Find out why in PlayStation Universe’s No Man’s Sky VR review for PSVR2.
No Man’s Sky Review (PSVR2) – Hello Games Finally Reaches The Stars
A Long Time Coming
While it may not have always been the developer’s fault, No Man’s Sky is a game where I have constantly felt like I’m closing in on a dream experience, but coming up just short.
I still find it to be one of the most captivating and unique survival experiences out there, more so now with years of substantial updates behind it, and I’ve put the hours in to know it has something about it that has continually clicked with me over the past 7 years.
But its search for freedom among the stars has always lacked something I couldn’t quite put my finger on. With the latest update’s overhauled VR mode for PSVR2, I finally think I’ve found what it was missing.
It’s not No Man’s Sky’s first venture into virtual reality, and nor was it surprising it made the leap. Something about the game has always felt right for VR, and with a release on the original PSVR, there was a semblance of that virtual reality dream becoming reality.
It was perhaps the best that could be made of limited hardware, but it was one of the more immersive efforts on that platform for me.
A common thread you may well find with updated versions of PSVR games to PSVR 2 is that it’s like an entirely different, and better, experience.
No Man’s Sky’s jump to Sony’s latest VR tech is one of the finest examples of that because a reasonable, if limited, experience has been massively amplified by the technology and the developer’s own personal tweaks to the game to make it soar to new heights on PSVR2.
An Interstellar Experience
I’ve been dipping into a lot of PSVR2 games this week. Games of all shapes and sizes, but No Man’s Sky is the one that has held my attention the most.
It’s difficult to quantify just how immersive the game feels on PSVR2, and it’s done in such a smart way I can’t help but be impressed with the ingenuity of it even when it does have the very occasional faltering moment.
As before, No Man’s Sky in VR is the whole game, no corners cut, but crucially, the latest overall update for the game called ‘Fractal’ modifies things to be more accessible in both flat screen and VR, with a consistency that stretches between the two.
But we’re here for the VR stuff, so let’s get into that.
The immediately noticeable thing is how tactile everything feels. Hello Games has employed a mixture of button presses and motion control gestures to flesh out the individual aspects of how No Man’s Sky plays.
Moving forward is done via a flexible teleport system that actually makes traversal a bit less of a slog. Just push the left stick until you pick a destination spot and release to teleport. Simple and effective.
To access your mining tool you psychically reach behind your back and pull it out to use. When interacting with item boxes and the like, you hold down the R1 trigger and pull back your upside-down fist to open them.
Hands-On Sci-Fi Fantasy
Accessing menus is cool as you lift your left hand into view and point at it with your right to bring up inventory, and when you want to do a general area scan you put your mining tool in your right hand and point at it with your left to bring up the options for that.
It’s a consistent and pleasing set of context controls that feeds into the classic sci-fi dream that little bit more than before.
The scanning visor is my favorite little touch of all. You raise your left-hand controller up to the side of your head, press the L1 button, and viola, scan mode is activated.
It’s up there as one of the most pleasing VR moments I’ve ever had, and that comes from the basic understanding of how cool and classically sci-fi the movement feels. It certainly adds flavor to scanning the local flora and fauna of planets.
Subtle haptics are also included in these motions to really add an extra pinch of glitter to the stardust.
Of course, the other big part of No Man’s Sky is space travel, and this too has a VR overhaul. Inside the ship you are able to manually grip and interact with the thrusters and navigational joystick, controlling the ship almost exactly how it should be.
It takes some getting used to the sensitivity of the joystick. The power of PSVR2 certainly shone through when doing a sweeping loop in space actually made me feel like my stomach had lifted into my throat.
It can be a tad fiddly in combat, which is a complaint I still have about the flat screen version, but again, VR makes all the difference.
Combat in VR really does bring something extra to the experience when sitting on your couch with an expensive cluster of plastic and electronics strapped to your face and hands can make you feel like you’re piloting your own spacecraft.
From a visual standpoint, No Man’s Sky’s latest VR venture does suffer from some distance blurriness, but when things are up close, the detail is of consistent quality.
The constant stream of updates and upgrades to the game over the years have made it such a different proposition, so even if you aren’t blessed enough to find some of the lusher, more exotic planets out there, No Man’s Sky has plenty of intriguing and visually stimulating sights to show you.
A Galactic Triumph
So this feels like No Man’s Sky reaching its natural conclusion, but somehow I doubt it. The impressive work done by Hello Games over the last 7 years shows no signs of stopping, but this should go down as one of its finest moments.
The developer has long reached for the stars, and now it has them within its grasp.
No Man’s Sky is now available on PS5 and PSVR2.