The Quest Log: August 11, 2017

Another week’s over, which means we’re another week closer to fall. This is my favorite time of the year partially because it signals the start of what’s generally gaming’s best season, but I seem to recall having some different feelings towards it when I was a kid. The big releases are already starting to kick off, too, with Hellblade launching this past Tuesday and Sonic Mania due out this week. What are the rest of you guys going to be playing as summer comes to its end? Oh, and let’s take a look back at the news of the week!

,Sonic Mania delayed on PC

Today during one of their regular livestream events, Sega revealed that the upcoming Steam version of Sonic Mania will be delayed from August 15 to August 29. Citing optimization as the primary reason for the delay, it looks like PC gamers will have to wait two more weeks to play the classic-style Sonic game while console players, including those on Switch, will have access to it when it launches this upcoming Tuesday. In order to soften the disappointing news, Sega is giving away free copies of the original Sonic game to users who pre-ordered Sonic Mania through Steam.

That said, Sonic Mania looks like it’s shaping up to be one of the best releases for the series in recent memory, and Sega released the game’s official introduction cinematic on YouTube last evening. The animation–which was created by Tyson Hesse, one of the game’s contributors whom Sega plucked from the Sonic fan development scene–definitely has a Sonic CD ethos to it, which is more than enough to get me pumped to play the game this week.

Warcraft III PTR released along with an all-new patch

Warcraft III is one of the best RTSes of all time and arguably one of the greatest games of all time, too. It’s also 15 years old, which means that even for a Blizzard title, it seems totally unexpected that we’d see an official update for the RTS-RPG hybrid game that dominated many of my high school years’ afternoons. Yet here we are. For the first time ever, Blizzard has made an official public test realm version of the game available to players, on which they can now test the game’s latest patch. The latest update brings a number of balance changes and other fixes and is available right now for those who download the PTR. You can do that here:

No Man’s Sky’s Atlas Rises Update brings some big changes

No Man’s Sky may go down in the annals of history as one of this generation’s most disappointingly overhyped releases, but that hasn’t stopped Hello Games from releasing a ton of new content for the game since it launched a year ago. Update 1.3, the “Atlas Rises Update” is the latest of those. Marking the one-year anniversary of No Man’s Sky’s original launch, the patch hit this past week and brought with it a veritable (space)shipload of new content including an all-new story (30 hours’ worth, according to the game’s official page), new systems and quality of life changes, ships, worlds, economies, space combat, and more. No Man’s Sky is better than it’s ever been right now, so if you’re one of the many disappointed buyers of the game, maybe it’s time to give it a second look.

First Impressions: No Man’s Sky

 There are very few games that have developed the kind of hype that No Man’s Sky has successfully done in the 3+ years since we first learned about it during the VGX 2013. From game delays to street leaks, there is no denying that the team at Hello Games has had their hands full, and all that time with the whole world watching in anticipation. Now there is no way that we could see every single part of the gigantic universe that is No Man’s Sky. However, with the PC release imminent and the console iteration having been in the wild for a few days, the crew at The Gamer HUD wanted to give you their first impressions of the game to help guide you in your purchasing decision and a final review set to release in the days to come. 

Cole’s Take:

 I have now spent a little over 18 hours playing No Man’s Sky, and one thing has been vastly apparent to me since I pressed “Start.” The individual that beats this game in 30 hours or less has made it their purpose to get to the “Center of the Universe”, with no time to slow down to enjoy the game in between. In my play time, I have learned new languages, discovered hundreds of different species, upgraded ships and weapons, and the list goes on and on. While I know that I am still several hours away from completing any story line, that is not really what No Man’s Sky is. It’s about the journey, not the destination (Very ‘meta’ of me, I know). While I will wait till the final review to go more in depth on mechanics and moment to moment gameplay, I will leave you with the thought that I have not been this engrossed in a video game in a long time- and there are no signs of stopping. This game is not going to be for everyone- and in the end, it will prove to be divisive, however, if you are looking to get lost in a vast universe with countless things to do, you have found your game.

