Even before No Man’s Sky‘s initial release is 2016, it was pretty clear that VR support would come at some point down the road. With the launch of the game’s newest update, Beyond, it has finally arrived.
Whether you’re continuing after hundreds of hours spent over the last three years, or you’re a new player, it doesn’t matter.
You can start a new VR save or continue right from where you left off, and you should definitely give it a try. It might not be perfect for the mammoth exploration sessions No Man’s Sky often drags you into, but it’s incredibly well implemented.
That’s not to say that playing No Man’s Sky in VR will change your perspective on the game.
This is my third time trying the game, after being both baffled and bored the first two times, and while my option on the moment to moment gameplay hasn’t been changed, I still think No Man’s Sky is a must-play for VR owners.
Everything you’ve either loved or hated is still there, whether it be the inventory management, infinite possibilities for exploration, or often nonsensical mission instructions, but you’ll have your opinion on all that already.
Where No Man’s Sky impresses in VR is in its spectacle and technical implementation. It’s not without its issues, especially on lower fidelity PSVR, but you’ll stumble across moments of wonder more often than in any other VR game.
If you’ve traveled to a particularly beautiful planet, it’ll look a little less beautiful up close. I played on PSVR, and the terrain on the more rocky planets doesn’t look great, and there’s a huge amount of pop in around you as you move forward.
Look a little further ahead, or up into the sky, and you’ll be amazed. The flowing green skies as it gets dark on some planets and bright red in warmer climates are amazing, and there’s no sight quite like reaching the top of a hill on a planet you’ve never explored before and looking out onto the horizon.
Teleporting up a slope to see what’s on the other side is even better than in the base game and it makes the exploration aspect of No Man’s Sky far more appealing to me.
Just the idea of having so much to explore in a virtual reality world, when most games on the platform are pretty restricted, is amazing on its own.
Go beyond a planet’s atmosphere, though, and the wonder of No Man’s Sky in VR really kicks in. Not only does there seem to be more detail in space, but looking out towards unexplored planets is incredible.
Just sitting in your little spaceship, staring off into thousands of stars and asteroids, is something that’s worth showing off VR to newbies. Even No Man’s Sky’s loading screen is cool, but I still haven’t managed to headbutt one of the passing stars, no matter how much I try.
Marvelling at the visuals is improved by how well Hello Games has integrated VR. No Man’s Sky is a complicated game, there’s not really any denying that.
With all the different menus, pop-ups, and multi-tool functions, there’s a lot of inputs to cram into the motion controllers, but it’s all been done very well.
You move your left hand up to your ear to scan your surroundings, you interact with objects by kind of pulling them towards you, and you even reach over your shoulder to grab your multi-tool as if it’s a shotgun in a shooter.
All of the menus have been moved to little lights on your wrists that you point at to interact with, without changing the actual menus themselves, making them easier to navigate.
Then there’s changes that Hello Games has made for VR that make the game more engaging. Flying is now done with a thruster and joystick in your ship’s cockpit, as if you’re in a real flight sim.
You’re still doing the same things out in space, but you feel much more in control now, adding to the overall immersion.
There are some issues that arise with the game’s complexity, though. Text is often difficult to read, especially when it’s white, but that may be more of an issue on PSVR’s poorer quality screen.
You’ll also be nearly blinded by the brightness of some planet’s atmospheres as you approach them. The level of detail in the base game simply can’t carry over into the VR world, so you’re often left with just the basic lighting shade.
All things considered, though, while No Man’s Sky’s Beyond update won’t change your general opinion on the game – my opinion that it’s an overcomplicated busy work game remaining – the VR implementation has been very well thought out and it makes for one of the platforms’ most impressive experiences.