The reception when No Man's Sky was announced was greatly positive.The chance to explore a seeming infinite amount of planets (18 Quintillion) with randomly generated species populating them is an explorer's dream game. But putting that aside, you've wondered this a couple of times when you see new footage of this game - what is there to do aside from exploring? Well, as we get closer to the game's release, here's a bit of information about that before you delve into the unknown.
Yes, with this much space to explore, you'd think exploring is all there is to it. Nope, the overall goal is simply to reach the galactic core, or rather the center of the game's universe. You are a lonely planetary explorer; equipped with a spacesuit, scanner, and a fight-ready spaceship. Now with the goal in mind, heading straight for the center seems simple enough if you want to see the credits roll, but to get closer (or deeper) to the galactic core, you'll need to upgrade your equipment and ship. So yeah, no rush, go out and explore! Name a few animals along the way.
Now, for the explorer in you, you can help with the collective effort of filling up The Atlas with information about the species and resources you've encountered. Scanning them and uploading your findings feels like a never ending objective, but the feeling of being the first to provide information on that specific planet should give the satisfaction you crave as an explorer. Also, uploading will give you Units, the game's overall currency.
Now, how do you upgrade your equipment? This is where the trading and resource gathering system kicks in. Yes, during your adventures, you can gather resources that you can trade for Units then buy the necessary upgrades for your equipment. You can also buy new ships that fit your fancy. Not all upgrades are found by simply trading - exploring lost technology could give you upgrades that will help you reach the center. So keep an eye out.
As you explore, gather resources, and plot your plan to reach the center, you will encounter hostile animals and factions. This game has combat, and they can range from spaceship battles to a firefight on the ground with the wildlife, peacekeeping Sentinels, or whatever thing wants you dead. There's also some sort of wanted system to worry about if you choose to play the game GTA-style, killing anything in site for no apparent reason. You will trigger nasty Sentinels with that behavior and we hear they will make your life a living hell. Well, so they say.
What else should I know?
If you'll be playing it on the PlayStation 4, PlayStation Plus is not required for No Man's Sky, even internet connection is not required. Yes, this game is apparently playable offline, and the PS4 pretty much does all the work when it comes to generating the planet you'll be exploring. For those hoping to play it on your PC, apparently the PC port was delayed by three days. Disc space won't be a problem to install a game with a seemingly infinite amount of planets to explore. It is reported that No Man's Sky is only 6GB on disc, and a lot of it is just audio? How does that work?
But I think you're good, hopefully you know what you are getting into when No Man's Sky hits shelves on August 9 for the PS4, with the PC version coming on August 12. Need a clear idea of the gameplay? Check out this 21-minute gameplay by IGN below.