Joe’s Take:

Love it of Hate it, No Man’s Sky is something to be experienced. I didn’t understand the hype of this game. Leading up to its release, the gameplay videos, and E3 reveals didn’t convey what this game is trying to make you experience: the thrill of discovery. 

There are very subtle details and game design choices that force you to venture out and discover. Everything has a cost. Your spacecraft uses fuel to fly. Your exo-suit requires recharging, and the tool you use to acquire these resources needs energy to function. This simple gameplay feature forces you to explore your surroundings and gather essentials to navigate No Man’s Sky’s universe successfully.

While this is just a small aspect of what makes No Man’s Sky special as the thing that truly fascinates me about this game is its vast potential through updates. The game has created a quite literal universe to build upon, and the directions the game can take from here is endless. 

You’ll also encounter creatures that defy logic and haunt your dreams. So there’s that.

Tina’s Take:

     When I first heard about this game, I was definitely not excited for it. I have a hard time playing first person style games, so I typically will stay away from those and stick with the third person styles. This struggle has caused me to have a bitter taste in my mouth when it comes to first person games. It wasn’t until about a month ago that I finally swallowed my opinions and made the choice to purchase this game when it came out. This has since become my new gaming addiction. Despite the fact that it has a first person view angle, I found that the controls and movements came to me very easily. I appreciate this because every time I have tried to play any other sort of first person game, I always end up running around in a corner like a chicken with her head cut off. The controls were very reminiscent of ‘Minecraft’. If you want an idea of what this game is all about, think of it like ‘Minecraft’ met the movie ‘Interstellar’ and the two decided to drop acid while reading 80’s Sci-Fi novels. That’s what No Man’s Sky is like. If that sounds like something you are interested in one thing to keep in mind is if you are going to get this game make sure you keep in mind that this game strongly encourages exploration. In fact, that’s what this game is pretty much all about. There is a slight story involved, but you have to find it. It’s not going to be thrown at you from the very beginning, which I personally enjoyed. It was almost like a reward for discovering something new. I also appreciated this game for the sheer possibility of discovering what’s around the corner. You start on one random planet in the middle of a random solar system. When you finally leave the planet, and you get out into the open space, it really dawns on you how massive this game is. It took me roughly 4-5 hours to finally leave my first planet and when I did, I finally saw that all that time spent exploring what I thought was a large portion of the world I landed on, was in actuality no more than the size of New York City. The developers at Hello Games made each planet truly life-size. When that dawned on me, I cried a single tear of joy knowing I will probably NEVER fully explore this game. Once this stunning realization wore off, I shot off to the next nearest planet to see what it had in store. If you liked ‘Minecraft’, this is a must add to your collection. If you didn’t, I’d recommend you steer clear.

5 Tips for Beginners of No Man’s Sky

     There is no way to over exaggerate just how big No Man’s Sky actually is, when they told us 18 quintillion planets- they weren’t joking and that wasn’t hyperbole. So for the individual that is just picking up their copy, the idea of getting dropped into the middle of all of this can seem incredibly daunting. Lucky for you, the crew here at the HUD wanted to set you up for success with some helpful tips on how to get you off on the right foot. So whether you haven’t started the game and looking to dive in, or someone that’s already begun but wants to get a better grasp of the conventions- here are 5 pro tips to make sure you are master of the universe in no time. 

1.) Learn what Elements are Associated with which Plant/Rock

While inevitable someone is reading this first tip and saying, “You’ve got to be joking me”- no I’m really not, your survival depends on it. Personally, science has never been my strong suit, however after nearly 20 hours of element hunting, I am comfortable to say I know exactly what I am looking for when I touch a worlds surface. Even though every world will look and feel different, for the most part rocks and plants will look similar or often the same that produces a particular type of element. For example, low on Plutonium? Scour the land for the spike red rocks. Seriously, the quicker you learn this, the more time you will save yourself walking up to random stuff seeing what it produces.

