When it was first announced, No Man’s Sky promised the gaming world quite a bit with regards to it’s scope and number of activities, and fans that had been waiting for an open-ended Sci-Fi exploration game jumped on board with high expectations. It’s these high expectations that would eventually turn the game on it’s ear, as much of what had been promised simply wasn’t present in the game, either altogether or as advertised. Personally, I’d kept my expectations as low as I could, so I didn’t feel as burned as other players might have.
I was still hyped, but I had a blast playing the game at launch. In answer to the manifold criticisms received post-launch, developer Hello Games released the Foundation Update, which introduced a number of improvements to gameplay and new features. This is also promised to be the first of many free updates; and I feel that mentioning it’s absolutely free is very important here. But what was featured in the update? And did it do much to improve the game?
Home Among the Stars
The first and perhaps most notable improvement offered in Foundation is the ability to build and maintain a base of operations on planets of your choosing. This facility can then be staffed with the alien races you meet at space stations to perform certain tasks; as of this writing there were construction supervisors, gunsmiths, scientists and botanists. Each performs a certain function and will develop technology for you that allows you to build more things and collect more materials.
Once you’ve found a suitable place to call home, you can claim a pre-exisiting building and add onto it from there. What I appreciated most is the ability to add storage facilities so that you can amass building materials and other items. While each vault only has 5 slots, each can stack items up to 1,000 so you can easily stockpile an adventuring inventory. Other conveniences include the ability to build a greenhouse and grow some of the rarer plants in the game, as well as a steady supply of tech upgrades from your scientist and weapon schematics from your gunsmith.
Traveling the cosmos is also made easier by the introduction of a teleportation portal in every space station; no matter how far you travel from home, you can simply zip over to the nearest space station and be back at your base right away. This made me feel more secure in exploring because I always had a way back to something familiar.
Something else introduced in the update are a bevy of rare or exotic materials that you can find throughout the galaxies you’ll visit, and are essentially for developing your base and upgrades. The amount of new elements added is a bit overwhelming at first, and sometimes you need to travel great distances in order to find them, but variety encouraging exploration isn’t a bad thing in my opinion.
The last notable change introduced in this update is the inclusion of Freighters. Prior to the update you could engage enemy pirates in combat that were attacking a fleet of transport ships (or attack the transports yourself for sweet loot), but that was basically it. Now, when you intervene and save a group of ships, you’re given permission to board and peruse their items. If you have enough credits, you can even hire the services of a freighter to further increase your ability to store and transport items that you’ve stockpiled. Freighters can be called to your current location, where you can safely beam-up resources and materials for safekeeping and transit. This is a nice feature and the variety and customization of the freighters is simply icing on the cake.
Hello Games has made a big step in the right direction here, offering players a lot more to do in the vast expanse of the universe they created for us. Time will tell what other features they’ll introduce over time, but this is a great first step.