Weirdly enough, for the first time in my life I’ve been spending videogame time with members of the opposite gender; specifically, my wife and daughter. Which is an excuse for reflections on (and groovy pictures from) No Man’s Sky.
Open world, with spouse · I saw a review somewhere and on impulse picked up Horizon Zero Dawn, a pretty and fast-moving open-world bowshooter. I was watching one of the early cinematics when Lauren walked by, got stuck, and sat on the sofa. Surprisingly, she stayed there after the movie while I steered Aloy (the female protagonist) off into the game. Very surprisingly, a bit later she started pointing out opportunities to harvest goodies and dodge monsters. Shockingly, the next evening she wondered if I was going to turn on the PS4.
Now, I’m not in love with HZD. All the shooters I’ve played have been on PC, and I find the PS4 joystick combo hard to aim with, full of overshoot. Also, HZD’s designers love snowy backgrounds, and I just have trouble seeing the targeting glyph in white-on-white mode.
But I’m going to play some more. Sorry, I mean we’re going to play some more. And Lauren has to drive occasionally. It turns out that she sees lots of things on the screen that I don’t; very helpful.
No Man’s Sky, again · I played a while when it came out (see blogs here and here), enjoyed it a lot, but got bored and stopped. I noticed a couple big add-ons had dropped and one evening decided to poke my head in. My 11-year-old daughter walked by just as I went near some animal and the “Feed?” dialogue popped up. “You can feed the animals?!” and she was hooked. So we play for an hour a few evenings a week, and I’ll occasionally do a late run. She still won’t do space battles, but has mastered the trick of gunning down sentinels. (BTW, if you’re playing the game and not murdering a few sentinels, you’re working too hard for your zinc and titanium. Use your grenade launcher.)
So, doing things with your kids is good, but I’ll be honest, I’m enjoying it again. I like trading up ships and building bases and fighting pirates and discovering weird planets and laughing at silly creatures. I think what I really like is that it’s a relaxing dreamy time (with the occasional short space battle), I can do it for a while then knock off and head for bed not feeling too wired at all.
For those who haven’t sampled the game, or who did so briefly then fell away, go pay it a visit. Also, word on the street is more goodies coming.
Anyhow, the other thing I like is taking pictures; the game now includes a “photo mode” to make that easy. No Man’s Sky photography is definitely a thing; one of the subreddits recently ran a photo contest. One reason is that there’s a lot of attention to light in this game; while there are still things to complain about, they completely nailed that bit.
So, here are a few. Let’s start with exotic alien landscapes.
Then there’s our ship. Oddly, we traded down from A-class to a C-class, because it was bigger and well-set-up and cool-looking. But a freighter is in our near future.
The opening mountain-top shot is the only one from my homeworld “Bengal’s Moon”, a nice little moon with lots to harvest and really no irritants.
That last one is actually a space battle; those two trails you see are pirates trying to kill me, but they’re doomed.
Now let’s look at some creatures.
That last is ridiculous, a galumphing beast with aetherial blue wings on its neck that flutter furiously as it drifts about.
I’ll close with a couple of shots of a nice Gek.
No Man’s Sky has been accused of being little more than a generator of synthetic space-opera covers. I’m OK with that.