No Man's Sky for PC came out a few days after it debuted on Sony's PlayStation 4 – and for some who prefer to play on systems they can pick and choose their own components for, Hello Games' sci-fi explore-it-all has been a bit of a mess. The game might be the quickest-selling of any on Steam in 2016, but with those (invisible, digital, don't even try to touch them) units shifted has come a slew of player criticism. Over 36,000 user reviews currently spit out a "mixed" average, with comments concerning frame rate woes and game-crashing glitches.
Luckily, I've had barely any issues with the PC No Man's Sky – a relief after already putting over a dozen bug-free hours into the PS4 version. Despite seeing my share of worlds on console, I was more than happy to start over on PC – because of the way the game is generated, I had no real worries about replaying anything I'd already experienced, beyond the initial ship repair basics. I knew that the first galaxy I explored would be different to the one I saw on PS4 – and as I reached out into it, and went beyond, I grabbed these shots of my progression. Which showcase one advantage of the PC version over the PS4: you can lose the HUD for taking (glorious 4K) screens.
Read more No Man's Sky coverage on VICE, here.
My starter planet – a frozen little place that I called Christmasland.
Ever seen yellow space? No Man's Sky has yellow space.
In No Man's Sky, even dead worlds can be really pretty.
Every now and then a capital ship will warp into view and every time you'll be like, yes.
Planets like this, covered in lush grass, are a genuine treat to discover after so many balls of rock.
Like this one, where I had to wander miles from my ship to find a decent source of plutonium, in order to take off again.
It's always a case of having to decide which world to visit next. They all look beautiful, but some are really misleading from space, with their surfaces varying from what they look like here.
A big, alien mushroom. If No Man's Sky had Smell-O-Vision, this would stink.
That huge floating island is not a glitch, I promise.
I named this planet Jurassic Park in honour of our lord and saviour, Jeff Goldblum.
Sometimes you'll just be minding your own business, and the colours will come together and you'll just be wowed.
Alien monoliths are often bad news in sci-fi, but are they evil in No Man's Sky? So far, I can't tell you, but they're always worth checking out.
This guy, seriously, look how happy he is.
This planet was rocked by a massive storm. It reached a rather toasty 297 degrees centigrade. Needless to say, my life support alarm was making itself known.
A big red pulsing orb. No way that this can go wrong. No way.
Pro tip: don't attack big capital ships when you're in the game's starter craft. (Though if you do, always return to your "grave".)
These aliens have screens for heads. That, to me, is clear Saga inspiration right here.
I took a dip in this red sea, thinking it would protect me from the radiation on the surface. Nope. It was way worse underwater.
I didn't think I'd get attached to the ships in No Man's Sky, given the need to upgrade them as you go, but I actually love this little thing.
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Thought I had accidentally ruined the settings on my TV but nope, this planet is actually this green.
See, not a glitch. Just lovely big rocks, floating in the sky. I ended up stranding myself on a planet by landing on one of these without the fuel to take off again.
Space combat is super simple, but it can lead to some brilliant, dramatic moments in planetary orbit where you're chasing down space pirates.
Red sky at night, no man's delight.
Getting from world to world is super easy. If you want to go somewhere, just point your ship in the right direction, engage the pulse drive and off you go.
The variation in worlds is immense, but you occasionally start to see through the cracks a bit. I've seen this kind of mushroom/plant/thing a lot now, just in different settings.
Choices, choices. Some systems only have one or two planets. Others have loads – I've been in systems with as many as seven, so far.
If there's one significant update I could wish into No Man's Sky, it's the ability to make animals your pets. I wanted this lion lizard creature to be my pal so badly.