No Man’s Sky has just been patched with its second major content update and I have to admit it’s actually looks kind of amazing. Not only does the ‘Pathfinder’ update contain a wealth of graphics overhauls, but there’s also a bunch of gameplay tweaks, craftable vehicles to drive on the surfaces of planets, and the ability to store an entire suite of starships in your Freighter.
In truth it’s been a long while since I’ve played any No Man’s Sky. I booted it up today post-patch though and the first planet was more varied and much more interesting than anything I’d ever seen in the 30 hours I’d played prior. There were tiny little goat creatures wandering around that were no more than a few inches high; snow covered trees; and genuinely interesting terrain that I wanted to explore. It felt truly bizarre after my previous trudge through dozens upon dozens of brown, dreary planets. It’s made me actually want to get in there and give No Man’s Sky another shot.
As for the update itself, the change-list is hefty, It introduces planetary vehicles, base sharing with buddies, ship and weapon specialisations, permadeath mode, PS4 Pro support, and visual updates such as high res textures, ambient lighting, HBAO, and improved post-processing effects.
No Man's Sky Pathfinder Update PC Performance
Out of interest I also did some quick benchmarks to see how performance may have been affected by these graphical alterations. On Ultra / 1080p I was pulling in an average of about 52 FPS, whereas I was hitting around 70 FPS after the first performance patch. This is quite a sizable drop but it’s to be expected with the new high resolution textures and horizon based ambient occlusion. The planet I tested it on was also far more lively than any I have experienced before.
A cautionary word on the base sharing however. This doesn’t mean you and a mate can work together to create a gigantic base. Instead you can save your base and upload it to Steam Workshop, letting other users grab it for themselves.
A total of three different vehicles are included, ranging from the large MAKO-style Colossus to the Exocraft and the tiny Nomad hovercraft which can skim over water. You can even drop checkpoints to create racing circuits and share best times, challenging other players to come to your planet and try to beat it.
You can read the full and extensive patch notes over on the official No Man’s Sky site.
With all that in mind I’m enormously tempted to give No Man’s Sky another whirl this weekend, who else is going to give it another chance? Can you see it eventually blossoming into the game Hello Games always promised it would be? Let us know your thoughts!