Like most kids, I dreamed of one day being an astronaut and flying into the unknown of space. The idea of exploring the skies and beyond, reaching the stars and seeing planets below my feet always captured my imagination. That dream was never fully realised until I recently picked up No Man’s Sky again on PlayStation VR2. Like most adults, the reality of never becoming an astronaut dawned on me but trying No Man’s Sky on PS VR2, a new kind of reality was now available at my fingertips.
No Man’s Sky recently receives its Fractal Update which added PS VR2 support to the game. On the surface, the virtual reality updates are quite standard. You can teleport from space to space and freely move your head around to observe your surroundings, collect resources on various planets and just enjoy the wonder of exploring uncharted territory in outer space. Nobody really explains just how breathtaking and immersive the experience really is when you just sit back and soak it all in.
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Upon booting up No Man’s Sky on PS VR2, I found myself on a strange alien planet with nothing other to do than search for resources, build up enough experience and get my ship off the ground. Almost immediately, the true benefits of virtual reality became apparent. I froze in place just looking around, hearing the faint cries of alien lifeforms miles away, staring up at another gargantuan planet above. I really couldn’t believe gaming was at this level right now, capable of creating an interactive experience that honestly felt like I had actually been transported out of my living room and into another universe.
Once I got my ship into space, I gasped at the surrounding stars and planets in the distance just waiting to be explored. Playing No Man’s Sky on a TV really doesn’t do its space adventure any justice after the virtual reality update. I initially wanted to just test out No Man’s Sky for a few minutes and see what all the fuss was about but minutes soon turned to hours. I was so absorbed in this universe, the shock of going back to reality in my living room felt incredibly surreal. I just wanted to dive back in.
The next day I did just that and not for the sake of actually playing the game as it was intended to. Without VR, I was so hyper-focused on understanding the mechanics of No Man’s Sky, getting the best ships available and farming resources. With VR, that all kind of fell away as my attention was now on just being immersed and exploring. I set up a base on a planet that had a lush environment filled with wonderful, dinosaur-like predators that hunted at night (on second thought, I might’ve accidentally turned the game into a survival horror).
In VR, you also really appreciate the scale of space and everything goin on. Planets and ships look so much larger, grand space battles feel intimate and flying has this great sense of motion – all of these you wouldn’t really get to see playing it on a normal TV. Most players have called it overwhelming but not in any negative way. It’s admittedly a lot to take in and get accustomed to before virtual reality really starts to sink its claws into you.
Above all, I just wanted to leap from planet to planet and continue exploring the endless possibilities that VR brought to the game. I applaud developer Hello Games for sticking to No Man’s Sky for so long because it’s honestly one of the best redemption stories in gaming history. This PS VR2 version is simply icing on the cake. I wanted a bit more icing so I booted up the soundtrack to Interstellar too. You haven’t lived until you’ve played No Man’s Sky in VR to the tune of Hans Zimmer’s “S.T.A.Y.” Transcendent is the word I’d use to accurately describe it all.
Before you rush out to buy a PS VR2 headset, No Man’s Sky and the Interstellar soundtrack, it’s worth noting that the game is still not going to click with everybody. After several years of updates, No Man’s Sky has been reshaped, tweaked and moulded countless times to the point where it’s now almost daunting to try and grasp everything it has to offer. I’d say this is a massive positive since it’s going to eat up hours (and possibly years) of your life, if you’re looking for that kind of game. If it wasn’t for my obligations to write about games, I’d probably be spending more time in the game than in real-life.
A couple of minor technical hiccups do hold it back from being a very polished VR journey, though. The visuals seem a bit blurry when you really pay attention to them and leaping from spot to spot doesn’t feel as intuitive as other VR games with similar mechanics. That said, these are issues than can be patched out and hopefully smoothened so they don’t feel as intrusive in the future.
Thanks to PS VR2, it feels like No Man’s Sky has been given a breath of new life quite literally in a different dimension. I was pleasantly surprised at how well the game translates to a virtual reality experience. If you just picked up a PS VR2 and you’re searching for games to play, I highly recommend you try No Man’s Sky. I can safely say it’s my favourite VR game right now and the sky’s the limit for where it could go next.