five things you need to know when starting No Man’s Sky, so that you can throw yourself into its expansive universe as quickly as possible without having to struggle to get your ship off the ground.
There’s a massive day one patch
Much has been made of the day one patch that Hello Games have made available ahead of the game’s official launch.
At a massive 824.2MB the patch is something of a monster, and took around 20 minutes to download on my – admittedly poor – internet connection.
There’s not really much you can do to get around the problem. You definitely shouldn’t try and play the game without the patch installed since it adds some much needed functionality (such as being able to scan for resources from inside your ship) that the game sorely needs.
Don’t assume you can get away with playing the game for a bit before installing the patch either, since Sean Murray himself recommends that players should delete their pre-patch save before starting the game afresh with the updates.
Unfortunately, if you’re buying the physical disc version of the game there’s little you can do to avoid having to wait for the patch to download, but if you’re planning on buying the game as a digital download then you might want to try remotely downloading the game.
This will mean that you can set the game to download during your lunch break and return home when the whole game has been downloaded, along with the patch.
Alternatively, in some regions, you can pre-load the game before it’s officially released and have the entire game (including the patch) sitting on your console’s hard drive ready to be unlocked.
You don’t need a PlayStation Plus subscription
While No Man’s Sky is a very connected game, it’s not an online game in the traditional sense.
Although it’s technically possible for you to come across other players while you’re exploring, the size of the universe makes this very unlikely.
What’s more likely is that you’ll come across the fruits of other player’s labor, such as the planets and creatures that they’ve discovered and named.
This connectivity means that you’ll definitely want to be playing the game with an online connection to get the most out of it, but thankfully none of this online functionality will require a subscription to Sony’s online service.
Fix your scanner first
The early portions of No Man’s Sky revolve around collecting resources, and if you want to get going as quickly as possible you’ll want to get good at quickly locating the resources that you need.
The game’s scanner is your means of doing this. Simply click the left analogue stick (or the ‘L3’ button as it’s sometimes known) and certain resources in your immediate vicinity will be highlighted.
The only problem is that your scanner is broken when you start the game, and you’ll need to gather resources in order to get it working.
Unsurprisingly this creates a bit of a chicken-and-egg problem, but thankfully the game will make sure you’ve got the first resources you need close by so that you can find them by simply walking up to them and identifying them manually.
Once you’ve got your scanner working you can get to work on the game properly.
Then fix your ship
Once your scanner is fixed you can get to work repairing your ship, but in the same way as having a broken scanner makes it hard to find the resources you need, having a broken ship makes it hard to get to them.
So don’t be surprised if you have to spend upwards of five minutes travelling in one direction to find the specific resource you need to get your ship moving again.
Oh and then you’ll have to spend the same amount of time getting back to your ship since at this stage in the game there’s no means of summoning it to your location.
Thankfully the problem gets a lot easier once your ship is fixed. Simply perform a scan to work out which direction you need to head in, and if it’s a substantial distance you can jump in your ship to cover the distance in a fraction of the time.
The only issue you’ll run into with this method is how quickly you’ll run out of ship fuel, which means that you’ll need to…
Gather everything, within reason
You’ll start No Man’s Sky needing to gather materials to get your ship and at first (especially considering your limited inventory space) it might be tempting to only focus on gathering these specific resources.
But if you focus too much on gathering only what you need in the immediate future then you’ll quickly encounter a few problems.
First is the fact that although you might not need certain resources right now, you’ll almost certainly need them later for upcoming ship upgrades like the hyperdrive.
Second is the fact that, pretty early on in the game, you’ll start finding trading outposts. When this happens you have the opportunity to save yourself a bit of resource hunting time by simply buying it. In order to do so however you’ll need to have resources to sell, hence why you need to carry around some surplus items.
Finally, all of your equipment needs constant resources to keep functioning. Your ship’s engines need fuel and your suit’s life support system needs recharging, and if you don’t have a good stock of resources saved up then pretty soon you’re going to find yourself having to frantically search for fuel while avoiding fire from enemies.
So wherever possible it’s better to be safe than sorry when gathering resources. If you find your inventory filling up too quickly, then be sure to send your crafting resources back to your ship (by pressing triangle on them in the inventory menu) and focus on carrying fuel for your various life support systems on your person.
To be continued
We’ve barely scratched the surface of No Man’s Sky. At the end of our initial three hour play session we’d just unlocked the ability to craft our own hyperdrive fuel rather than having to buy it from a trading outpost (although confusingly the crafting process then required us to buy a different item further down the crafting chain).
As we delve deeper into the game we’ll be sure to add any more tips that we discover ahead of the game’s release this wednesday.