2.) Don’t Take Decisions Lightly

There are going to be many moments in the universe of No Man’s Sky that you find yourself faced with options in dialogue, whether it be something pertaining to the story or on a side quest. When asked to make a decision, make sure you weigh all the odds and think about what you know whether it pertains to a race of aliens that you have learned about leading up to it, or what generally what kind of a character you want to represent in the universe. Once you have made that decision- there is no going back, no do overs, nada- you decision is final and you have to live with the consequences. On multiple occasions I have stumbled upon a treasure or terminal that promises secrets, but upon my failure to answer the question correctly, the opportunity closes forever. 

3.) Upgrade Your Inventory Space Often

Nobody likes playing the “every time I pick up an item, I have to delete an item” game, so don’t. One of the main ways that you are going to make money in No Man’s Sky is going to directly tie to the resources you can carry with you, and if you don’t have room to carry a lot, you will eventually find yourself making unnecessary trips across the galaxy to pawn them off. The easiest way to upgrade your inventory slots is by hacking Signal Scanners (objects that shoot a beam of light into the air), and opting to find a Shelter. This normally brings you to a drop pod, in which you will find your upgrade. *Remember, this will cost you a fee that continually gets more expensive with each time you upgrade.

4.) How to Make Money

Although it can be time consuming at times, depending on how upgraded your multi tool is, scoping the planets surface for massive gold looking boulders is going to be you safest bet. I have seen people randomly selling common material trying to make a few thousand on a transaction, instead when you land on a planet and it gives you an overview, look to see if the planet is rich in resources. Now all you have to do is fly around, look for gold boulders, and cash in at your nearest space station. This will allow you to buy upgrades to your inventory, as well as better ships. While this seems like common sense, you’d be surprised at how often I have had people ask how to make more money in this game.

5.) Relax, and Don’t Stress It

No Man’s Sky is a massive game, and in the first moments of the game when you are dropped onto a planet then told to go figure it out- it can be incredibly overwhelming. While there are going to be moments that you may want to walk away, just remember that the game is made of a few simple conventions: Discover, Gather Resources, Sell & Upgrade,  and Combat. The specifics are going to seem alien to you at first (oh yes I did!), but the more time you spend with it, you will find the pattern and learn to explore the galaxy with a smile on your face. This game is meant to be many things, frustrating is not one of them- so don’t let it.

Why the ‘No Man’s Sky’ Delay is a good thing

Hellogames managing director and spokesman, Sean Murray, has revealed that the highly anticipated No Man’s Sky has been delayed. No this will not be news to many of you, being that this was announced a little over a bit ago. What may actually surprise you though, is the barrage of threats and hatred that the studio and Sean Murray has since then received. 

Now don’t get me wrong, I will not act as though the news of this didn’t disappoint me, nor will I act as though I did not express outward frustration at yet another Playstation Exclusive being delayed. This is a much larger issue, that No Man’s Sky has the unfortunate timing of being the game that nearly does it in for me. This topic will be a rant for another day.

No regardless of whether you are on the verge of punching through a wall, or not really partial one way or another, you have to understand that Hellogames is taking on one of the most ambitious projects we have ever seen. This is coming from a studio who’s last game was Joe Danger 2: The Movie, now this is no knock on the studio in anyway. I loved that game. But to go from Joe Danger, to the promise of entire galaxies, space travel, life generation, etc…. I think you are getting my point here. It’s a BIG feat to take on for a team of 15 individuals. Please, let that loft over you for a moment. Just to give you context, the team that gave you The Witcher 3, CD Project, is made up of about 250. 

In Sean’s message on news of the delay he stated, “For all our sakes though, we get one shot to make this game and we can’t mess it up” on the PlayStation Blog. He understands the gravity of this decision, but he also understands what is at stake. If Sean says that they need time to accomplish their vision of the game, then give them time. In the end, you have to wait a few weeks. So what? Because if they succeed in delivering on even half of their promises, this is going to be one of the most memorable games to grace a home console. If it will deliver, we will have to wait till August 9th to find out. Personally, I air on the side of caution; they have a big order to fulfill. But if they need a few weeks more to get it completed, then by all means, take your time. I will be here waiting, downing in a backlog of games I need to play, just to get lost in the universe you have created.