Throughout this tedious multi-hour process, it was the little things that kept me going. The space station stood out, if only because the occupants, an advanced alien species known as the Gek, gurgled and spat incomprehensible strangeness while trying to bridge the gap between my language and their amalgam of vocalized noises and odor emissions. I also took a crack at the whispering egg trick Kotaku’s Gita Jackson and Chris Person wrote and videoed about, respectively, and I got beaten within an inch of my life by biological horrors who decided I was somehow in the wrong for wanting to sell their offspring for quick cash (the nerve!). Those were fun, surprising times.


The rest, though, pretty much amounted to the game telling me way too much and showing me far too little. Now that I’m actually out doing my own thing, pursuing the story at my leisure, and having a pretty fantastic time, it doesn’t even feel like the game really needed to be front-loaded with so much banal tutorializing. Some of this stuff could’ve easily been introduced after I made my warp drive—after I got a couple awe-inspiring discoveries of my own under my belt. No Man’s Sky has a bunch of fiddly crafting systems and base-building options, sure, but those things don’t set it apart. It’s a game about exploration and discovery, about delighting in a constant procession of surprises large and small. You wouldn’t know that from playing the game’s early hours, though. And frankly, I couldn’t blame you.